Oct. 15, 2009 Today is ‘Blog Action Day’ powered by Change.org, when over 12,000+ global writers turn their sites on one topic to reach millions of eyeballs one day to appeal to their own readership.
This year the subject is ‘climate change’ and while I’ve written extensively about eco-kids, green gaming, and grassroots orgs like Cool the Earth tackling the issue, I needed only to look at one of my own personal heroes to get a fresh point of view on our interconnectivity.
Jane Goodall has long been a favorite of this animal loving gal here, not only for her crusades for chimpanzees, the environment, and humanity as a whole, but for taking action steps to pass her legacy to youth themselves. (video after the jump) Her strong belief in kids is reflected in JGI’s Roots & Shoots tagline which says it all, “The power of youth is global.” Dr. Jane, m’dear, you had me at ‘hello Gombe’ years ago…
In this recent video, Jane Goodall readily inspires a shift in thinking away from doomsday mindsets toward actionable thinking, and in 3 minutes gives us a snapshot of why JGI’s Roots & Shoots matters. Bluntly, if kids love animals, we need to complete the circle of one world thinking to convey why they should be stewards of the earth…because advocating for one without the other is senseless.
Frankly, the wisdom of this world-renowned scientist also makes a great marketing case study: Tap into kids’ interests early on, and you create ‘brand loyalty’ to the mothership…in this case, good ol’ planet Earth. It’s akin to ‘selling stewardship’ as a value-added proposition, because when you market hope and promise, the “return on investment” is a huge win for ALL generations.
Never knew Jane Goodall was an economist in global business leadership, eh? Well, surprise! This lady does not monkey around…(sorry, couldn’t resist)
Likewise, other creative grassroots orgs that focus on the youth role in the climate change arena, ‘get it’ too…
…Cool the Earth with their ready-to-run program using theatrical arts and fun polar bear costumes to launch familial competitions ‘sell’ the concept of reducing ones’ own carbon footprint from the kids up. It’s the same ‘upsell’ reverse-marketing strategy we use with our Gross Out Game for Good Nutrition.
It helps bridge the knowledge gap (or I should say, makes kids WANT to learn more to impart) motivates the parents, and empowers the youth to ‘teach their parents well.’ It’s a great way to pay it forward from school to home, or vice-versa…works both ways, and throughout the community as well.
Similarly, new media’s ability to bring alive causes to kids in real time, like Polar Tweets to spread awareness…
Teens can look after a ‘virtual polar bear’ on Facebook and learn about climate change in the process, and ‘tweens’ enjoy the full immersion of virtual worlds like Elf Island’s Polar Bear quest to impart online to offline gaming/knowledge that benefits Polar Bears International in the real world…Yet another scalable, actionable, empowering game plan where kids can make a difference hands-on.
They can SEE the change and BE the change.
Organizations and efforts like these may seem ‘elementary’ in what they’re conveying to diehard greenies in the science/climatology realm…but this kind of K-5 outreach is perhaps the most pragmatic planetary intervention there is for creating sustainable change by far. (Roots & Shoots now even reaches kids in Preschool and extends well beyond collegiate environs to spread lessons of learning to live in peace and harmony and ways to impact climate change)
By ‘seeding’ a 2020 vision (as Earthseeds reminds us) and scattering personal accountability and resp0nsibility as the planting to take root, we’re counting on the lil’ sprouts to be the next generation of environmental stewardship…a necessity for our very survival.
I adopted youth-led practices myself long ago when we learned what ‘works’ with kids to make things stick. Certainly not a bunch of adults using preach-n-teach doomsday tactics and scary scenarios…
Harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of kids helping kids in peer to peer mentoring programs works wonders. Usable examples?
5th graders helping 4th graders learn how to be ‘planet patrol’ as Crewmembers of Spaceship Earth for lunch time recycling teaching ‘what goes where.’ (that’s me in the back row, rt.) 4th graders helping 3rd graders learn about ‘carbon offsets’ and living lighter on the planet in show and tell style (e.g. tasting ‘Climate Change Chocolate’ learning locavore food tracking, and where food comes from like the DOOF site for kids (FOOD spelled backwards)… 3rd graders challenging 2nd graders to ‘walk the walk’ (and use human-powered vehicles, aka FEET in a grade level contest to reduce emissions), 2nd graders planting edible gardens with 1st graders…
…And even the first graders giving pointers to kindergarteners on packing a ‘trashless lunch’ for the first time when they bridge from ‘snack’ to the lunch tables at school!
These are the little ‘trickle down’ messages that have impact alongside the inspiring media and marketing messages from eco-films like Disney Nature’s Earth, Coen Brothers ad spoofs like ‘clean coal air freshener’ and clever cartoon virals from Free Range Studios like The Meatrix or The BioDaversity Code…
It’s also why we all need to ensure kids ‘unplug’ get outdoors and guard against “Nature Deficit Disorder” as Louv says.
We can’t protect what we don’t know. Introduce kids early, and often, to the biggest mother of ‘em all…Mother Earth. Here’s Dr. Jane with more on how it hooks into climate change, global action, youth empowerment, and for today…Blog Action Day.
International Day of Climate Change is coming Oct. 24, 2009 Visit 350.org to mobilize and take a stand on a safe climate future!What does ’350′ mean? See for yourself, below!