Saturday, October 9, 2010

Eco-Shock; Blowing Children Up for the Planet

We interrupt my next two 'fire-water' element posts for this little bit of environmental and yogic frustration. 

Have you heard of 10:10? It's a now international movement to decrease your carbon emissions by 10% over the entire year of 2010. I love the idea- it's fabulous to have a goal with a nice support structure to decrease our carbon emissions as a movement. I also think it's fantastic to start considering about carbon emissions in it's entirety instead of changing a light bulb here and there.

However. I have to say that I'm quite disappointed with their advertising tactic. 10:10 aired internet ads (not television I have to point out) a few weeks ago and there was such an outcry that they quickly pulled it. I'll give you the premise in case you don't really want to watch it, but in case....

The first one is the most shocking. A school teacher asks her students, in a very 'Monty Python' type attempt at humour, if they'd like to decrease carbon emissions... 'No pressure'. When two children don't volunteer, the teacher again claims 'no pressure!!' and before they leave the classroom she pulls out a box, pushes a button and the two children actually explode- blood and guts everywhere.


I find this type of advertising frustrating on a few levels. At the moment, the environmental movement isn't really 'cool' anymore... a rising level of backlash has been mounting, with the recession taking priority of 'doom and gloom' environmentalists. Also, there is an entire stigma attached to environmentalists, where quietly we're being portrayed as an 'us vs them' group. This ad, exploding children, one isn't funny, it's just gross, and two simply enforces the already growing backlash that environmentalists are 'us vs them'. Follow us or we'll just blow you up.

I also am just not a fan of gratuitous violence and gore. Never was. I happen to agree with the rising number of studies showing that becoming immune to violence on television (and the internet) can be damaging for our youth and social functioning. 

Finally, a very interesting discussion around this video occurred on the French radio-cbc podcast- Christiane Charette recently. The commenter, an author of a book proclaiming the value of encouraging children to experience nature, indicated that more than any other movement, the 'green' movement is placing responsibility on our children to change the world. We're teaching our children how to recycle, how to turn off the taps, how to drive less and walk more. Our children are hearing about how our world can end from pollution, environmental leaders are shouting from the rooftops that we're ruining the world for our children. They grow up with this apocalyptic future of a pollution doomed planet hanging over their head.

At the same time 80% of our population lives in cities... away from nature and trees. An important theory postulates that children cannot wrap their heads around an amorphous thing called 'Earth' when they're never exposed to nature. Instead of encouraging our children to play outside, learn and explore in trees, dirt and bugs, we're telling them a completely alien world (to them) is ending. And expect them to care.

This advertising, if geared towards children or teens, totally misses the 'why' they should care and skips straight to catastrophic persuasion. With violence. 

I'm sorry, but blowing up children just isn't cool.

10:10 has released a statement apologizing for the ad and indicating that they would be investigating as to what went wrong with the ad creation. 

What do you think about the ad? 


  1. Eww. I can't watch the commercial. Sounds too gross for me. I agree with what you said, though - that's the last thing we need to put out in the world!

  2. I agree that sounds totally crazy that the kids are blownup buuut the more our populationgrows the more important it is for us to live densely in cities to preserve land for wildlife rather than sprawling out and continuing to take away natural habitats and destroy ecosystems and biodiversity... Even if that means we lose a personal connection with nature in the process. I mean tons of people live "in nature" but they have to drive allthe time and justify it by saying they have no choice and what good does that do?

  3. The ad sounds off putting to me. How do blood and guts inspire?

    I would like to put an end to new development and see developers start to rehabilitate inner cities and crumbling buildings. Stop the sprawl and renew what we have.

  4. Okay, I'm sorry, but HOW did that advertisement get approved? Seriously, no one thought that perhaps it might be offensive to some people? Or maybe that it was just too disgusting to help prove a point? I can't imagine a bunch of people sitting around in a conference room and saying "Oh yeah...that sounds like a GREAT idea!"

    Also, why do we have to see people blowing up over and over? YUCK, and I think we got the point the first time through.

  5. It is mind-boggling to me that anyone would think that an ad like this would HELP, rather than harm the cause. Environmentalists as callous terrorists who blithely blow people up (even children) who don't immediately agree with them? WTF??!!! Horrifying and also confusing - what could they have been thinking? It would be funny if it weren't so profoundly messed up.

  6. Wow! That is an intense message!! (With people getting blown up for having a different opinion.) I am definitely all for cutting carbon emissions... but this ad is horrible. Violence is not the answer to anything!

  7. well, i have a strange Monty Python humour, but i don't want to see children blown up for any campaign.

    sheesh, they just try so hard to get our attention. but it's indicative of what young people are watching already, that they feel they need to compete with efforts like this.

    love your blog.

  8. I saw the ad a week or two ago. I was not impressed! You want people to be serious about reducing emissions by 10%, that ad has nothing to do with environmentalism or reducing emissions, it's just graphic and gory. Way to go 10:10! Some people choose vegetarianism or veganism to help the environment and protect animals. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't approve of an ad that blows up people, for goodness sakes!


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