Thursday, 11 March 2010

Can youth really save the planet?

We're always being told how the hope of the planet is our young people. The media bangs on to us aged folk that young people are much more aware of green issues, and won't make the same mistakes we did.

The most delicate term I can think of to describe this hypothesis is bullshit. (Good, organic stuff, bullshit.)

Have the people who spread this message ever seen a teenager? Amount of brain dedicated to self 100%. Amount of brain dedicated to the planet 0%. Just as one tiny example, every morning after my children go to school I have to go around the house turning off lights and electrical devices they've left on. Given the choice of walking, talking the bus or demanding a lift in a car they will go for the car every time. Time after time I have to retrieve recyclable materials they've just dumped in the bin. Of course it could be that my children are atypical teenagers - but I don't think so.

The reality is that we have been brainwashed by the media into thinking children are green. This is partly because we are always seeing a few token kids doing green things on the likes of Newsround and Blue Peter, and because schools (primary schools in particular) make a big thing of the green message, so the children will have done a project on recycling, and can spout the right message when interviewed for the TV news. 'Ah, they're the hope for the future,' simpers the newsreader.

No, they're not. Not without help. It's those of us with a good dose of middle age guilt who are most persuaded by the green message. If we really want youth to save the planet, we can't sit back and think 'They've got it, we're in safe hands.' We need to give them a loving shove in the right direction.

So Mr/Ms TV producer - next time you feel the urge to produce a piece showing how green the kids are, get real. For the planet's sake.
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