The kids are alright, but adults need more attention…
My eldest son, Harry, has been asked to design a carbon footprint awareness poster at school this week. As I dropped him off this morning, I took a moment to admire their drafts. One said “Save the Universe!!!” – I don’t think climate change is quite that bad, but I admire the sentiment. All of them focussed on telling us what we shouldn’t do – leave lights on, drive too much, fail to recycle.
As I’ve said before, kids naturally get sustainability and can respond to such simple slogans. Unfortunately much of our green comms messages for adults aren’t any more sophisticated than the kids’ efforts – Switch it off! Save the whale! Don’t fly! – yet they need to cut through the clutter of our everyday lives, our deeply ingrained habits and our carefully cultivated cynicism. If you want to get that message through, it needs to be relevant to our everyday lives.
One interesting approach used by the Eco-schools project is to get kids to interest their parents in sustainability, for example by getting the kids to do projects about the environmental impact of their domestic lives. Companies such as Nestlé do similar, having used family activities such as building a butterfly garden as part of their sustainability engagement. I see this as a form of Green Jujitsu – if people listen to their kids, and kids get it, then let the kids do the talking.