Since we’re on an Earth Day kick (and lacking the opportunity to write a longer post on something else), I was thinking about those environmentally-correct cartoons they used to make in the late ’80s and early ’90s. For a while it seemed like everybody had to have an environmental message: Captain Planet, of course, but The Smurfs added an environment-friendly character called “Natural Smurf” and other shows did individual episodes about Saving The Environment. Which would be fine, except that the message of all these shows was as follows: polluters all want to pollute for no reason at all, just to be mean. There is no good reason for polluting. Therefore, all you have to do to save the environment is be nice and kind. I don’t recall any of them acknowledging that some level of pollution is required to produce all the cool stuff that’s advertised during the commercial breaks. So they told kids that there is never any trade-off or sacrifice for doing good, which, frankly, is a terrible message and one that probably turned a lot of kids very angry when they found out the truth.
The ultimate in cheerful brainwashing was, of course, “The Smoggies,” an international co-production with a theme song by the late Joe Raposo. Here we learn that a) All pollution is caused by ugly, joyless people who just want to make a mess for its own sake; b) Solar and wind power totally work for everything; c) If you respect the environment, you will be young forever and never have to grow up or die.