Monday, June 1, 2009

Barbie Thumbelina and Token Enviro-Consciousness

Yesterday DH and I took a little trip into town minus the boys, we stopped in at a toy shop briefly (horrid horrid place full of plasticrap), and I noticed that the Barbie Thumbelina toys were making a token effort at being eco-friendly by having "fully recyclable cardboard packaging". Which got me wondering whether Thumbelina was some kind of eco-story. So I hired it out, and it seems it is. I admit to only having watched half an hour of it so far though.

While so far there are some good messages in the film for kids about the shallowness of consumer culture and the need to preserve nature, I find this to be at extreme odds with the amount of merchandising that is available for the film. I think what we really need to be teaching our kids is that token efforts for the environment are not going to cut it. Aside from slowing population growth, drastically reducing consumption is the single most important thing we can do for the environment. It's by not buying that plastic Thumbelina doll that we are helping the environment, not by recycling her cardboard packaging.

I understand that when kids view those gorgeous Disney images they desire to "possess" them in some way. But maybe by encouraging our kids to draw or create in other ways the objects of their desire, ie. draw Thumbelina or make a Thumbelina doll of their own (with our help even), then they can feel that they have fully "possessed" Thumbelina without the need to buy a plastic doll. Remember, Thumbelina existed long before Disney got hold of her.

Going to one of those big toy shops leaves me feeling very sick inside. All that plastic. We are trading the beauty of our planet for that. That ugliness. And cheapness. And uselessness.

I no longer buy plastic toys for children's birthday presents. If there is nothing I can make them, I will buy them something non-plastic, like a book. No more junky plastic toys destined to end in landfill after only a month.

I realise now I have stepped way outside the margins of mainstream society.
I hate twitter
And the new ipods (it's all those apps, or should that be crApps, it's like it's designed so we never have to spend a single moment actually being present for our lives.)

Ok, end of rant :)

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