Every time the Television Set is switched-on a few advertisements catches ones attention :- Bodilicious women hovering all over the Man who uses a Deodorant. A toy that keeps on running, while all other cell batteries fail. Insects drop dead when a cannister sprays the deadly liquid and the home is cockroach free for a fortnight.
The target audience are testosterone active youths; bright and active kids and the smart and aware house-wives. All changers if targeted to understand and support the cause of Climate Change. Yet all the division combine of the UN which are fighting to keep their nose up form sinking under the 3.5°C temperature rise, strangely find it difficult to gather the resources required to create interesting advertisement which can turn the tide towards a cleaner planet. If we count only the TV audience in India, it is a respectable number by any standards to bring in any change they desire.
With all due respect, it seems the various arms of the UN have cocooned themselves with the thought that all teenagers watch TV programs similar to the CNN – Going Green or sit up with popcorn in hand to understand the documentaries beamed by the Discovery Channel or National Geographic Channel and the likes on environment. I am sure they are that not naïve to even think that the children and the house-wives watch NEWS channels. At least 90% of young Indians don’t.
Even if they did, the plethora of Indian News channels are too busy breaking each others TRP’s with silly ‘breaking news’ (most of the time) to bother much about the Earth breaking apart in the meanwhile. There was not even a whisper about the UNFCCC -Durban, in many such ‘News’ channels. I can not speak for any other Nation but in my country, News channel doing a regular feature on Environment ?no chance ! At least 90% won’t. The 10% who do, only a couple are completely home grown and don’t carry a hyphenated India to their logo.
While it is true that various companies in Europe have created laudable advertisement on recycling, you can find the links to them in my blog’s -must watch video; India sadly does not create or beam any, barring the superbly popular Noika’s – Shahrukh Khan Phone Recycle Ad. Which strangely is not shown any-more. Moreover, there is a chance that if left to the product manufacturers to create advertisement on environment awareness, the view might turn out to be myopic.
So how long can the Severn Suzuki‘s of this world grow up from 12 to 32 years and yet not see the changes she asked for at the Rio’92 UNFCCC summit ? Save the standing ovation of World Leaders, long done with leading the world towards the 3.5°C Global Warming ?
So what if, say between the typical “Saas – Bahu” ( Mother-in-law versus Wife ) tele-dramas which are hugely popular in India , advert similar to the Nokia Ad be formulated by the Climate NGOs and supported by the Government of India or better still UNFCCC (so that it can have a world resonance), be telecast ? The advertisement can be very simple, just explaining the what- why-how of every product the people use and how to make them climate responsive. In the process of using and discarding a product.
Let us take an example based on the advertisement I mentioned in my opening note.
Battery: The most commonly know cell is the ‘pencil battery’ or the alkaline/ lithium -ion battery. The variation includes galvanic cells, electrolytic cells, fuel cells, flow cells and voltaic piles. Many battery chemicals are corrosive, poisonous, or both. If leakage occurs, either spontaneously or through accident, the chemicals released may be dangerous. Recycling or proper disposal prevents dangerous elements (such as lead, mercury, and cadmium) found in some types of batteries from entering the environment. In the United States, Americans purchase nearly three billion batteries annually, and about 179,000 tons of those end up in landfills across the country.
In Mumbai, India, however much as I wanted, I could find no one to take the discharged cell batteries for proper recycling. They are usually collected by the poor scrap scavengers you find hovering over all land-fills in India, and selling it to scrap dealers who use the poor people similar to the scavengers to dismantle it. Which is done in an equally dangerous manner. Same is the story for pressurised canisters. Be it medical, deodorant, insect repellent. No buyers for the cans. They end up in land -fills and reach scrap-dealers who are ill-trained and use manual labour without any safety feature for the man or environment. It would be sometime before the NEC and its Organic Radical Battery is capable of super-fast (30-second) charging and can be embedded into smart-cards and intelligent paper. And then there are batteries that can be powered by a breakfast item and are completely eco-friendly. They are not yet available to the common person.
Till such time it must become the solemn duty of the body like the UN and its various arms to create advertisements, which speak about the various hazards of irresponsible discarding as well as show the business opportunities in recycling responsibly.
This is more so because there are no practical implementable laws or actions in place which can make the common person aware of the dangers in most of the Countries. Long drawn conferences, in the hallowed corridors of power, where impassioned speeches are given are neither heard nor understood by the common person. While these meetings must be held in such a fashion is understood and appreciated, but it is difficult to fathom why it can not be made more people friendly.
The result of the UNFCCC CoP-15 meet in Copenhagen is a great example of how the electronic media can create the awareness. Millions, all over the world for the first time ever, heard about Climate change and the acronym – UNFCCC. All that is needed is, that each time the UNFCCC meets, the people World over are aware of it and can participate instantly.
Perhaps it could suggest the ad-makers to make ads which show ‘its cool to be a responsible recycler’ with more bodilicious women hovering over the recycle guy, than the one using the deodorant! For the youth image matters. Its time the once youthful leaders think like them. As they would be inheriting the mess we have created in our care-free years !
- The Green Climate Fund (go-green.ae)
- Six nations volunteer to host Green Climate Fund (mnn.com)
- UNFCCC launches online climate adaptation guide for businesses – Published 2 Feb 2012 (carbonpositive.net)
- Climate Fund Seeks Diplomatic Immunity (myfoxny.com)