The Global Warming Challenge

June 24, 2007 at 2:27 am | Posted in Adults, Advertising, America, Artists, Campaign, Children, Climate change, Designers, Global warming, Kids, Marketing, Media, Posters, PR, Public communication, Students | 1 Comment

The first-ever national campaign challenging kids to curb global warming through the power of the individual

My feelings were torn down the middle when I discovered this campaign. Half of me thinks it is great that children are being encouraged to take action themselves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and design posters to raise awareness for our climate challenge. The other half of me feels sorry and angry on behalf of our younger generation who have been let down by adults too scared, lazy and selfish to change their own ways and now using and laying the burden of action upon children to help solve the problem. I know this will sound oddly cynical coming from me, the eternal optimist, because you cannot hear my tone of voice, but I want to get the message across that Global Warming Challenge campaign is another one of those ideas that ‘tickle the edges’ of a problem. Indeed, what is needed is a redefinition of the entire system that created and encourages our climate damage, with ambitious solutions that overturn business-as-usual norms. Children cannot do that. We do not call upon kids to design nuclear power stations, space programs, foreign policies or defence systems—agendas that concern us at a national level—so why leave global problems to individuals, especially children from 3rd grade onwards? Does anyone else see how ridiculous this is? These kids cannot vote!

Furthermore, ‘climate challenge’ would be more appropriate terminology than ‘global warming challenge’. When will people catch up? Global warming already sounds dated! Kids need to be at the cutting edge on this, not the trailing tail.

The U.S. government has a duty to pay for campaigns to educate the public—that is what they are called upon to do by the Joint Science Academies of Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom AND the United States of America in their:


We call on all countries of the world to cooperate in identifying common strategic objectives for sustainable, efficient and climate friendly energy systems, and in implementing actions toward them.

G8 countries bear a special responsibility for the current high level of energy consumption and the associated climate change. Newly industrialized countries will share this responsibility in the future.

We call on world leaders, especially those meeting at the G8 Summit in June 2007, to:

  • Set standards and promote economic instruments for efficiency, and commit to promoting energy efficiency for buildings, devices, motors, transportation systems and in the energy sector itself.
  • Promote understanding of climate and energy issues and encourage necessary behavioural changes within our societies.
  • Define and implement measures to reduce global deforestation.
  • Strengthen economic and technological exchange with developing countries, in order to leapfrog to cleaner and more efficient modern technologies.
  • Invest strongly in science and technology related to energy efficiency, zero-carbon energy resources and carbon-removing technologies.

Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias, Brazil

Royal Society of Canada, Canada

Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

Académie des Sciences, France

Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Germany

Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy

Science Council of Japan, Japan

Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, Mexico

Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia

Academy of Science of South Africa, South Africa

Royal Society, United Kingdom

National Academy of Sciences, United States of America

Where are non-governmental adult leaders—in PR companies, marketing firms, design teams, individual artists—who should be hiring people to do these ad campaigns in the first place? There should at least be a call for pro bono work by adults if a corporation is not prepared to put its money where its mouth is to finance this stuff.

Wake up, America!

The problem with using children’s art is that people think it is cute. They may not be persuaded to change their ways. Think about that.

This is an American campaign for:

Students in grades 3 – 12 design unique, dynamic, and persuasive ad campaigns for simple solutions each one of us can take to fight global warming. Each featured solution is road-tested in the students’ own homes, schools or communities.

Kid voters and adult judges will choose the most powerful ads for national promotion in print, broadcast and online media categories, with awards given for the most outstanding campaigns.

As these top ads go out across the nation, reaching millions through the Internet, on the airwaves and in the press, the difference that each of us can make to fight global warming will be multiplied.

Here’s the timeline:

Curricula and guides available:
August, 2007

Students register intent to enter: December 1, 2007

Entries due:
March 1, 2008

Voting and judging:
March – April, 2008

Top campaigns announced:
May, 2008

Awards presented:
May, 2008

Ad campaigns launched:
September, 2008


1 Comment »

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  1. Very good points! Just to be uncharacteristically (for me) un-cynical though, what kids can do is exert a lot of pressure on their parents. Think about it – many parents cave in to kids demands for things that cost money all the time – bigger presents, more/sweeter food, and so on. If kids exert the same kind of pressure on parents to do things that save money, like not wasting energy and so on – well, what excuse could a parent use for not doing that?

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