The Jonas Bros and Demi Lovato stand up for "Project Green." Photo by Jaimie Trueblood
Since Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers hold such sway with the under-14 crowd, Disney got its stars to send on-air messages to gather fans and their friends for the Mouse's latest eco-adventure. A new "multiplatform environmental initiative" asks kids to pledge to preserve the planet. If tweens' disgust over their parents smoking cigarettes effectively helped them kick the habit, imagine what their whining can do to stop the mini-van's gas guzzling. Jump on your bike, take your skateboard, and get Mom and Dad to carpool, are a few of the suggestions, and there's more — like the chance to tell Disney where to donate its money.
Image from Disney Channel
"Friends for Change: Project Green" focuses on four areas over the coming year—climate, water, waste, and habitats with a bunch of easy action steps, like taking a reusable lunchbag to school. Kids register online, track their impact, and vote on how Disney should divvy up its $1 million donations to environmental causes, like the 2.7 million trees planted with the Earth movie initiative. Talk about empowerment. Hmm, what will it be: preserve the rainforest, help endangered animals, support alternative energy, or d) all of the above?
In an effort to make complex issues understandable and let kids know the collective impact their part plays, Disney will post results, i.e.: if 500,000 kids participate in Project Green, and do as they're told (like unplugging cell phone chargers), they can:
• Prevent approximately 100,000 tons of CO2 per year from polluting the air by adjusting their home thermostats
• Save 5 million gallons of water in a single day by reducing shower times
• Prevent 1 million pounds of waste from entering landfills by bringing trash-free lunches for a week
• Create new habitats for local animals by planting 500,000 trees
Friends for Changing light bulbs initiative.
Sounds like homework, but Disney says the early response is enthusiastic. Perhaps it's a form of green-brainwashing, but starting at entry level make sense. Of course, the environmental impact on parental units is the wild card. If Miley convinces kids to turn out the lights in their room, will all those young picky eaters start demanding organic and free-range food next? That could make a difference.