Friday, February 23, 2007

Greenpeace's Angry Kid Backfires

We all know that Greenpeace is a natural when it comes to needless fear mongering, but this latest "public service" video on energy and global warming has to take the cake:



If you slide over to YouTube, reading some of the comments there is pretty instructive:

God, this video convinces me, I really do hate GREENPEACE. Even their name is a misnomer!!

I'm definitely voting AGAINST his future.

I'm an enemy, kid. Definitely an enemy. If the world is going to be left in your hands, I say let's destroy it now. This ad makes me want to start my car and let it idle in the driveway all night. Every night.
As I've written before, I'm sympathetic to the aims of many environmentalists. But time and time again, groups like Greenpeace lower the level of public debate, and actually make it harder to implement real solutions.

8 comments:

gunter said...

Don't be ridiculous, Eric.

You think YouTube comments are a fair enough assessment to call this ad a "backfire." It's this kind of spinmeistering that the kid is coming after.

In the lexicon of my g-g-g-generation, "Right on, kid."
Occupy the construction site if need be.

NEI and its monied interest lot plan to sell your future with more and more orphaned nuclear waste for your children's children to deal with... without a single watt of benefit from today's reactors.

gunter, nirs

Anonymous said...

All manner of causes use children to promote their agenda. Even NEI has featured cute kids running through green fields in its various media ads and publications. Why is it considered unfair for Greenpeace to do this, but not for others?

I know this won't make it past the moderator but it's a point worth making.

Brian Mays said...

Oh please.

Of course, using children for advertising is as old as advertising itself. Everybody does it. Some do it better than others, but that's not the point.

If Greenpeace wants to use fearmongering to influence the public (and ... oh yes, they do), then they would do well to take notes on the effective use of children in an ad, such as the "Daisy" ad from the Johnson presidential campaign of 1964 (perhaps people of your g-g-g-generation might remember that one, Mr. Gunter). That was a brilliant ad.

The Greenpeace spot, however, is pathetic. I just can't see how a bratty-looking kid, who sounds like he's pissed off because his parents didn't buy him a new skateboard, is supposed to influence anybody's opinion on anything. It doesn't even do the fearmongering well. What is this kid going to do? Toilet-paper your house? Vandalize your mailbox? Am I missing something here?

Frankly, I'm disappointed. For the amount of money that Greenpeace takes in, you would think that they could do better stuff than this.

Stewart Peterson said...

I don't see what really backfired, although I didn't think there were that many crazed right-wingers total to write that many comments.

Face it. While it might be a bit goofy, that video represents mainstream environmental opinion and probably mainstream American opinion. Whole Ecology--the idea that humans are a part of the environment and not distinct from it--does not in any way imply the opinions expressed in the YouTube comments, but normal people are getting associated with them nonetheless. Unfortunately, scientific thought is a rarity in this debate: We. Are. Going. To. Lose. The only thing we can do is complain as loudly as possible.

One other thing: global warming is caused by the emission of insulating gases into the atmosphere. The greenhouse effect refers to a precise process which does not include nuclear waste (or anything else the mainstream of the environmental movement has decided to dislike) at any point. People who try to associate every single thing they don't like with global warming are doing a massive disservice to public literacy. And there might just be a few people who disagree with this notion who aren't part of a "monied interest lot."

And "gunter," to paraphrase Commissioner McGaffigan, I'm going to go off the topic because you went off the topic. I want a quote on this waste issue: it has been demonstrated fairly well that nuclear waste is actually only about 1% waste (mine to cask), that the resulting unused fuel represents not only 500 years' worth of electricity at today's consumption level but also the bulk of the long-term radiological hazard, and that reactors are capable of using the aforementioned unused fuel safely with a reprocessing process that does not extract plutonium or produce liquid waste (pyroprocessing). Now let's say the federal government caps spent fuel production, kills Yucca Mountain, and orders the industry to either manage the waste themselves in a way that reduces it to the activity of natural uranium or stop making it. What exactly is wrong with closing the cycle in that manner?

KenG said...

It's interesting that the commenters all seem to assume that the "kid" in this ad is actually talking to adults/parents. It seems to me that Greenpeace is actually aiming this at teenagers and young adults as a recruitment campaign. It's probably pretty effective in this way. And there is no reason to be burdened with facts in that kind of campaign. "Us against Them" is all that has ever been needed to mobilize youth.

Anonymous said...

Youtube's right, that kid looks like the emperor from Star Wars. What a lousy video.

No-one outside of youtube is talking about it. That's the real gauge of an ineffective ad.

That kid needs a nap, same as some of the commenters.

Brian Mays said...

"I can feel the hatred flowing in you now, give in to your anger, strike your father down for driving an SUV and take his place at my side, and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!"

I think you guys might be on to something.

Anonymous said...

It is simply part of the childish psyche to be swayed by things that look "cool" or "tough", or to be part of what is considered by one's peers to be a popular or "in" movement. Think back to when you were a child or teenager. Probably the number one thing in your life was to be accepted by a group or clique, to feel like you belonged to something, to feel like you were wanted and held in regard by those you thought were important. This appears to play on those immature emotions.