Captain Planet

Photo Credit: Digital Art

When I was a kid growing up, I was lucky enough to get Cartoon Network on TV.  One show I remember particularly enjoying at the time was Captain Planet. For those of you that are unfamiliar with the name, it was a cartoon featuring a super hero bearing the title of the show, who led an ethnically diverse group of teenagers – the “Planeteers” – in the fight against environmental destruction. It was one of the few cartoons that, for a kid of 5 years old, was more than just flashing colours and loud sounds.

What I really took away from the show was the message. Captain Planet’s villains were literally pollution and environmental damage personified, such as Dr. Blight, Captain Pollution, and Sly Sludge.  Along with the Planeteers, who used their own unique powers of the elements to fight, the Captain was able to overcome his enemies with the use of teamwork, common sense, and heart.

While the concept of the show may seem preachy to an adult, as a kid it was my first exposure to the importance and urgency of saving our planet. A lot of wasteful behaviour stems from old habits people have learned and are having trouble unlearning.  It’s pretty easy to see, then, why it’s so crucial to teach people at an early age the importance of being environmentally conscious and the habits that go along with that.

Today, a group called the “Planeteer Movement” exists, taking advantage of the many eco-literate viewers Captain Planet created in the 1990’s and uniting them. The group is an online community working towards a sustainable future – check them out at http://captainplanet.me/about .

It’s great to see that a children’s cartoon – over a decade ago – was able to inspire and educate so many children of the time, who are now grown up and putting what they learned to use.  Here’s to the hope that more programming, with similar intents as Captain Planet, can soon reach the eyes and ears of today’s cartoon-watching kids!

-Phil

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