BLOG / 001: The Green Eyed Lens

Can kids become a calvary to save planet earth?

As a producer of the New Directors' Showcase, I have had a unique insight into what Cannes Lions can really offer. My access all areas pass has led to some memorable backstage meetings. A shirtless Iggy Pop, a belligerent Harvey Weinstein. In 2016, I accidentally happened across the keynote speaker UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.  He had just flown in on the red eye from Cuba having sealed a deal with the FARC rebels. Here was a man whose own life story was a beacon of hope for humanity. From child refugee in Korea to the most powerful position in the UN. He had made up his mind that speaking at Cannes Lions was that day’s mission. Why? Because he had an audience with the world's best communicators and marketeers in the Palais. He needed them to fast track the message of the UN’ Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Getting the message out there was key to it's success. He was joined on stage by the CEO’s of the Big 6 of the communications industry. . Dentsu, Publicis, IPG, et al. who all committed to share some ‘COMMON GROUND’ and tackle one of the 17 Goals as a priority. More on that later. Before he left to a standing ovation, he threw down a gauntlet and challenged everyone in the room to get involved and become agents of change, and use creativity to fast track the message to the masses.

His ‘tagline’ as he called it left an indelible mark on my slightly hungover brain. He said – ‘We are the first generation that can end global poverty. We are the last generation that can address climate change before it is too late,’

That reads like a tagline to a hollywood blockbuster, but this was reality. An urgent reality. A very real reality.

I couldn’t shake it from my head. I’m no eco-warrior, vegan, or campaigner. But I could not shake that indelible thought from my head. And the more I thought about it, I realised the more fucked the human race was. Humanity got us into this mess. There was no way humanity could get us out, not by 2030. Tropes of filmic jeopardy flooded the recesses of my brain.  What planet earth needed was a calvary. Some army to arrive at the last minute and help humanity save itself from itself. So how do you invent or mobilise an army??

Today's 5 year old will be 18 in 2030.

What if you entertained and educated every 5 year old on the planet every year up until 2030.  Entertained them with anarchic fart jokes and educated them about toxic waste. What if each and everyone one of these 5 years had, as an innate why of thinking, that this planet was worth saving and saving for future generations too.

What if you taught kids the development goals through a medium they instinctively understood, a cartoon with multi-cross platform interactive stuff that kids love. And what if they got rewarded by the Big 6 multiple brands, through their SDG activities in the real world. Clean that beach, re-purpose that school waste ground into a garden! What if the website grew with the kids, so much more complicated and tailored messaging was targeted at this growing movement. That’s quite an army. A calvary to save the planet by 2030.

So we named our cartoon THE ALPHABRAVOS after the call sign language that is recognised in every single country. There are of course 26 ALPHABRAVOS but we focus on 5 main characters who traverse the world via emoji texts and transmogrify back to super ALPHABRAVOS at emergency ground zero. There with the help of local ALPHABRAVOS they foil their nemesis  MDUDU’s attempts to pollute and destroy the planet. They return to ALPHABRAVO HQ before reminding kids of  the fundamental lessons learned and where to find out more on the interweb.

The development of that show led me to question that habits and profligate nature of the film and commercials world I lived in day to day.  It's one thing to try teach the next generation, but what are we as adults doing? Waiting for some scientist or policy maker to wave a magic wand. 'This Changes Everything' is what Naomi Klein aptly calls her book and her personal realisation that it's up to the individual. Until each individual realises they, as global citizens, have to act before real change can be effective. Once that penny drops, it changes everything. And it starts with whatever you do, in whatever walk of life.

There are alternative methods and once established, they easily become the norm. So I set up GreenEyedMonsterFilms. A loose collective of talented creatives who agreed with my proposition that we could all make our stories with less waste and be kinder to the environment and work for people who were making the planet a better place to live and have fun on. That’s it really. It’s pretty simple. We don’t have loads of work to show for it yet. But we all had a little bit of work on our reels to populate the site and get started. The plan now is to populate the site with more and more stories that inspire, or even make people pause and think that they too could make small changes to make a greater difference. Because if everyone does a little, it’s a lighter load for all. Grá Mór. x

               "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together "