In my on-going battle against plastic waste, I have previously written that it was time for brands to be more public about the actions they’re taking to be more sustainable. Consumers aren’t looking for perfection, but they are looking for action.
Action by brands leads to increased trust and loyalty. For younger consumers, the lack of trust and belief in the actions of adults is growing. This is partially a result of living their entire lives surrounded by the effects of global warming and by news of the climate emergency. All the while, watching politicians declare a climate emergency on one hand, and voting for airport expansion on the other.
They are angry. They are frustrated. They are looking for leadership. Most importantly they want action.
By the time we reach the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals’ deadline many of the children currently playing with our products or watching our content will still only just be coming to the end of their teens. The future they face is an uncertain one.
In Greta Thurnberg’s speech to the UN last September she said, “… as young people begin to understand adults’ betrayal of the planet… the eyes of future generations will be watching”.
The lack of action and broken promises by politicians and brands on the climate emergency has led to an increase in anxiety in children about the effects of global warming.
More than 1000 clinical psychologists have signed an open letter highlighting the impact of the climate crisis on people’s mental health, in particular the mental wellbeing of children.
The psychologists have suggested that actions by and with their trusted adults can help to mitigate the potential climate anxiety in younger children.
As a child’s world is small, the actions need to be local, simple and relevant as does the language used when speaking about the climate crisis with children.
Parents and schools can help by doing local litter picks with the children or simple research projects about the environment and how to look after it.
But what of brands and content creators? Brand loyalty starts at a very young age often helped by the brands parents have an affinity with. It is with them that trust in the action of adults and the mitigation of climate anxiety can happen.
The revamping of trusted favourites such as The Wombles will give children and parents relatable local actions to follow in a fun way. Songs such as Nick Cope’s “Plastic Bag” help teach children about plastic pollution in a gentle, informative way.
Content creators can use their platforms to inform and entertain making positive environmental behaviours part of a child’s everyday life.
By starting with the brands children know and love, solutions to the climate crisis can become accessible for the young without scaring them.