March 13, 2007

Welcome to the World of The Greens

Children are sponges, aren't they? Izz and her older cousin, Dez, are no exceptions. A couple of wacky kids with some wacky friends and some wacky family members, Izz and Dez appear in monthly online episodes, their own blog and some interactive learning games aimed at the tween set. Through it all, they discover what it means to be green and how kids can make an impact on the world around them.

The Greens has some great things going for it, not least of which is the braintrust behind it. Created by WGBH (close to my heart, as a Boston girl born and raised), the entire thing started with—not surprisingly—TED. TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is an annual smarty-pants conference in which rich, left-leaning movers and shakers come up with crazy ideas to make the world a better place. Last year, photographer Ed Burtynsky won a wish from the TED community and The Greens were born.

Although the show is quite funny and graphically very engaging, it has some growing and stretching to do. Writing about the environment is tough, even when you're aiming at grown-ups. Making this stuff understandable and attractive to young kids is even tougher. The Greens cleverly rely on plenty of sarcasm and pre-teen angst to earn street cred among their target audience but the incorporation of the actual green stuff can be a little dry. "Ask Hector," a bit in which Izz's buddy advises us on how to save water in just ten words, falls a little flat (it is essentially a list of ten questions with yes or no answers). Contrast that against the engaging interactive quiz game and you can see where the site's strengths and weaknesses lie.

That said, I'm not a kid anymore (I've been told immaturity doesn't count). The little monsters will ultimately be the ones to determine if The Greens are a success or not. And I hope they do; as the group discussed at this year's TED conference, one of the best ways to get mom and dad to change their ways is to convince the kids to do it first (just think about how persistent kids are at getting what they want). If all goes according to plan, each monthly episode of The Greens will continue to make green living fun for kids and their grown-ups.

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1 Comment(s)

Blogger plusultra said...

Happy St. Patrick's day to the Greens!

2:13 PM  

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