The best way to teach our children to be responsible, eco-friendly adults is to begin when they are young. Children do learn lessons by watching movies and can learn even more from watching movies with eco-friendly themes with their parents. Parents who discuss these environmentally themed movies with their children help shape kids who are conscious about the size of their carbon footprint. The following movies have great environmentally conscious themes that are perfect for entertaining kids on rainy days or any other time parents want to spend quality time with their children.
“Wall-E” (2008) is a wonderful movie to teach children about how wasteful the human race can be and what waste can do to our planet. The audience is drawn to the human feel of the main character, a robot named Wall-E, as we see how lonely he is spending his days sorting piles of trash left behind by the humans after they abandon the planet. People have become lethargic and do nothing for themselves as they orbit in space unable to return to Earth because of the damage they inflicted on the planet with their wastefulness. The animators did an excellent job of making Wall-E “human” and kids will immediately be drawn to him while learning valuable green lessons.
“FernGully: The Last Rainforest” (1992) has an eco-friendly message but hides it well within a lovely animated movie for younger children. The fairy world of FernGully is located within a beautiful rainforest but it is in danger of being destroyed by a logging company that is clearing the rainforest for profit. Crysta, one of the fairies of FernGully, shrinks a human who then sees firsthand what the logging company is truly doing to the rainforest and the environment. Made in the early 90s, “FernGully” may seem heavy-handed to adults but young children are probably going to still find it enjoyable. Just make sure they understand that fairies cannot restore the rainforest once it is destroyed – – this part of the movie provides a wonderful opportunity to discuss how hurting the environment is something that cannot be fixed instantaneously.
“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” (1986) is my favorite “Star Trek” movie because I love the eco-friendly message of man destroying his future by destroying his present. The story centers on traveling back in time to find a humpback whale, which is extinct in Captain Kirk’s time, and bring it to the future to save Earth. The crew of the Starship Enterprise is showing their age in this movie; however, they still have plenty of energy. Watching the crew “travel” back to Earth of the 80s is entertaining and young children will enjoy their search for the whales. This film offers parents a great opportunity to discuss extinction and how it affects the planet and all its inhabitants.
“Over the Hedge” (2006) is an extremely entertaining movie with great voice acting (Bruce Willis, Gary Shandling, Thomas Haden Church, Steve Carrell and Wanda Sykes) and fantastic animation. The story is about a raccoon, RJ (voiced by Willis) who made the mistake of stealing a bear’s food and has 2 weeks to replace it or else. RJ dupes a “family” of animals to go over the hedge to the new housing community that has crept further into the forest during their hibernation. The messages of human waste, overeating and encroachment into natural habitats are great eco-friendly topics to discuss after watching this movie with your kids.
“Hoot” (2006) is a wonderful family film about friendship, dedication and saving the natural habitat of some burrow owls from man’s capitalistic greed. The message of protecting the environment is clear; however, it is presented in the form of an entertaining movie that the entire family will enjoy. Jimmy Buffet produced this movie and has a small role in addition to his music appearing in the movie. The kids have to fight crooked politician and greedy businessmen to save the owls and protect the environment. This film offers an opportunity for parents to discuss civil disobedience as a means of protest.
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