It was in the early 1970s when I saw an outdoor campaign which shouted, “Save that drop of oil – or walk to your destination 20 years from now.” It was at the height of the global oil crisis, with the gulf states arm-twisting the rest of the world. It was advertising hyperbole; it’s over 30 years since then and we’re neither saving ‘that drop of oil’ nor are we walking to any destination.
Obviously, the campaign didn’t work too well.
We’re now engulfed in Copenhagen, with news of the catastrophes that will soon confront us coming hard and fast from every possible news source.
We’ve had the unimaginable coming together of 56 newspapers in 45 countries trying to make the world more aware of the dangers of global warming and climate change, trying to instill a sense of urgency into all of us.
Most of the news comes to us shrill and loud.
In the early 1970s, around the same time I saw that ‘save oil’ campaign, I heard Cat Stevens for the first time. The same Cat Stevens, now Yusuf Islam, who performed at a concert for the first time in 33 years at Liverpool last evening, singing songs that he first sang many decades ago.
And he made me more aware of what was happening to the environment than all the newspapers, TV channels and blogs have been able to do, combined, in many decades, through one song, Where do the children play?
And I wonder why the advertising business, so involved in environmental issues in this wonderful month of December can’t find creative ways to make us more aware of the dangers of global warming? Why can’t they do this as they would for a major brand, with a plan?
Why can’t media stop paying lip service and truly, truly, make space/time for issues such as these?
Because there’s no money in altruism.
The problem is, where do the children play?