Monday, July 14, 2008

The Power Is Yours!

He's blue, wears red spandex, has dyed seaweed green hair, and has the cheesiest one-liners in all of environmental history.
Who is it?
It's Captain Planet!
The man with the plan to save the Earth from all those evil polluters, who are ironically generally portrayed as pigs or rats in most of the episodes. But of course! There is the evil Captain Pollution too.
Captain Planet was created by Ted Turner in 1990, with the intent on creating environmental awareness to the public, mainly of course, the younger generation. It was a successful show, running for 6 years, until it's cancellation in 1996. It seems people lost interest in the issue.
In the show, Captain Planet was created by Gaia, the Mother Earth portrayed in the show as a woman in purple, with jet black hair and possibly of South American descent. She had slept for a few centuries and awakens to find that her beloved humans have polluted the Earth so much that it's on the brink of destruction! Civilisation at an end!
She realises that "it is time" and distributes five rings containing the elements of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, Heart - to five young people, who later on are titled the 'Planeteers', all from different continents of the Earth.
An African named Kwame embodies Earth. A Brooklyn born and bred American named Wheeler embodies Fire. A Russian named Linka embodies Wind. An Asian named Gi embodies Water. And finally, arguably the most important of them all, A South American named Ma-Ti embodies Heart.
With their powers combined they are able to summon the ever so acclaimed-Captain Planet!

Now you're probably wondering by now, why am I talking about this cartoon show. Well, it's another one of those hasty flashbacks I came across today. When I was younger, I watched Captain Planet religiously, he was the ultimate guy, thought up by Ted Turner, a man who was caught between capitalism and environmentalism, so decided to accept both and create a cartoon on a mainstream scale. Now I've stopped watching cartoons, or actually television in general for many years now, mainly due to the upmost mediocrity you can get from it. But Captain Planet was an exception.
Captain Planet was a simple hero that brought about a huge message to kids. At the end of every Captain Planet episode there was always a sort of public service announcement, showing the Planeteers educating you on what 'you can do to help our environment.' I learned my 3 R's from those PCA's. I even demanded a compost heap at the back of my garden, but my mother looked at me like I was crazy saying that if I wanted to stink up the whole neighbourhood then go ahead.
Now besides the point of compost rejection, if I was influenced to do those things at the age of 6, then a lot of kids must have been at the same position. And that was a good thing.
Sadly Captain Planet is hardly known anymore. Sure you can watch replays on youtube, but the point of Captain Planet was to be shown every day, 6pm, after school on Cartoon Network, so it would be shown publicly to get its messages across.
It would be great, if Captain Planet was ever revived or another sort of superhero was created to have a similar message. The environment is becoming more and more of a desperate issue that people need to be aware of the damages that humans are causing for our planet. Look at the recent oil prices sky-rocketing faster than you can tie your shoe laces and the current issue of global warming. It's a sign that shows we need more sustainable solutions, we need more environmental awareness, we need more Captain Planet.
Of course it's already ironic that a cartoon, created by the huge entertainment industry, would want people to care about the environment. I mean come on, you need to turn your television sets off to save electricity so there's a tiny bit of hypocrisy in that.
But maybe that's why there are no more iconic superheroes that will take on the role of saving Planet Earth from the thoughtless mankind. People don't want you to save the Earth, they want you to make lots of money! They want you to buy fancy cars and fancy houses, not recycle your plastics!
It's scary to think how close we can be to the end of this civilisation. If things don't change then maybe we will be. I have hope in mankind, but everyday I need to reassure myself that people do care, they just don't know what to do.
For the way countries are run nowadays, I wouldn't be surprised if I turned the television on and stumbled across a Captain Capitalism.
But of course, Captain Planet would have owned his *** any day.

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