How pollution is presented is just as important as why it is discussed. A weak presentation can wipe out the facts, and a strong one can make us do better. In the videos I’ve seen, the work in showing us the knowledge is can change how we view it. With this in mind, the merit can only be measured by a cleaner tomorrow.
First to be acknowledged: I acknowledge that pollution exists. I know its nearby and far away, and all throughout the world. I know it’s in the air, in my living room, in my water. When I see announcements, I don’t feel empathetic as much as I may feel apathetic. If the message is shouted, I may tune it out; if it’s sensationalized, I understand why. Sometimes, I think the matter is best discussed in an accusatory manner than in a conversation format. If anything, it will always be better that we talk about it as much as possible.
Oprah did her bit on pollution-consciousness by providing a video montage. What I saw what felt like a snippet and it banged out short simple facts and big memorable ideas on what the pollution in our lives looks like. It was a very in-your-face presentation, but it was an advertisement with sentimental music playing as marine animals trudged through trash. It was similar if not exactly kin to a commercial for abused-but-adoptable animals. I wouldn’t categorize the presentation as a turn-off, but I felt it undermined the seriousness of Oprah’s topic. Overall, I hadn’t a reaction when Oprah was punching out the estimations of her research.
For this kind of movement, I feel that aggressiveness is necessary. I mean, when being a spokesperson (even a temporary one), you can do well to make others feel guilty, especially if you have a captive audience as Oprah does. Her show is safe ground. I would use it to pick audience members without prompt and say, “What are you doing about pollution?” “How do show your kids to recycle?” “How often does your trash miss the garbage bin?” Oprah does a quick and easy job of protesting but it’s based on sentimentality. My main response viewing her message was the sight of an overgrown turtle belted in piece of plastic like it was a waist cincher. With bias, I feel Oprah’s view is only great for its weight on the images but flippant with the research.
Watching an anti-pollution with a written draft, thoroughly planned, well-rehearsed, and appealingly simple animation by Story of the Stuff Project is an inevitably better presentation of combining facts and imagery and a host. Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to viewing it despite these things. Given the length of time, the congeniality of the host, and the how I felt in the first two minutes: I understood that I was going to be given gentle eye-openers on how close pollution is and how I as a consumer was buying into it. I enjoyed that aspect of it. I liked being told how I was wrong, and how I can do wiser. This didn’t so much as guilt me to doing better as much as it provided the choices in concept versus reality.
The host does her part as the everyman’s friend. Her provides reminders, by keeping the viewer in the equation of pollution. When she states her estimates, immediately there is animation to draw out what she’s saying so I can see (and not imagine) the problem in action—and how it happened. I find it very fortunate that the process is explained instead of just being a sudden alert. I like that tactics, suggestions, and business proposals are presented. I like that different perspectives are evaluated and viewed. Though the production is possibly longer than a non-interested viewer will want to spare time for, I think it is worth every minute. Though the voice of the project is passive enough to get its views across without dramatizing, I found it pleasant for weighing out the issues in format with a beginning, middle, and end. It gave me a story; I gave me something to believe.
What I took from the videos I saw was their direction. Though both advertisements had the same goal, they were shown differently. Oprah was designed to scare the viewer; the animation was crafted to inform. I appreciate both methods but I come away with what both parties were lacking: aggression. Lecturing about pollution merely allows us to turn away or nod our heads in agreement. More importantly, lecturing does not immediately involve us in the pain we have yet to feel. With that specific touch of activism I think it can perk us up. I know it will separate those who are just defending the self from those who are defending the planet.