My first exposure to environmental issues was Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest (1992) which was about the magical inhabitants of FernGully fighting to save their home that is threatened by logging and a polluting force of destruction called Hexxus. Not exactly scientific. When the movie came out I was in elementary school, and “Save the Rainforest” was to environmental education what “Just Say No” was to drug education.
Flash forward 17 years and it’s been recycled as Avatar (2009). Despite it’s unoriginality, the movie still moved me to tears. Maybe because we still haven’t learned from our mistakes.
I was introduced to Idiocracy (2006) on video. I think by my brother, but honestly I can’t recall now. In it Private Joe Bauers, the definition of “average American”, is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes 500 years in the future to discover a society so incredibly dumb that he’s easily the most intelligent person alive. To me, it’s a horror film about a disposable society.
Inspiration now comes to me in movies like Rio (2011) which addresses the illegal pet trade, and Hoot (2006) where the new kid in town takes fighting bullies to the next level to protect a population of endangered owls.
Twenty years after Fern Gully, I am struggling to edit the first draft of my middle grade novel, Trespassers May Be Swallowed, and reconnect with the child within me who collected pennies to “Save the Rainforest” one acre at a time.