Thursday, October 15, 2009

Real Dad, Fake Dad ... Real Change, Mistake

There was a certain lush beauty (perhaps "lusher" is the more correct word) to the Congo that many see as lost to a changed environment. "Those are memories my children won't have," announced René Ngongo, a 48-year-old father, citing his four children as an inspiration for his attempts along with Greenpeace to reforest and improve social justice in his native land. For his work. Ngongo was awarded this year's Right Livelihood Award and among the reasons he should be admired is for serving as a real symbol of a father doing something for climate change.

Unfortunately, there's another father also currently serving the interest of those combating climate change who is doing damage ... and will likely be getting more press than this year's winner of "the alternate Nobel." (The unalternate Nobel, it should be noted, was awarded to a father humbled by how his two took the news). Members of the British government have chosen to hold a father up to ridicule by having him read a children's book on climate change to his daughter.

The fake dad with a confusing message — all will dry up and die and probably tomorrow ... if nothing is done — will invite ridicule to the goal of encouraging people to conserve and care for the resources of this planet. The ridiculousness of the messenger will be used by many as an excuse to pay even less attention to the message the advert's sponsors wanted to convey. It is a shame the presumably good-hearted advertisers couldn't simply have put their resources to promoting Ngongo. The same 1:01 of YouTube simplicity featuring his work, children and the planet would have had much more resonance for their cause ... and wouldn't have done the damage to the image of fathers as people unable to convey a sophisticated situation to their children.

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