Worldwatch Institute Launches "From Consumer Kids to Sustainable Childhood"

Event Date: 
November 15, 2012 - 12:30pm
Location: 
Berlin, Germany

Event celebrates launch of report on visions for sustainable childhood, featuring prominent speakers Robert Engelman, R. Andreas Kraemer, and Trine S. Jensen.

Who:              Robert Engelman, President, Worldwatch Institute

                        R. Andreas Kraemer, Director, Ecologic Institute

                        Felix Finkbeiner, Plant-for-the-Planet Children’s Initiative
                        Rixa Schwarz, Policy Officer, Germanwatch

                        Sara Trier, Head of Communication, Worldwatch Institute Europe

                        Trine S. Jensen, Senior Researcher, Worldwatch Institute Europe

                        Bo Normander, Director, Worldwatch Institute Europe                    

Where:          The New Malthouse (Neue Mälzerei)

                        Friedenstrasse 91, Berlin

Register:       RSVP by 14 November to:

                        Alejandra Bize, at +45 50 82 06 99, or abize@worldwatch-europe.org

Copenhagen/ Berlin / Washington D.C. --- Worldwatch Institute, an independent environmental research organisation with offices in Washington, D.C. and Copenhagen, will present its latest research on childhood and sustainability at a symposium in Berlin. The event is co-hosted by Ecologic Institute and Germanwatch.

Worldwatch President Robert Engelman from Washington D.C. will join European experts in Berlin to discuss sustainable futures for Europe’s children. The debate will highlight speakers including R. Andreas Kraemer, Director of Ecologic Institute; Felix Finkbeiner, the now 15 years-old founder of Plant-for-the-Planet Children’s Initiative; Rixa Schwarz, Policy Officer at Germanwatch; and Sara Trier, Marketing Director at RHG.  

Senior Researcher Trine S. Jensen will also participate in the event. She will present key findings from the report, indentifying key areas in European society that influence the life of children at one of their most vulnerable stages in their development.

Modern-day children are constantly exposed to stories not coming from parents, teachers, peers, or books but from marketing and advertising. The acquisitive lifestyles that prevail throughout Europe encourage the formation of ‘consumer kids’.

To create sustainable cultures for our children we need to transform the way we see childhood. Firstly, we need to address education. Sustainability needs to be implemented in all formal education, as for example is the case for the ‘Green Flag’ schools.

We will also need to address children’s access to the media and what children are exposed to through the media. Children are generally naïve about advertising and can easily be manipulated and exploited by marketing to want and demand products. Therefore, Sweden has banned all advertising to children under 12 years of age. The rest of Europe may take similar measures.

Finally, leisure time activities will need to be designed to reinforce principles of sustainability. How do we inspire our children to take up healthy living with respect for nature and the environment? In Todmoren, U.K., the “Incredible Edible” project has taken a lead. They gather families and individuals in planting orchards, herb gardens and vegetable patches in the city as well as promoting food-based learning for communities and schools.

The report is being released at a time when many question the benefits as well as detriments of living in a consumer society. European families know and wish for a more sustainable lifestyle but are hindered in their willingness to change to more sustainable practices by the structures that are in place in European society. The report identifies these structures, links them to family life styles and childhood development and ultimately frames it within the wish for greater well-being.