A new television series is under development to help teach children about sustainability and what they can do to help keep our planet beautiful. With a goal to inspire and guide 4- to 7-year-old children to become global citizens as they grow up, the five Alphabravos heroes will traverse the planet righting wrongs, foiling the evil Mdudu’s plans, having fun and learning.
The show’s creators are an independent team of experts in their fields, raising money on Kickstarter to expand their team and create the pilot episode. They say the trick is to educate through entertainment. Children will be able to identify with the Alphabravos heroes who’s biggest enemy is a villain polluting their planet, and will be encouraged to join in the heroes’ mission to protect it. The creators hope that as kids learn to take responsibility for and see the impact of their actions on the world, doing so will become second nature to them.
Mark Downes, a commercials producer, happened to watch Ban Ki Moon deliver his keynote address on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, also known as the Global Goals), during which Moon said, “We are the first generation that can solve world poverty, but we are the last generation that can address climate change before it is too late.” Downes, who also runs ethically driven film production company Green-Eyed Monster Films, accepted Moon’s challenge to media executives to become ‘agents of change’ and set out to get the message across to a wider public audience and get children involved.
According to Downes, the team all met making a film with Sir David Attenborough, and bonded over what Downes described as “a baptism of like-minded fire in your belly, passion in your heart and ideas that need to be made into things that make the world that little bit better.” Some of the like-minded individuals who jumped on board include Sebastian Clayton, head of digital for U2.com, who oversaw the original site’s launch in 2000 and helped it grow into one of the most successful band websites in the world; Julian Borra, a writer and creative strategist for Saatchi S helping the likes of TUI, Vestas and Kellogg’s find their sustainable voice; and Sophia Bromfield, who will draw on her experiences from environmental projects with charities, private consultancies and local government and her MA in Sustainability Studies to advise on how kids can learn to think and act more sustainably.
Today’s 5-year-olds will be 17 when the SDGs reach their zenith in 2030. The show will be designed to help them grow up with an innate understanding that this planet is not only full of wonder and awe, but worth celebrating and protecting. The quite scary challenges the world is facing will be playfully framed in chirpy storylines and children will learn about simple, small actions to make things a little bit better along the way.
The show will also be complemented by an interactive website that will continuously tailor messaging as the kids grow and local Alphabravos clubs in the real world, through which brands will be urged to reward kids for cleaning plastic in the park or similar group projects to “fight evil contaminators.”
“In the absence of a New Global Creative Protocol to shape and communicate a new model of desire, we’d love every brand, sustainability and social impact person out there who dreams of better, whether or not they have a 4- to 7-year-old, to step up and support something that could be good for everyone – and that features a baddie called ‘Mdudu.’ What’s not to like?” Borra said in an email to Sustainable Brands.
“All great shows have a great villain … it’s usually the first question the kids ask when we do school workshops: ‘What’s the BADDY’S name?’" Downes said, also by email. “The meaning of Mdudu is literally bug or insect in Swahili, so we thought it perfect that his name reflect a character that bugs humanity and the environment,” he added. “That, and it rhymes with doo doo!”
The Kickstarter campaign is open now and will run until June 9th, offering rewards ranging from a listed name on the online ‘Alphabravos Wall of Honor’ or custom shout-out on Instagram to the ability to contribute emoji designs or to character development, to consulting with the team and earning a credit as a writer, associate producer or executive producer.