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Can Kid’s Music, Books and iPhone Apps Save Our Planet?

I dunno, but if the little ones who listen to music, read books and play apps on our iPhones grow up to save our planet, then yeah, I guess all that stuff can actually help the Earth.  It not perfectly linear, I’ll admit, but by-golly I can draw the connection easily enough.  I sure do hope that some of our youngsters figure this mess out for us older folk who are already trying to make a dent in the waste and unsustainable way of life practiced by so many today.  It’d be nice if there was some green spaces and clean air left for my grandkids and their kids.

[stepping down from pulpit]

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, this is my Earth Day post.  I can still remember volunteering to work at a place in Langhorne, PA during an Earth Day in the early 90’s – way before going green was found out as another way for Disney, Kraft Foods and seemingly every other major corporations to cash in. Big time.

Today, there are these songs.  Songs about living smarter, reducing waste, thinking about our footprint on this planet.  I’m not going to lie to ya, much of the music made for kids surrounding this topic is god-awful.  The kinda stuff that makes you crazy.  Crazy enough to buy a Hummer and light your trash on fire.

Thankfully, there are exceptions. Brilliant, brilliant exceptions…like these:

Hayes Greenfield released an entire album of outstanding “Songs for A Green Planet” in 2008.  The album’s standout tune, “The Things We Throw Away”, continues to reverberate around my biodome, er, house.  It’s the most powerful eco-song I’ve ever heard, made so by the fact that a pre-teen (a Broadway talent) commands the microphone.  Oh yeah, Hayes’ melancholic saxophone is pretty alright as well.

Uncle Rock’s latest, “The Big Picture”, includes a few songs worthy of Earth Day consideration.  “Stop at a Mom and Pop” may not sound like an Earthy song, but if your looking at the big picture (sorry, I had to) supporting local businesses, products, farms and food will go a long way towards saving this big blue ball we call home.  Uncle Rock’s achingly beautiful “There is No Away” is the more obvious eco-tune.  It features the wonderful Elizabeth Mitchell on backing vocals and is available as a free mp3 download right now.  Go here to listen, right click here to save as.

Alexandra and the good batch’s ballad “Mama’s Goin’ Green” is clever as its sung from a kid’s perspective trying to make sense of the phrase “going green” and attempting to understand what her mom is doing with all those old cleaning supplies.

Ratboy Jr. profess their love of the Earth on “Dirt”.  While not a ‘going green’ tune, necessarily, it’s fantastic.  Listen here on the band’s Facebook page.

Looking for some books to read to your little ones about the environment?  Give Curious Garden a try.  I cannot believe I haven’t reviewed this masterpiece from Peter Brown yet, but you’ve gotta check it out.  It’s a book that screaming out for an accompanying iPhone app and could easily be made into a visually impressive film. Curious Garden is the wondrous story of what might just happen if your child happens to bring a little more green and sunshine into their world.

Remember Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax?  Of course you do.  There’s an app for that!

The Lorax’s Garden app from Oceanhouse Media will have your kids growing their own digital truffula trees and planting lots of grickle grass ’cause “unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not”.  The app is absolutely fantastic, one of the best iPhone games we’ve ever played.  The Bear has never been so engrossed in an app before. Ever.   We played it together for over an hour last night instead of reading books at bedtime (I know, I know).  In Lorax’s Garden, you succeed in regrowing Weehawken, South Stitch and other Lorax lands and begin to see Swomee Swans, Humming Fish and Bar-ba-loots (in their bar-ba-loot suits!) return to the forests.  It’s repetitive action; planting, watering, weeding, etc, but each new level brings new flowers, new varieties and colors of truffula trees and new characters from the book.  Spend the $2.99 and buy this app today.

Who knows, maybe the next great thinker, politician or scientist to help change the world will credit a song, book or app from their childhood.  Despite all the Amazon.com links, I’m not a big believer in more consumption as a means to a greener world, but maybe a few bucks on some kid’s entertainment today will better the planet down the line.

The “Saving the Planet” kid’s shirt up there at the top right hand side of the page is from my World’s Fair T-Shirt & Gift shop. Check out more environmental designs on clothes, canvas bags and gifts here. But, it’d be better if you spent the $15 or $20 on a little herb or veggie garden for you and your kids. That way, they learn a bit about where food actually comes from. Maybe that’ll end up being one of the best gifts you ever give ’em, something they will never outgrow.

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