Environmentalism in Animation: Dissertation Research

These are just a few videos which are relevant to some of my research on environmentalism in animation. I want to examine ideas of why environmentalism is becoming more commonly used as a subtext in almost all forms of animated media. Children’s series are more and more showing good characters acting in environmentally conscious ways and subtly showing how good values and traits run parallel to preserving nature and good environmental practices. I also want research why the idea of the apocalypse occurring due to human fault and neglect of the environment has become such a popular theme. In the “Mad Max” (1979 – 2015) series particularly the latest “Mad Max: Fury Road” (2015) explores the idea of the post apocalyptic future and having to find pockets of natural environment “the green place” in order to survive.

I am also going to be looking into creators and audiences opinions on environmentalism and why American audiences have such strikingly different views on environmentalism than other parts of the world. The way in which we talk about environmentalism is changing. More and more people are choosing to say it’s a myth because they feel they haven’t seen a fast and dramatic impact. Japan’s ideals regarding environmentalism are much more commendable than most of America. This is mainly from the vast differences in large companies environmental practices. Most of Japans larges companies try to keep themselves ‘green’ and eco-friendly while American companies are very slow to change any of their own practices to create a more eco-friendly outlook.

Exploring the symbolic nature of ideals and movements in animation is also going to be a key part of my writing. When comparing films created by people with very different cultural backgrounds it becomes much more interesting to see how symbolism is used. In “The Last Unicorn” (1982) and “Spirited Away” (2001) the different mythos supporting these films ie; Japanese mythos vs European mythos and how these have effected the narrative and the types of symbolism used there in.

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