Before there was Kony 2012, Tying a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ol’ Bladder Cancer Tree and that Bully petition, there was Smokey the Bear raising awareness of the issue that plagues our increasingly urban and cosmopolitan population: forest fires. In retrospect, it’s weird to remember a bygone era where preserving the environment was uncontroversial. Also, that bear was dead effing serious. It wasn’t a juggling bear, a dancing bear or even a smiling bear. Nope. Smokey just stared dead into the camera and told you what’s what. In that way, it’s kinda genius because everyone’s first reaction is “Oh fun, a bear!” which is immediately followed by the PSA equivalent of being criticized by your second grade teacher for talking too much during class.
But now, Smokey is tackling the final frontier. Checkit:
An American astronaut heading to the International Space Station has chosen Smokey Bear as his crew’s mascot.
This of course raises the obvious question: what is a space fire like. Apparently it’s basically a ball of flaming doom. And I never would have known that without Smokey inspiring me to look it up! Well played, Smokey.
This whole thing really does harken back to the days where our awareness campaigns were much less ambitious. Taking out an African strongman is probably not something I’m going to be able to do no matter how many petitions I sign. But Smokey’s campaign isn’t even telling you to find other people’s fires and smother them, just saying that if you personally don’t burn down the forest, you’re cool. Sure! I can do that! But what other realistic things along the lines of preventing forest fires should have public awareness campaigns?
- Calling your grandmother
- Remembering to record your shows on the TV
Throwing your children(NEVERMIND, PROBLEM SOLVED)
- Making sure your socks match
- Eating some vegetables
- Reading more
- Taking better notes in class
- Cleaning your room
There’s probably more, but ten’s such a round number.