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Cartoon Network Climate Champions

by Eddie Rayner

Over the last 50 years, human activities have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to affect the global climate and, in doing so, the social and environmental determinants of health – clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food and secure shelter. This, by definition, means that climate change is endangering children and threatening their futures. That’s why youngsters must understand the challenges that the planet faces. With that in mind, Cartoon Network, in tandem with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), has launched a new initiative to explain climate problems in ways that kids can understand. We spoke to Vanessa Brookman, Head of Kids, WarnerMedia EMEA, to find out more.

EDUAE: I understand ‘Cartoon Network Climate Champions’ was developed in tandem with WWF – how did this come about, and how has it been developed?

Vanessa: Climate change is a fundamental issue impacting our lives today, and its effect will be felt most by the younger generation. As a brand that provides original content for kids, we want to inspire them to become advocates by taking on small challenges that can make a world of difference to the health of our planet, the Earth they will inherit.

Our partnership with WWF, one of the world’s leading independent conservation organisations, was unveiled alongside the campaign on Earth Day 2021 (22 April). Eventually, the Cartoon Network Climate Champions campaign was launched across the entire EMEA region. We teamed up with WWF to provide simple and accessible explainer videos about the issues behind the climate-related headlines in ways that kids can understand.

We teamed up with WWF to provide simple and accessible explainer videos about the issues behind the climate-related headlines in ways that kids can understand

EDUAE: Children always learn best when they are having fun – so can you give an example of the daily Cartoon Network challenges that will motivate them to make changes that will positively impact the environment?

Vanessa: Cartoon Network’s brand-new Climate Champions microsite acts as the campaign hub with challenges, quizzes, games and videos championing sustainability. It is also promoted on the Cartoon Network channel.

The specially designed daily challenges, tested by kids for kids, are crafted to inspire and motivate young people to make changes at home, at school and in their local communities, positively impacting the environment. A real-time map demonstrates how the Climate Champions are making a difference and will provide ongoing insights and data points into the myriad ways kids are engaging in the topic from country to country.

Some of the daily challenges include: re-using and decorating leftover bottles and food containers to make imaginative plant pots; taking just one napkin tissue to reduce waste; making pet tug toys using old clothes; and buying oddly shaped fruit and veggies that might not be picked by other people.

Furthermore, we have done a survey with kids across EMEA prior to the launch of the campaign. Kids in the UAE have participated in at least one climate change activity, in which 52% of them have re-used materials. Meanwhile, 49% of the kids have tried using less water and less electricity.

Kids in the UAE have participated in at least one climate change activity, in which 52% of them have re-used materials

EDUAE: How do you get feedback, and what has the response been like to date?

Vanessa: As of 16 June, more than 190,000 challenges were accepted and total sign-ups of 20,227 across EMEA.

As part of the campaign, Cartoon Network has also collaborated with the Digital Video team at CNN to produce a series of first-person video articles featuring young change-makers across the EMEA region to inspire the Climate Champions and motivate others to get involved. The short vignettes spotlight some of the initiatives that young Cartoon Network fans are already involved in at a grassroots level and show how they are making a difference.

EDUAE: How does the Cartoon Network lead by example? What steps does it take to ensure sustainability in its own business?

Vanessa: At WarnerMedia, sustainability is essential to our business and embedded in our culture.

We pursue innovative green production practices and implement sustainability on our sets. Last year, 36 WarnerMedia productions received Environmental Media Association Green Seals for their sustainability efforts.

We produce content that informs and inspires audiences with compelling and entertaining stories to take action on sustainability, climate action, and environmental justice. Last year, WarnerMedia received seven EMA Award nominations and won an industry-leading three EMA Awards for achievement in environmental storytelling.

Total sign-ups of 20,227 across EMEA

We invest in programmes in the workplace that support sustainability, such as recycling and composting programmes, as well as a programme that encourages commuting to work by carpooling, walking, biking and taking public transportation.

We encourage our employees to take everyday actions to support a healthy planet for future generations. They are also presented with opportunities to volunteer around different green initiatives during working hours.

Watch the video here

Vanessa Brookman
Head of Kids, WarnerMedia EMEA