Green Media & Electric Cars: New Energy Shaping Youth

tesla1.jpgUpdate Mar. 22, 2013: Just stepped into the future in a silent Tesla sedan that zoomed 0 to 60 in 3 seconds like a 007 James Bond stunt car, piloted by a neighbor pal of mine (who happens to be a pilot, go figure). I’m completely floored by the design, engineering, eco-efficiency…and er…custom 6-figure hot off the assembly line price tag. Fast Company just featured the Tesla Model S slated for a more mainstream/affordable price point soon, followed by a $30,000 version by 2016. THEN it will be more in my league…until then, I’ll just enjoy the ride and a glimpse into tomorrowland. What an eco-amazing experience…

Original Post, Spring ’07: Vrrroooom! No kiddie toys here. Nor EV-1 putt-putts or hybrids. The youthful energy in the room at the MIT/Stanford Venture Lab’s (VLAB) Consumer Products Innovation went far beyond “treehuggers and geeks” last night as Tesla Motors revved up the crowd with their zippy carbon fiber electric sports car making national headline news in multiple media circles.



Shaping Youth peeked into the future with über design lab IDEO, the portable presence of TV from Sling Media, and the amazing social media solutions to traffic via Dash. Robert Scoble of PodTech moderated this media mashup of sustainability messaging.

Why should you care? When media and marketing merge to shift the youth zeitgeist with a capital S, there’s energy that’s electric. And it goes far beyond cars. Kids have a major stake in steering away from oil dependence and paving the way for some long term solutions for the planet. And media is integral in fueling this movement.



Eco-cool products meld form, function and sleek design to steer us away from the horrid Hummer inefficiency of commando tanks we see on the road toward a Mini-Cooper mentality. This svelte penny-a-mile hotrod is a far cry from a golf cart perception. Tesla brings a whole new meaning to ‘hummin’ down the highway, as it goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds, gets 135mpg, and runs 250 miles without needing juiced. “Awesome.”

Who better than youth to champion the best green machines as electrics, hybrids, and biodiesel go mainstream? Youth is painting the world green using media as a brush, like the Green Video Contest. (media entries due: 2/28)


Their banner reads, “Wanted: Inspired, pragmatic videos to help us get out of this mess! Get Inspired. Make Your Media, Upload Your Eco-Flick. Tell the World.” Some strong shows are already posted here, including this one with a 7-year old narrator:


“A Kid, A Car and an Idea” highlights a yellow Beetle running on vegetable oil. (we’ve seen the french-fry fuel before, but is this child a media prodigy in eloquence or what?)

Another called Gwobal Wawming Solooshons uses kids’ art work and free-form sketches in time-lapsed frenzy to scurry through a compelling storyline.

“Stop, Drop & Rock” brings rock musicians to public schools building global warming awareness. These media literacy tactics are creative!


There’s a a baby diaper landfill story called “Inconvenient Poop,” a coughing claymation about earth’s emissions overload (with a happy ending) and a puppet show about pressures to buy, complete with a ‘consumer fairy,’ which fits my consumption posting perfectly.


Youth media’s passion for sustainability goes far beyond dinkin’ around picking up a few bottles here and there for recycling. (but yes, that’s important too)



The new levels of thinking are inspirational: Teen winners of the 2005 Brower Youth Awards were as young as 15, the recent 2006 Award Winners ranged from 16-22…Elementary school kids are creating Green Map Systems in their communities and the collegiate crowd is aligning with corporate partnerships in environmental justice and eco-law.

Sustainability groups and after school clubs are growing like weeds with organizations like Canada’s Green Street, global youth voices at Earth Seeds, Earth Force, Earth Team, and of course Jane Goodall’s exemplary Roots & Shoots.

There’s educational film at Earth Day Network TV and fun clips for kids at GreenTV in beta, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP.

GreenTV has interactive resources like Tunza for Children (an East African word meaning to”treat with care”) and Tunza Youth for action-based multimedia, dialogue and chat for teen voices as well.


ALL of this youth energy means to me that this planet has high hopes for reversing damage, and every indication that sustainability is no longer a word being tossed around in celebrity chic circles.


Youth is not treating sustainability as a passing fad, but instead a pivotal indicator of where media can take us to plant new thoughts and water fertile soil to ‘do the right thing.’ This is huge.


One of the Green Video entries called ‘Ol Eagle Eye’ uses the decline of eagle nests in the 70s as a turnaround success story with a poignant quote that resonated:

“Man does not weave the web of life, he’s merely a strand of it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”



Online or offline, our interconnected webs are as interdependent as our resources.

Youth “get it.” Yet most adults are only beginning to grasp the power of the “digital web.”


Youth has the energy to sustain this movement and take us where we need to be for survival.

By the time youth can actually afford that Tesla Motors electric roadster I’m hoping it’ll be in mass production as common as today’s SUV.


Hey, dare to dream. The kids are…


…And thankfully, they’re following up with action.

p.s. I’ll add that my favorite phraseology on the need for positive positioning is captured succinctly in a blog called the Inspired Protagonist. It sums up my hope for youth’s rise in sustainability messaging and the digital media revolution brilliantly:

“In an age when despairing doom and global gloom rule the wires and extinguish those inspired fires that could ignite the needed change, the Inspired Protagonist seeks to cut the cords of negativity that bind us and replace them with hopeful strands of thought and deed that weave new worlds of possibility.

This is the home of the voice of Seventh Generation and of all our friends and kindred spirits. It’s the place for different thinking, dynamic action, deeper traction, and daring dialogue that move people to move our culture forward.

Let us together reboot the present and reinvent the future through alternative patterns of being and sharing, doing and caring. We are Seventh Generation. This is our blog. Make it yours and make good things happen.”

A secular church if I ever saw one. And a great big “Amen” from the Shaping Youth corridors.

Update: 3/11/07 on Hybrids, Eco-issues & advertising:

Jeff Chester’s fresh new media blog, Digital Destiny has an article about whether advertisers will step up to the plate and confront their role in global warming with constant consumption messaging. (tried to comment, but my log-in fouled up)

AND on Britt Bravo’s incredible “Have Fun, Do Good” blog, there’s a great interview with Jodie Van Horn of the Plug-In Bay Area campaign, discussing hybrid progress and global trends fueling the Freedom from Oil movement. (Britt’s also made it available at Big Vision Podcast)

Finally, Planet Tran now has hybrid airport vehicles being pumped up via Daily Candy digital media, so it looks like mainstream mindsets and media are finally shifting to eco-alternatives…now it’s all a matter of proving ‘market demand!’

Sure would be nice to have a planet for “youth” to “shape,” n’est ce pas? Here’s hoping the fuel alternative movement revs as fast as that Tesla sportster…



  1. A fundamental change in our driving habits is now required.

    The Automobile Industry is going to be in the same position as the Airline Industry in the next few months. Unless we get away from gas combustion vehicles, including Hybrids, the automobile industry (as we know it) will die.We need to make drastic moves. America needs to move to ELECTRIC. The vehicles are not as fast, not always as fun to drive, but the move will save Americans money (Billions) and help bring change to our automotive companies. Let’s “Be Green”!!!!!!!!!!!! BG Automotive Group Ltd. has a car that will travel 80-100 miles per charge for $15,995. Finally a car that most Americans can afford. Did you know that 80% of all drivers, drive less than 50 miles per day? This new car will cost an equivalent of $0.20-0.25 cents/gallon (depending on electricity rates in your area). Why send $700 Billion per year to OPEC (now buying up U.S. companies) when we can use this money for our schools, health care, social security for all Americans, etc, etc, etc. We can make the difference if WE change.

  2. What did I do this past weekend? Mountain Dew, a soft drink company, sponsored a ski/ snowboard race called the Vertical Challenge, and I entered the race at Sugarloaf Mountain. Now, I am not a racer, I really like to just cruise downhill on my skis on the mountain in control. But, I had a chance to enter the race, a short gate course, with a laser gun to mark my time. In order to get the true picture you have to imagine me, a 55 year old teacher in line with mostly boys and men (there were 3 other women and…

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