ABC TV's new environment show "Carbon Cops" starts Tuesday June 26 at 8.00pm. It has a very similar format to SBS TV's "Ecohouse Challenge". Experts visit a typical family and conduct an energy and water use audit, then the family is set the task of reducing use.
These programs are useful for educating the community about enviornmental issues in an entertaining way. But they may give the wrong message: SBS's show first cut off water and power to the households and documented the suffering of the families. At the end they rewarded the families with low water and energy appliances to restore their lifestyle. But many people would not have lasted to the end of the show. The message many people would have got is that energy and water saving is not feasible, rather than seeing that only a small investment and a few changes were needed.
ps: To see how computers and the internet can save the planet, join the new ICT Environmental Sustainability Group.
If you didn't like the message of hardship from Ecohouse, you'll probably like Carbon Cops a lot more. The aim of the show was to find supportive ways to keep a lifestyle you like without it costing so much. As you say, suffering and the shame-game don't make a good message!
Rather than taking everything away and having a family "rewarded" for better behaviour by returning things, Carbon Cops took the approach of "seeing how well you can do". It's a different kind of challenge, more about beating your own best efforts.
(I may be biased seeing as I was one of the background people helping work on the show - but I know what we were trying to do and where it was coming from :-)
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