Everything is NOT Awesome

Till this day, my 20 year old little brother still loves to wander into LEGO stores to unleash his inner kid. Since 1949, the internationally acclaimed construction toy company have grown immensely. Their global popularity has developed from supporting movie, games, competitions, theme-parks and corporations. One partnership in particular has recently sparked controversy. Please watch the video below. LEGO’s partnership with the Royal Dutch Shell pIc, also commonly known as Shell the multinational oil and Gas Company, started in 1966. Shell’s logo is featured in several LEGO promotional sets such as in the blockbuster hit, The Lego Movie. Environmental activist group, Greenpeace and London based agency, Don’t Panic, teamed up together to create “Everything is Not awesome”. The viral video is designed to be a double edge sword, intended to pressure the big toy makers of LEGO to drop their partnership with Shell and to highlight their new campaign targeting Shell’s motivations to drill in the Arctic for Oil. LEGO believes that their partnership with Shell will help them achieve their mission to expand their network reach, increasing children’s access to their toys, which will further help explore their creativity and innovations. However, partnering with the gas company goes against LEGO’s progressive environmental views and policies. Every company has the responsibility to choose their partners and suppliers ethically. It is hypocritical to align yourself with companies that fail to represent your core values. Brands and logos are all around us and influence our purchasing power. Children are extremely impressible and LEGO’s association with Shell will heavily influence children to associate Shell in a positive light believing that the company is a safe, acceptable and ethical option. The partnership will also improve Shell’s public image by diverting attention from their plans to raid the Arctic for oil. LEGO says it wants to leave a better world for children and has progressive environmental views and policies but partnering with Shell, one of the biggest climate polluters on the planet and threatening the Arctic, clearly goes against their core values. We need to be reminded that “Everything is Not Awesome” is not against LEGO or about the oil industry in general. It is about preventing companies, in this case Shell, from drilling for oil in the Arctic. Shell’s desire to drill in the Arctic can have devastating impacts on the natural surrounding environment which will heighten the effects of climate change especially if there were to be an oil spill in Arctic.  An oil spill in the arctic will affect the wildlife in four major ways

  • Drilling oil in the Arctic will melt glaciers at an faster rate causing glaciers to break away
  • Oil on fur will reduce the thermal properties of animals which will affect their inability to keep warm
  • There will be a spread of toxic contamination found in oil if ingested, inhaled or absorb by animals and surrounding environment
  • A reduction in food if prey or other resources becomes unavailable or inaccessible

It is important that we take action and urge LEGO to do the same. I urge you to sign Greenpeace’s petition, pressure LEGO into re-thinking their relationship with Shell. LEGO needs to stand up for the Arctic, for our environment, and for our children and future generations. I urge you to stay informed of the partnerships and endorsements that household brands commit to. And with that I ask you your thoughts and opinions on this matter.

What is Development?

  • To my distant relatives: Development is saving Africa
  • To my mother: Development is soliciting without pay
  • To my friends: Development is travelling and saving the world

But to me, development is complicated. There isn’t a clear definition that explains what development is other than is the process of change. However,  that definition varies between individuals, groups, towns, and nations. Everyone has their own viewpoint of what is important to them and their regions.

So with that I ask you:

  How do you decide what is important in development? To invest your time, effort, money and resources? To advocate and fight for? What serves more attention over the other?

To be honest, if someone came up to me and asked me those questions I wouldn’t be able to give them a simple answer. My perspectives of the key to development has shifted far to many times to count. When I came into the International Development program, I thought restructuring political systems were key, yet by the end of first year I became passionate towards the importance of water security. By the end of my second year I believed that development must incorporate economic structures and urban planning. But now with the help of a few of my friends, I have become more engaged with issues among women and minority groups.

I find myself in a limbo of what issues stands to be more precedent. Development is complicated. Everything is connected but there are many faults that lie within the political, economic and social systems. Within political, economic and social system, I think that longevity would be key to development. Therefore, I believe that the direction of development lies within sustainability.

The concept of sustainable development entered the minds of global citizens in the early 1970s as a concept that looked achieving an equilibrium between the economy and environment.  However, sustainable development is more notably defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

sustainability_spheres

Sustainable development does not only apply to the environmental and economic issues but it looks at the social implications as well.  Worldly problems and issues are interconnected. For example,  water scarcity and inequalities  can impact community health with water contaminations, dehydration, access and further illnesses. As a result, this can impact the surrounding natural environment, habitats and animals and the local economy. Resources are becoming finite and populations are growing at a exponential rate. Problems link together and political regulatory bodies need to address these concerns through understanding the future implications.  Through achieving sustainable development we will be able to achieve a global society that will become more inclusive, environmental conscience and economically feasible.

What is development to you? Feel free to comment and add your opinion on what the key is development.