** Sustainable development:
Brazil is economically emerging so people are able to consume more and, of course, they are producing more waste. Brazilians generate daily 240 tons of waste and only 2% is recycled while the rest goes to landfills causing pollution of the soil and aquifers. There is no doubt in my mind that the present generation -my generation – has the responsibility to guide the future generations through a new path that involves respecting the Earth and causing less destruction. As a mother it is my job to talk to my child about sustainability and how he - as an individual and part of the world community - can help restore the previous damage while resisting to contribute to further ecosystem damage.
It was this kind of thinking and willingness that originated a movement called Infância Livre de Consumismo( ILC), a group of Brazilian mothers gathered together to share ideas on how to teach our children about consuming consciously and making our families´ lives more sustainable. The group, which I proudly voulnteer, was created in March 2012 and since then is attracting more and more people interested in this kind of information. One of ILC´s main concerns is how we can protect our children from all nocive messages/advertisements created specially to encourage them to persuade their parents to buy products whether useful or not. Children become depressed because their parents won´t buy what they want and the parents are upset because the don´t want to see their children sad but, in the other hand, they don´t think what their children want is a healthy choice.
It has already been proved that advertising for children is nocive and disrupt families by making it very hard for the parents to raise conscious kids in an environment where the main message is: you are what you buy! The advertisement generates impulse shopping in children and make them loose the ability to live a life without materialistic joy. When deprived for certains products advertised everywhere children become depressed and with low self-esteem.
It aggravates the problem when we think about families with lower income that can not afford expensive branded clothing and toys. Even experiencing an economic growth, Brazil has 8,5% (16,2 million people) of the population living in extreme poverty and the majority living on a paycheck to paycheck with no money to spare on “fashion” products. Lets be clear: tv is a source of entertainment for children but watching a cartoon should no bring any other problem to a family that is already going through a lot in life.
It is unfair to have big companies targeting such a young group of consumers by creating with the help of researches and psychologists powerful messages that aimed nothing more than increasing the selling rates and consumption indiscriminately. By establishing new rules or even forbidden advertisement for children under 12 years old, the government will protect their childhood and will make easy for parents to send the right message to their children when it comes to teach them how to make good choices and focuses on what really is important. Children do not make money so they can not be targeted directly as costumers. As a mother I can do my job by bringing up a child with values, so should do the government by protecting the children from abusive advertisments and making it hard for companies to profite from a public that do not no what is right or wrong yet. It is time to gather together in a effort to create a collective consciousness.
More information about Infância Livre de Consumismo:
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.