Written by Brandon King
|Tuesday, 23 February 2010|
Instead of competing for resources, Bambi and his friends, including rabbits and skunks, frolic together and communicate in a shared language. Survival of the fittest has little meaning in this pastoral woodland, where all is wonderful. However, this changes with the arrival of a hunter, who shoots Bambi’s mother. This act disrupts the harmony of the forest and plunges Bambi—along with the viewer—into a state of despair. The historian Ralph Lutts calls Bambi “the single most enduring statement in American popular culture against hunting.”3
One of the earliest posters in the campaign against forest fires showed the visages of Hitler and Hirohito looming in front of a forest fire, with the caption, “OUR CARELESSNESS: Their Secret Weapon.” Needing a more likable face than the Fuhrer’s to popularize the dangers of forest fires, the United States government secured a one year loan from Walt Disney to use his character Bambi in its ads. When that year expired, a new animal was needed to be the face of forest fire prevention, and Smokey the Bear was created. His most famous tagline, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires,” endures to this day. In 2004, Smokey celebrated his 60th anniversary.
Consider this article to be a humble tribute to those fictional characters that helped make environmentalism as widespread as it is today. Without the tragedy of Bambi’s mother’s death, or Captain Planet’s inspired butt-kicking, eco-attitudes would have been slower to catch on in mainstream culture. Among America’s growing legion of carpoolers and composters are many who can trace their start back to an animated character, be it Bambi or the Lorax.
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|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 09 October 2012 )|