This September 15th marks the 30th anniversary of the premiere of the world’s first eco-superhero, Captain Planet! The series instantly became a milestone by proving that environmental education and entertainment could be successfully paired to reach a global audience. The brainchild of both Ted Turner and executive producer Barbara Pyle, the leader of Turner’s Environment Division, quickly rose to number one in Neilsen ratings and was broadcast around the world in over 100 countries. Pyle, with fellow executive producer Nick Boxer, went on to produce 113 episodes of the award winning series and created a pop culture icon – with a very catchy theme song – that continues to resonate 30 years later!
In the pilot episode, “A Hero For Earth,” Gaia, the goddess of the earth, sends magic rings to five special young people across the globe. Each of these rings represents a special power: Earth, Wind, Fire, Water, and Heart. The “Planeteers,” as Gaia names them, are met with their first challenge when the dastardly Hoggish Greedly causes an eco-disaster by drilling for oil in the ocean – a plot that has unfortunately become more relevant in recent years! The Planeteers realize they must combine their powers to succeed, and in doing so, form Captain Planet for the very first time. ”By Your Powers Combined,” Captain Planet exclaims, a mantra that has identified with an entire generation since.
Captain Planet and the Planeteers’ positive messages of youth empowerment, teamwork, and environmental responsibility fostered a shared appreciation for our planet in the hearts of youth around the world. As the 90′s generation grew up, we carried the knowledge imparted from Captain Planet into our daily lives. 30 years later, this phenomenon has manifested itself in the Planeteer Movement, a generation across the globe with shared views of the importance of caring for our planet!
In 2010, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of Captain Planet, executive producer Barbara Pyle took note of the increasing number of Millennials expressing the impact that the show had on their lives. Soon Pyle realized that if she connected these people truly great things could happen. The original group of five new Planeteers met through Skype, and unanimously agreed that the messages of Captain Planet and the Planeteers needed to be passed on to new generations. They formulated the idea of a ‘hub’ for fans of the series to connect with each other and share their ideas about sustainability. It quickly became clear that, with the rise of Facebook, Planeteers were already expressing their enthusiasm on Captain Planet’s Fan Page. The group created over 50 localized Facebook Groups around the world to connect local Planeteers with each other.
The response has been amazing! In some cities, such as Accra, Ghana, the Planeteer Movement has taken full force through massive cleanups and the creation of educational programs. In New York, young professionals have organized meetups with influential leaders in the environmental movement. And Atlanta took up the charge in leading the digital asset creation and media promotion of Planeteer Movement activities. Captain Planet’s Facebook Page exploded to over half a million fans in just a matter of months!
Now, at Captain Planet’s 30th anniversary, we are excited to see Planeteer Movement activities continuing to bolster – with events being planned around the world in celebration of the “Year of Captain Planet!” Stay tuned to Captain Planet’s Facebook Page for updates on Planeteer Movement activities, and join your local Planeteer Network to connect with Planeteers in your area!
As always, The Power Is Yours!