“Salute Your Shorts” made ’90s kids care about sustainability
Is it possible that Nickelodeon gave us something BETTER than Kenan & Kel? If pop critic Emmanuel Hapsis is to be believed, Salute Your Shorts could give the classic a run for its money. Hapsis penned a love letter to the early-’90s show this week, saying it taught him the basics of sustainability with catchy bits of wisdom like “If we don’t change the way we live, we’ll be covered in puke and rotting garbage.”
Salute Your Shorts followed kids at summer camp, including Z.Z. Ziff, the token environmentalist who wore Earth-shaped earrings and praised recycling. She sang the rotting garbage bit in a 1991 episode called “Environmental Party.” Watch the clip:
In the episode, Z.Z. turns off the water and electricity, pissing off her fellow campers, rather than getting them to care about sustainability. (If you’ve ever tried to get a stubborn spouse, relative, or coworker to make a green change, the sting of “Are you out of your granola-munching, whole-wheat, tie-dyed, save-the-planet mind?!” will be familiar.) Turns out good old-fashioned coin is what gets them to care, writes Hapsis:
Z.Z. gets through to her friends by informing them that they can actually make money from recycling! Being Americans, they respond well to this.
HA. The economic angle, eh? Despite being 20-some years old, looks like Salute Your Shorts is still insightful. Plus, who wants to be covered in puke and rotting garbage? That shit messes up my hair.
Everything I Know About Environmentalism I Learned from Salute Your Shorts, KQED.