Disney films are significantly providing the public with a deeper understanding of environmental issues. The films have resulted into a powerful environmental conservation across the globe. Critics and environmentalists credit Disney films such as “The Jungle Book”, “Snow White”, Baloo, “Cinderella”, “Alice in Wonderland”, “Bambi”, “The Lion King”, “Finding Nemo”, among others for promoting nature awareness’ among people of all ages. Some of these Disney films inspired environmental movement as early as 1960s.
Disney films influence the target audience to conserve their natural environment and wildlife. These films serve as role models to children. The films relate how people relate to the environment in a contradictory manner. Furthermore, they fundamental encourage people to have respect for nature. At the end of the films, man’s relation to nature shows a strong sense of commitment to conservation.
Domesticating nature through “Snow White”
Disney’s adaptation of fairy tales to conserve nature is remarkable. The film shows Snow White unrelentingly surrounded by flowers, plants and animals. The emotional appeal of this film dominates the association with the natural world. Disney allows the animal helpers elaboration so largely that it becomes the critical part of the film.
Nature is sympathetic towards Snow White. Snow White can sing in an alternating pattern with birds and other animals, which shows the associations between her and nature. The character’s positive attitude towards all things in her natural environment enhances life and its natural strengths (Whitley 20).
Snow White relates well to her delightful forest friends, the animals and birds. When Snow White falls in the swamp before regaining her vision, there is a deeper meaning to this as it relates to the environment. In Disney film, at the beginning, the swamp is scary and disgusting. However, it leads Snow White to view the forest in her perception as a sanctuary. It is the swamp which ultimately leads Snow White to a teeming life of the forest.
There is an aspect of humanity struggling to control nature. Small animals like squirrels, rabbits and birds achieve their domestication process through Snow White. She domesticates wild animals of the forest through her songs and changes the abandoned cottage with the assistance of newly domesticated animals, who use their bodies to do chores. Snow White even manages to domesticate death itself through a kiss.
Snow White relationship with animals originates from a sense of sympathy and recognition of equivalence in their natural environment. Different animals come to meet Snow White. These animals have respective habitats, ranging from semi-aquatic pond, earth burrows, to fully airborne. This representation of biodiversity and species is unusual, but Snow White can relate to them all (Whitley 23).
Snow White brings about the conservation of nature through domestication. When the animals are in the cottage, Snow White takes control and teaches the animals to wash up, clean, dust cobwebs and clear away dishes. Snow White and the animals perform tasks with joy as the sing.
“Bambi” and Environmental Conservation
Bambi is a Disney film depicting a deer growing up in the forest, surviving death, attaining maturity and siring fawns of its own. Bambi represents a development of natural history with successive moments. This film is capable of engaging viewers’ minds as it represents the joy of nature and its fall caused by human destructive acts.
The film ends when the deer seeks refuge up the mountains from fire caused by human’s act consisting of large-scale hunting activity. The manner in which the animals are able to recover their damaged habitat demonstrates that, the fall of wild animals’ habitat is fully man’s own fault. It is the man who drives them out without minding the gentle and innocent forest creatures that nature eventually rescues (Salten 20).
“Bambi” film is significant in its central connection to the idea of nature. Disney closely and accurately observes behavior of animals in their natural environment. The film reveals a natural set up not spoiled by man. The film presents trees, branches, stones, rivers, and mosses to the unusually close part of the forest.
Viewers watch the birth of a fawn and the tender care it receives from the forest dwellers. Through this film, we are able to experience what are natural secrets within the forest and unobserved within the lives of wild animals. The film creates a feeling of intimacy with the natural world, mostly inaccessible to humans, through its detailed combination of animal behavior. In fact, children watching this film are learning a range of issues affecting animal behavior (Salten 12).
The forest environment is striking; there are various forms of trees, which are sensitive to light, different terrains, grassland, and woodland with various trees, open space, rivers running through forest, and finally ending up in curves forming cliffs and mountains beyond. Bambi shows beautiful environment.
Environmentalists should assess each stage of human engagement with nature for its full consequences, and manage the processes of economic advancements, which depend on the nature. The point is that the delicate balance of connecting ecosystems within the natural environment needs protection from the effects of ever increasing human exploitation.
The fire within “Bambi” reflects an act of humanity associated with brutality and carelessness evading the innocence of the natural animals’ habitats. The fire at “Bambi” provided a platform for environmentalists to advertise and create public awareness about forest fires at the countryside. “Bambi” fire influenced Wartime Advertising Council in its fire preservation campaigns.
It credited the film for its conservation messages to the public. It is the fire which creates the environmental drama of the “Bambi’s” climax. The film portrays the images of hunting as the cause of fire at “Bambi”.
All in all, “Bambi” links several fundamental ways, ideas and concepts that are influencing the efforts and practice of conservation in the United States. Figures of the animals are also informing the children how to integrate with their environment. The fact that Bambi lost its mother at a tender age has deep influence on the audience, which motivate them to engage in long-term environmental conservation agendas.
Critics agree that undoubtedly Disney films result into a more conscious relationship between man and the environment. The films also serve as role models to children to take care of their surroundings because of the sentimental nature the films possess. Disney films give young people a chance to explore and rehearse their environmental issues. The earlier productions show the nature as serenely and unspoiled world whereas the latest productions have some exotic scenes to show man’s harmonious relationship with the environment.
One of Disney’s corporate responsibilities is the conservation of the environment through its initiative driven by Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund. Conservation of the environment is the main agenda explored by various films presented by Disney.
Salten, Felix. “Bambi: A Life in the Woods”. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998.
Whitley, David. “The Idea of Nature in Disney Animation”. Hampshire, England: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2008.