Sustainable Living & Sustainable Lifestyle

Best Go Green Slogans & Memorable Sayings of the 90s

Best 90s Environmental PSAs

Many people have fond memories of the 1990s. The last decade of the 20th century featured no wars, a growing economy, expanded use of the internet, grunge music, “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and extremely memorable ‘90s environmental PSAs.

Many of those public service announcements remain etched into the brains of those who saw them, especially younger viewers – although in a good way, not like this terrifying anti-alcohol 1990s PSA from Finland.

Why so many PSAs in the 1990s? One reason is certainly the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, which caused extensive environmental damage in Alaska and opened the eyes of millions to the fragility of nature and man’s ability to do environmental harm.

Here are a few examples. All of them can be found on YouTube with a simple search.

MTV Pollution PSA

In 1990, MTV used the animation work of Bill Plympton to film an environmental PSA on the dangers of acid rain. It depicted a raindrop falling through the sky, making everything it touches (from planes to rainbows) scream in pain. Not subtle, but memorable.

Trees Are Terrific!

This cartoon ‘90s environmental PSA actually started in the late 1980s. It featured a cardinal bird talking and singing about protecting trees, and began and ended with the line, “Trees are terrific!” Naturally, the National Arbor Day Foundation created it.

Peanuts Anti-Pollution

In 1992, a new ad started that showed “Peanuts” star Charlie Brown losing a baseball game for a whole other reason than the usual inept play – everyone quits because it’s difficult to breath in the smog. Yes, even Snoopy.

Earth Commercial From Environmental Defense Fund Ad Council

Few things will draw you in faster than Willie Nelson singing his version of “What a Wonderful World” as images of Earth’s natural beauty flow across the screen. Which is why this commercial is jarring when someone reaches in, crumples Earth and let’s it drop as a voice intones: “If you’re not recycling, you’re throwing it all away.”

Dump Commercial From Environmental Defense Fund Ad Council

In the 1990s, the Environmental Defense Fund Ad Council became masters of PSAs with twist endings. Much like the one with Willie Nelson, this one starts with a song, “America the Beautiful” sung by a children’s choir. But then, the camera pulls back to reveal they are standing in a garage dump as a voice again warns us, “If you’re not recycling, you’re throwing it all away.”

Give A Hoot, Don’t Pollute

If you grew up in America anytime between the 1970s and 1990s, you know the Woodsy Owl anti-pollution PSAs that featured the tagline, “Give a hoot, don’t pollute.” In the 1990s, they added kids to the commercials and made Woodsy an animated figure. Oddly, some of the commercials no longer contained the catchphrase.

The Muppets

Starting in the 1980s and into the 1990s, the Muppets starred in commercials for the National Wildlife Federation that promoted sustainable habits such as saving water, not using sprays that could deplete the ozone and turning off lights when they are not needed. Miss Piggy, of course, used that last lesson to spend some quality alone time with Kermit the Frog. In the dark.

Captain Planet

No mention of ‘90s environmental PSAs is complete without mentioning “Captain Planet and the Planeteers,” a cartoon show that focused on environmental issues. The show, which ran from 1990 to 1992, is kind of a PSA all by itself. But they also made PSAs, like this one for recycling.

The ‘90s environmental PSAs movement brought a host of great commercials, memorable sayings and – in some cases – twist endings as jarring as some movies! Thankfully, all of these, and more, are available on YouTube so parents can show their kids the PSAs that helped make them more environmentally conscious all those years ago.

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