Review: Heartwood USA, an Eco-Cartoon

There’s a green ‘toon in town!

Heartwood USA is the name of the project, and Shane Keats is the father.

As an environmental cartoon that aims to educate and entertain, Heartwood wants to inspire kids to action by taking a stand and fighting for what they believe in.

Carson Heartwood, the heroine of this environmental cartoon, and Hugo Banneker, her best friend and brainy eco-geek sidekick, investigate the mystery of a stinky cloud that’s floating over town.

At the beginning of the pilot episode, “Cow-a-dunga”, Carson finds out that her friendly neighborhood industrialist is buying the town’s dairy. She and Hugo (with the help of the iGadget) then determine that it’s methane (“cow farts”) from the Dummkopf Dairy that has been stinking up the town.

They confront Shamus Dummkopf (the son of the shadowy profit-monger) at the factory-style dairy, with arguments about grass and pasture for the cows, then expose him in the paper and get Dummkopf Dairy to close.

Shamus gets back at her with some classic American politicking, under the banner of “Milk Drinkers for Truth”:

“What’s next, no football? You wanna know why? Because Carson Heartwood hates America!”

You gotta love that.

Check it out and let me know what you think:

I don’t generally promote or encourage watching TV, but I think that kids who do watch (most kids) would benefit by having at least some earth-friendly alternative to open their minds. Heartwood USA could be the gateway ‘toon for the next generation. It speaks their language and empowers them to rise up to the challenges that we face, both as communities and as individuals.

Heartwood USA believes:

  • kids aren’t stupid
  • adults care
  • bullies suck (especially political bullies)
  • laughing helps

I can completely agree with that.

My only complaint was the brevity. It felt like more details were necessary in order to make the connection between our daily actions and our environment. (The website does have a lot more information about the issues.)

Kudos to Shane Keats, director Dave Schlafman and the rest of Team Heartwood for putting out a show that highlights sustainability issues and environmental awareness. Well done.

The team (and I) really want to see this in productions, and to do that, it’s got to get a bigger buzz from parents, bloggers, publishers. So if you enjoyed this, consider putting up a review of Heartwood USA on your own site, or sharing it with others on Facebook or Twitter. And become a fan of Heartwood on Facebook!

For more info, visit Heartwood USA .

Derek Markham

Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, permaculture, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues. Find me elsewhere at @NaturalPapa, @DerekMarkham, Google+, or RebelMouse.

One thought on “Review: Heartwood USA, an Eco-Cartoon

  • How refreshing to watch a cartoon with some underlying substance. I think it is a great beginning. I am sure its brevity may explain the lack of depth (jumping from one scene to the next without building bridges between them). I join you in hoping that it develops in scope. I am always amazed that the cartoon industry assumes its audience is so simple minded. I suppose it is geared at entertainment and yet, as a Montessori teacher, I glimpse that even the youngest child is capable of comprehending much more than we often give them credit for. It would really be refreshing if Heartwood USA explored these deeper environmental issues WITH the viewer and in so doing impassioned them to act for change in their own community. Thanks for the review Derek.


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