It's Not Easy Being Green

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
It's Not Easy Being Green TV Poster Image
Brit family works together to live greener life.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The Strawbridge family is committed to going green, and they offer some educational information on the different ways they're accomplishing their goals. They're willing to work hard in order to live green. The family is close knit, and the kids are very supportive of their parents' efforts to live green.

Violence

Frustrated moments sometimes lead to some mild disagreements between family members. James talks about using "guerilla tactics" to convince his university to recycle. Discussion of slaughtering farm animals for food -- when it takes place, it's done off-screen, but the carcasses are shown.

Sex

James Strawbridge occasionally works shirtless, and his underwear occasionally pokes out of his pants.

Language

Words like "idiot," "hell," and "piss" are occasionally used.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

James talks about being slightly hung over after drinking wine with his friends. Dick offers his friends a "pint" after a hard day's work. Images of empty wine bottles.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this British documentary series -- which follows a family that moves from the suburbs to an old farmhouse in an attempt to live a greener, more self-sufficient (but still modern) lifestyle -- promotes some very positive environmental messages and shows the hard work and sacrifices that people sometimes have to make to be more eco-friendly. There's some occasional strong language (mostly of the "piss" and "hell" variety) and some mild disagreements between family members. There are also a few references to drinking, as well as images of empty wine bottles.

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What's the story?

In British docuseries IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN, engineer Dick Strawbridge, his wife Brigit, son James, and daughter Charlotte leave their comfortable home in the suburbs and move into a 300-year-old farmhouse in Cornwall with plans to be self-sustaining and live without using fossil fuels. From growing vegetables and raising pigs to building an aqueduct to generate electricity from an old waterwheel, the family strives to produce as little negative environmental impact as possible while still enjoying a modern lifestyle. They soon discover that living green isn't always easy, especially when many of their eco-friendly projects don't go according to plan. But despite some unexpected, frustrating, and sometimes expensive setbacks, they keep striving to find alternatives for reducing their impact on the planet.

Is it any good?

The show offers some interesting insight on the ways that an old house can be become environmentally friendly and showcases some of the "do-it-yourself" projects that can be done to make it so. Dick Strawbridge's easy-to-follow explanations (often accompanied by graphics) about his sustainability projects are also informative. But when Dick's best-laid plans go awry, there are some mildly tense moments -- particularly when Brigit is unimpressed with his strategies and/or green devices. Meanwhile, both Charlotte and James -- who are both university students -- are supportive of their parents' mission and pitch in on many endeavors. (It's a nice change to see people cooperating on a reality show instead of bickering all the time!)

It's Not Easy Being Green demonstrates how complicated living a completely eco-friendly lifestyle can be in a modern world. It stresses the idea that you must be willing to do additional -- and often hard -- work to be self-sufficient. Many of the DIY projects can't be done without the help of professionals, and they're often costly, too. But to the Strawbridges, these inconveniences are minor and well worth the trouble if they helps the planet. These positive messages make the series worth watching. While young kids may not find the series particularly exciting, older tweens, teens, and adults may well be inspired to try a little harder to go green.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the growing trend to "go green" and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It is realistic to think that families can completely change their lives to be more eco friendly? Do you think TV shows like this will inspire people to make greener choices? How can the media cover issues like environmentalism without being too academic or preachy? Families can also discuss what changes they could make at home to become more environmentally friendly. Are there any projects your family can work on to make your lives greener?

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