London, Mar 25 (UNI) Disney films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book and Finding Nemo have inspired the environmental movement and persuaded people to think green, according to a Cambridge academic.
David Whitley, a lecturer in English at the university's faculty of education, said Bambi, Baloo, the bear from The Jungle Book, and the clownfish in Finding Nemo are the ''unsung heroes of the green lobby''.
He said Disney films helped generations of children develop ''a critical awareness of contested environmental issues'' since Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released in 1937.
Conservation was so central to Bambi, that it was credited with inspiring many 1960s environmental activists at an early age, he said.
Snow White and Cinderella, who protect wildlife and care about their natural surroundings, were role models for children, he said.
Mr Whitley described Finding Nemo as ''a fable for our time'', which dramatises the ''contradictory attitudes in our interaction with nature''.
''Disney films have often been criticised as inauthentic and pandering to popular taste rather than developing the animation medium in a more thought-provoking way,'' he said, adding, ''In fact, these films have taught us about having a fundamental respect for nature.'' ''Early productions such as Snow White, Cinderella, Bambi and Sleeping Beauty showed the natural world as an idyllic retreat.
Friendly animals allied themselves to the films' heroes and heroines,'' he said in his book The Idea Of Nature In Disney Animation.
''Later pictures, starting with The Jungle Book and stretching to The Lion King and Finding Nemo, have more exotic settings in which there is a more harmonious relationship with the natural world,'' Mr Whitley added.
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