State Department Official Wants Disney’s ‘Frozen’ to Teach Kids About Climate Change

How Elsa, Anna, Olaf, and Co. could help fight global warming.

National Journal
Clare Foran
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Clare Foran
Jan. 23, 2015, 6:50 a.m.

A high-ranking State Department official wants to enlist Princess Elsa and a talking snowman to teach the American public about the Arctic.

Adm. Robert Papp, the U.S. special representative for the Arctic, told an audience at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Norway this week that he met with a Disney executive to discuss raising awareness about the polar region using characters from the wildly popular movie Frozen.

You can’t be in this business and not see Frozen, Papp said, adding that he has watched the movie at least 20 times thanks to his two young granddaughters. A staffer from his office came up with the idea for Disney to create public service announcements focused on the Arctic starring the movie’s main characters: Elsa, a princess with powers over ice and snow; her younger sister, Anna; a reindeer named Sven; and Olaf, a talking snowman who loves summer.

“I said, you’ve taught an entire generation about the Arctic,” Papp said, describing his exchange with the Disney executive. “Unfortunately, the Arctic that you’ve taught them about is a fantasy kingdom in Norway where everything is nice. What we really need to do is educate the American youth about the plight of the polar bear, about the thawing tundra, about Alaskan villages that run the risk of falling into the sea because of the lack of sea ice protecting their shores.”

But Papp said the pitch didn’t go over so well because Disney prefers happier tales. “As I continued to talk, I could see the executive getting more and more perplexed, and he said: ‘Admiral, you might not understand: Here at Disney it’s in our culture to tell stories that project optimism and have happy endings.’ “

Papp was appointed envoy to the Arctic last summer. The admiral has said that addressing climate change will be a top priority for the U.S. when it takes the helm of the Arctic Council, an international forum, this spring.

Scientists warn that the Arctic is warming at a rate that is twice as fast as the rest of the world and is highly susceptible to the effects of climate change.

The State Department reached out to Disney about raising Arctic awareness, but it was informational only and no collaboration is planned at this time, a spokesperson for the department said.

Disney did not immediately return a request for comment.

As for Papp, he won’t Let It Go. “There’s more yet to come there,” he promised.

What We're Following See More »
TEXAS AND ARKANSAS BASES COULD ACCOMMODATE KIDS
U.S. May House 20K Immigrants on Military Bases
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"The United States is preparing to shelter as many as 20,000 migrant children on four American military bases" in Texas and Arkansas, "as federal officials struggled to carry out President Trump’s order to keep immigrant families together after they are apprehended at the border."

Source:
CONFERENCE ASKS FOR FURTHER CHANGES
Vote on Compromise Immigration Bill Gets Bumped to Next Week
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"House Republican leaders are further delaying a vote on a compromise immigration bill, planning to make changes to the legislation for a vote next week. The news comes after a two-hour Republican Conference meeting Thursday, in which authors of the bill walked through its contents and members raised concerns about issues the bill doesn’t address, multiple GOP lawmakers said. Many members requested the addition of a provision to require employers to use the E-Verify database to cheek the legal status of their employees."

Source:
COMPROMISE BILL TO GET VOTE TOMORROW
Conservative Immigration Bill Goes Down to Defeat
1 days ago
THE LATEST

After a conservative-backed immigration bill failed in the House, 193-231, leaders "postponed a vote on a 'compromise' immigration proposal until Friday. ... GOP leaders, however, are under no impression that they'll be able to secure the 218 votes needed in the next 24 hours to pass the text. Rather, the delay is to give members more time to read the bill."

Source:
CONFUSION REIGNS
Immigration Votes May Get Delayed Until Friday
1 days ago
THE LATEST
FOLLOW-UP TO YESTERDAY’S EXEC ORDER
Prosecutions of Families with Children at Border to Cease
1 days ago
THE LATEST
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login