By Sanniah Hassan
“It’s important for all of us to re-think the way we live indoors. From individuals to architects, from companies to governments, we all have a responsibility to do everything we can to make sure our homes are healthy places to live and grow up in.”
The 21st century is a period of fixed routines, we call it being organized but, we don’t consider the harm this set routine does to our health and productivity. While scrolling through the multiple notifications on my phone today, I came across an interesting concept of “the indoor generation”. While the name seems very cool however, the reality is far from it. The indoor generation boasts of a generation(s) of people who exist in the absence of nature and fresh air. Primarily, the indoor generation is one whose health and productivity is hindered by the fact that they stay indoors more often than they should.
The concept of the indoor generation as presented by Velux hopes to shake us back to the reality of the grave situation we have found ourselves in. Velux is a Danish manufacturing company that specializes in roof windows and skylights. The video message speaks volumes in great advertising where they have successfully promoted their product while simultaneously highlighting an issue that is potentially life threatening. Through this video of roughly about three minutes, the audience is introduced to a child narrator, who is presumably in what looks to be a classy human museum.
The video begins with the girl saying, “In 160 seconds you will decide how this story ends.” The indoor generation as this girls puts it, is the generation that spends 90% of its life indoors. She says that it all started when mankind left nature behind for a life with homes that have everything we love. She explains, our homes became places you would never want to leave, where artificial light replaced the day light [sunlight], and we built our houses so that nothing could escape. She lists down everyday activities we continued to do without a thought to the fact that we had closed ourselves down to a point where nothing could escape.
Furthermore, she elaborates that when things got bad inside and we tried to fix them, we added more chemicals to the already polluted air, we put in little artificial suns everywhere. “That’s when things started to happen” she says. As she rightly points out, the adverse effects of anything are hard to notice in the beginning but then it reaches a point when going back is extremely difficult. Problems with sleep, skin problems, depression are all directly proportional with environment. If we ensure good, clean environment for ourselves we make it possible for future generations to have access to good health as well.
However, instead of working on purifying the environment of chemicals we added “happy lamps” to rid ourselves of the sadness. After the inclusion of these lamps into our lives, scientists discovered that the air inside our homes is far more polluted than the outside, approximately by 5% more.
Moreover, she explains that according to the research carried out by scientists, a lack of sunlight negatively affects the growth and learning of kids as well as leading to a rise in their blood pressure levels. The level of toxicants in kid’s rooms is the highest compared to all other rooms in homes as they are usually filled with everything ranging from books and stationary to toys and other things made of plastic et cetera.
According to research, millions of houses are unhealthy to live in. It was discovered that houses affected by dampness and moulds lead to higher risk of breathing problems such as asthma, among other allergies. The girl keeps moving from display to display reading the little snippets of information about each display, finally moving to a display of herself. Where she explains that it was then she learnt that she is one of millions of people who are suffering from such problems as asthma and allergies because of a dire case of the indoor pollution.
The little girl continues to the end of her awareness message by saying that the end of this story is in each of our hands because it is yet to be written. She requests that if we care about the indoor generation [and consequently the future of the world] even a fraction that we should do something about it. She concludes that we should change our lifestyles by thinking differently, “begin to think, live differently, [and] let light and fresh air into our lives again [because] even small changes can make a huge difference for coming generations”. In times like these when we have surrounded ourselves with chemicals and technology, become workaholics with little to no time for our personal health care, no time to spend in nature and the open, this ad campaign by Velux is indeed an eye opening breath of fresh air. It serves as a reminder of the dangerous path humanity is set to tread on. Which is why the concluding stance of the little girl is significant, because it gives us the opportunity to hope, that all is not yet lost and that mankind still has the chance to backtrack so we can make our lives healthier.
“Living in damp and mouldy homes increases risk of Asthma by 40%. Respiratory problems and allergies can be caused or aggravated by poor indoor air and quality.”
Therefore, perhaps we should look within ourselves to fix the situation before it reaches a point of no return. It is intrinsically in our natures to fight for survival so we should use this video as a guiding light and tool to put our lives back in perspective. Let us promise ourselves that we will do everything we can to ensure a clean environment for not only ourselves but for future generations to come as well, and that we will take any measure necessary to end the phenomenon of the indoor generation before it is too late.