TAG: Social change

Call For Global Citizens To Rock Out World Hunger

Call For Global Citizens To Rock Out Hunger

Live music, a crowd and good vibes are essential at a music festival. Taking music events a step beyond is Hugh Evans and the vision of the Global Citizen Festival. The Global Citizen Festival is an annual music project featuring live performances. More than a celebration of music, though, it has the heftier goal of working with the Global Poverty Project to end extreme poverty by 2030. The motivator behind the movement, Hugh Evans, reminded that in 2010 statistics concluded that 1.2 billion live in extreme poverty, and the Global Citizen Festival recognizes the need for businesses and government to… read more

The Human Touch

Environmental education

It might seem obvious, but because environmentalists frequently focus on big issues relating to the non-human world, it’s sometimes easy to neglect the human element in our work as environmental educators and communicators. This “human touch” is best expressed in our people skills – our interpersonal (or relationship-building) skills and our ability to work effectively with groups. Most university degrees in biological science or environmental management tend not to emphasise knowledge, skills and practice in effective group work. And yet – in the big bad world beyond the hallowed halls – much of our environmental efforts operate within communities of… read more

Saving Life On Earth

Saving Life on Earth

What can you do to help save life on Earth? Biodiversity is a buzz word but how can you or I make a difference? Remember that everything is connected.. It’s a tenet of ecology and an underpinning principle to sustainability. Every choice we make – in our home, in the marketplace, the workplace, at school – has repercussions that extend beyond the face-value of the action. When you wash toxins down the toilet, they eventually reach our waterways and have impacts on aquatic plants, amphibians, macroinvertebrates and fish. When you eat large quantities of meat, you’re fueling an industry that… read more

Hitting Your Target

Hitting Your Target

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.” Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa The audience is king. Whether we like it or not, as environmental and sustainability communicators, we have a duty to serve the one true god – our target audience. Whether we want to raise awareness about international trade in endangered species, or attract new members to our NGO; whether we want to engage people in a weekend permaculture blitz, or widen our Transition Towns… read more

Instagramming and Geo-Tagging Trash with Litterati

Instagramming and Geo-Tagging Trash with Litterati

Our modern disposable lifestyle, where everything is packaged or has a limited lifespan, has led us to a serious waste problem. And it doesn’t just impact the landfills, or the resource streams, but it also directly impacts the wildlife, the water supplies, and even the quality of human life on a local level, due to our trashy habit of littering. In order to bring more awareness to this issue, an effort combining smartphones, activism, geo-tagging, and art was born, and is filling a global Digital Landfill gallery with images of litter that people are picking up. Litterati encourages people to… read more

Climate Changes All

emerald tree boa

If biodiversity – the proliferation of life on Earth, the totality of plants and animals and micro-organisms – is already being radically diminished through human activities, what impact will climate change have on ecosystems and species around the world? There is growing agreement amongst conservation biologists and ecologists of the intimate connection between concerns about biodiversity loss and concerns about climate change. To this point, habitat destruction, introduced species, over-population and consumption, pollution and over-exploitation have been the key culprits for loss of species world-wide. According to Robert May (cited in Planet Earth: The Future (what the experts say)), these… read more

Tricks of the Trade – 4

Social change marketing

See Part 1 of this article See Part 2 of this article See Part 3 of this article There’s a lot of talk about changing people’s behaviour.Talk about recycling and waste management. Talk about local economies and food production. Talk about public transport and greening community spaces. Talk, talk talk. For some reason, a great many social change programs have relied on information as the principle weapon for mass distraction – distraction from the everyday activities that otherwise keep people glued to existing and typically unsustainable behaviours.  The problem, however, is that information alone is not a particularly effective weapon…. read more

Tricks of the Trade – 3

Social change marketing

See Part 1 of this article See Part 2 of this article  Some people describe themselves as “commitment-phobic”. Others rush headlong toward commitment as if their life depended on it. What’s curious in human behaviour is – irrespective of how we feel about commitment in personal relationships – when an individual (even better a group) commits to a small request it almost always invariably leads to the likelihood of them agreeing to something bigger and better. Get someone to sign a petition and you’ve got their love for life. That’s the theory anyway. As McKenzie-Mohr & Smith outline in their… read more

Tricks of the Trade – 2

Social change marketing

See Part 1 of this article “Don’t let us forget that the causes of human actions are usually immeasurably more complex than our subsequent explanations of them.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky) Ever wondered why people litter? Ever wondered why people buy pre-packaged microwave meals? Ever wondered why people buy oversized fuel-guzzling SUVs?  Chances are you’ve had a hunch or two as to why people do the weird things they do. When it comes to developing public programs for social change, however, gut feelings are not quite enough. This is not least because human beings are infinitely more complex than we often give… read more

Tricks of the Trade – 1

Social change marketing

For a few years now, “community-based social marketing” has been a buzz phrase for behaviour change programs.  Espoused by Doug McKenzie-Mohr and Will Smith (1999) in their book Fostering Sustainable Behaviour, community-based social marketing offers tools to help environmentalists to appeal to large segments of the population. The goal is to deliver programs that remove the barriers and enhance the benefits for widespread social change. Social change campaigns are therefore underpinned by a clear identification of the barriers to behaviour change (eg. people who do not grow food in their backyards may perceive it to be hard work and expensive)…. read more