Written by: Melissa Melton
To increase public awareness and to develop strong environmental stewardship habits, uniformity and consistency have been common denominators this practitioner has recommended over the years. When pre-planning for Earth Day 2019 and it’s countdown to 50-years (www.earthday.org/campaigns), plus America Recycles Day (https://americarecyclesday.org/) events within communities and schools, I recommend checking the websites for themes and ideas and implementing those messages. Resources materials are always available for use from these websites, and you may register your local events at no cost. This is free advertising available for your events.
The Earth Day Network (EDN) will celebrate its 50th Anniversary in 2020 and this past year’s theme was End Plastic Pollution. This may be the first multi-year campaign and program in EDN’s 48-year history for implementing a strategy to alter behavior concerning single-use plastics to realize a significant reduction in plastic pollution by 2020. Reducing single-use plastics is a goal that I can wholeheartedly rally behind!
“From poisoning and injuring marine life to disrupting human hormones, from littering beaches and landscapes to clogging our waste streams and landfills, the exponential growth of plastics is now threatening the survival of our planet.” (https://www.earthday.org/earthday/countdown-to-2020/) While these facts are well-documented, they do not always motivate small local communities to action. Therefore, localizing those facts and making them relevant to your audience is essential. Establishing a global theme suitable for your local community is a must.
For instance, typical for the Kentucky community audiences that I work with, recycling and environmental education are enthusiastic hunters, sports fishermen, swimmers, and generally enjoy outdoor water activities of all types (boating, jet-skiing, etc.). Explaining the effects of plastics littering their own waterways was critical to initiate conversations and center attention of single-use plastics they have seen when participating in those aquatic activities during this year’s Earth Day events. Recommending the replacement of single-use plastic water, soft drink, milk, and juice bottles with reusable bottles was simple. Recognizing those local convenience stores that provide discount pricing for using their own branded reusable cup for coffee and other drink refills were straightforward in this messaging as well.
As we prepare and begin to plan for Earth Day 2019 next April, I encourage you to utilize the abundance of resources available to you!
This article was submitted by RCAP’s Great Lakes region, Great Lakes RCAP. To learn more about Great Lakes RCAP, please visit here.