Run Your Environment Campaign to Protect Nature (and a whole lot more)

Find out why campaigns to protect nature are also campaigns to protect people, communities and local businesses. And why some environment campaigns work to protect non-natural environments.

Environment campaigns work to protect nature, right?

Yes, of course that’s right, but hold on – there’s more.

You see, environment campaigns can – and need to – work to protect more than ‘just’ wildlife and wild places.

In this article we explore two reasons why environment campaigns cannot focus solely on protecting nature:

  1. To gain maximum support
  2. Because non-natural environments need protecting too

Let’s take a look –

1. Gaining maximum campaign support

When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe – John Muir (Scottish-American naturalist and ‘Father of the National Parks’).

An issue with negative environment impacts, such as a new coal mine that will devastate a forest, probably also has negative social and economic impacts, for example, the will mine harm people’s health, pollute and divert water used by nearby farms, and cause small business closures in adjacent rural communities.

So, a campaign to stop the mine to protect the forest is also a campaign to protect the local community and local businesses.

If these campaigners see their campaign as only working to protect nature they will miss out on a lot of support.

We can illustrate this point by looking at messages this campaign could send to their audience of supporters and potential supporters. If they make their campaign only about protecting nature all of their messages will be variations of:

Take action to protect Cloudy Downs forest and wildlife

Some people will be motivated to act by this message. Many will not.

But, if the campaign also speaks about the mine’s negative social and economic impacts, they can also send messages such as:

Take action to protect Cloudy Downs farms and farm jobs

and:

Take action to protect our food and water

In this way they can greatly increase their support by motivating people to take action who are not motivated by a desire to protect nature.

Regardless of the reason given for taking action all messages can link to the same action – an action with the aim of saving the forest.

Importantly, however, before making a claim against an issue (e.g. that it will harm people’s health, jobs or local businesses) it is crucial that you know that it is true.

Notice we are saying you must know your claim is true. Not think, hope or feel. Know.

And not just know. You should also be able to prove that it is true as making false accusations could lead to legal action against you and your campaign.

The only way to know and be able to prove that something is true is to conduct research, either yourself or by working with a technical advisor.

Campaign training for environmental activists

Busy campaigners (and you won’t meet one who isn’t busy) have no time for activities that fail to get results. So if you want to:

  • Write effective campaign plans that set you up for campaign success
  • Create powerful campaign communications that motivate action and change behaviours
  • Harness the power of online activism and social media
  • Run actions and events that get results
  • And much more (no kidding!)

then Silent Reef has what you need. Visit our Start Here page to learn more.

2. Protecting non-natural environments

The second reason environment campaigns must do more than ‘just’ protect nature relates to the condition of the environments in need of protection.

You see, these days there are very few purely natural environments left, humankind’s clumsy footprint having stomped on most places across the planet.

So all environments fall somewhere on a continuum from 100% natural to 0% natural, for example:

  • Old-growth forests – Mostly natural
  • Farmlands and neighbouring communities – Partially natural
  • Cities – Mostly non-natural

But this raises a question – Where do environment campaigns work and where do they give up because the damage to nature has already been done?

The answer is that environment campaigns can work to protect almost any environment. Here’s why:

  • People live in environments and environment campaigns protect people too – A campaign to close a polluting factory in a city protects the people living in the city environment
  • Impacts created in non-natural environments travel to more natural environments – Pollution from a city factory is moved by wind, rain and currents to damage forests, rivers, oceans and the critters that live there

So, environment campaigns can work to protect almost any environment, from pristine rainforests to productive farmlands and busy cities.

Conclusion

Campaigns to protect nature are also campaigns to protect people, communities and local businesses. Environment campaigns also work to protect non-natural environments. Silent Reef has the campaign training and tools you need to make your campaign effective.

PS: I would love to hear about your campaign to protect nature. Tell me about it in comments or use our contact form.

About the Author

David Roe

Dave is Silent Reef founder and course author.

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