In this article you see why campaigns to protect nature are also campaigns to protect people, communities and local businesses. You also find out why environment campaigners are working to protect non-natural environments. No matter what you are campaigning to achieve Silent Reef’s how-to campaign advice can make your campaign more effective.
In this second post in our welcome series you see why effective environment campaigns do much more than ‘just’ protect nature.
In our first welcome series post you saw that Silent Reef is for anyone who wants to run a campaign to protect the environment. But what is an environment campaign? And can Silent Reef help campaigns that are not about the environment? Spoiler alert – Yes we can!
Read on for the answers to these questions.
What is an environment campaign?
At first glance this seems obvious – environment campaigns work to protect nature (natural places and wildlife), such as campaigns to Protect Raincloud Mountain, Create Misty Forest National Park and Save Our Shiny Dolphins.
But there are two reasons why environment campaigns must do more than ‘just’ protect nature:
- The complexity of things
- Non-natural environments need protecting too
Let’s take a look –
1. The complexity of things
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’).
Issues with negative environment impacts (e.g. a new mine in a forest) also have negative social and economic impacts (e.g. the mine harms people’s health, damages nearby farmland and causes 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 business. If the campaigners see this only as a campaign to protect nature they will miss out on a lot of support.
We can illustrate this by looking at messages this campaign sends 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.
However, the campaign can greatly increase their support by communicating additional compelling reasons to act, such as:
Take action to protect Cloudy Down farms and farm jobs
Take action to protect our food and water
By speaking about the social and economic reasons for stoping the mine in addition to the environment reasons the campaign greatly increases their support.
Yet 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.
You can increase support for your environment campaign by speaking about social and economic impacts.
2. Non-natural environments need protecting too
The second reason environment campaigns must do more than ‘just’ protect nature relates to the condition of the environments in need of protection.
Today 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 and the ocean
Your environment campaign can work to protect almost any environment, from pristine rainforests to productive farmlands and busy cities.
Now let’s look at our second question.
Can Silent Reef help campaigns that are not about the environment?
Silent Reef’s unique environment flavour comes from the real campaign examples that bring our content to life, but our how-to campaign advice is relevant no matter what you are campaigning to achieve, from racial equality and gender equality to poverty reduction and animal rights.
Campaigns to protect nature are also campaigns to protect people, communities and local businesses. Silent Reef’s how-to campaign advice is relevant no matter what you are campaigning to achieve.
The next post in our welcome series explores 3 easy ways to access Silent Reef’s how-to campaign advice. But first, we would love to know what you are campaigning for. You can tell us in the comments below.