Delivering the message of environmental preservation to the larger public has often been a challenge for ecofriendly organizations. Frequently the audience is not ready to accept the issues at hand. Organizations need new ways to reach out and help people realize that environmental concerns will affect everyone.

Project GreenBag - San Francisco Bag

Campaign by Project GreenBag.

The Challenge of Presenting Environmental Issues

One of the biggest issues when promoting public environmental awareness is the difficulty of presenting environmental facts to the audience. Scientific facts are of utmost importance to environmental awareness and protection. However, these facts are often technical and complex, and many find it difficult to grasp, or even boring.

Knowing how to present eco-facts in an easy-to-understand manner is certainly necessary. Familiarity with the particular audience you are facing will help a lot in knowing how to present these pieces of information. For instance, when making your presentation to young people, pick a language and tone that is light. This will make it easier for them to grasp and understand all the information contained.

However, just understanding the facts is not enough. The bigger challenge is for them to understand the importance of dealing with these issues. Often, the public feels that these are totally disconnected from their daily lives that it would hardly be of any concern to them.

Sustainable Lands Strategy

Sustainable Lands Strategy in Snohomish County, WA.

Raising Awareness in the Community

In order to get the local community to embrace environmental preservation, they need to fully understand why they should do so. Pachamama says that bringing the discussion closer to home will certainly get their attention. Pick particular issues that are located within the community itself and discuss how this can affect it as a whole. Creekside pollution, for instance, is a common problem faced by many cities and towns.

Of course, to really get people moving, they have to know how these issues will affect them personally. Conducting individual discussions would be a good idea, as you will get a better grasp of the particular concerns they have with regards to these environmental issues. From there, you will be able to suggest particular solutions that meet these concerns.

Environmental Geology Comes Home

Photo by stnorbert (Flickr).

Time to Take Action

Once the community and its members have a full grasp of the environmental issues they face, their next big question is where they should start. Remember the adage “everything begins with a small step”. Start with small tasks, such as cleaning small patches of the neighboring creek, to get them accustomed to the work that needs to be done.

This doesn’t need to be boring! As the Peace Corps suggests, encouraging your community to think of creative ways to deal with the problems they are facing will make the effort more enjoyable on their part. Creating an incentive system will also further motivate them to participate in environmental preservation activities.

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Posted by Mark Contorno.

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