Category: Greener Environmental

Top ten charity campaigns of 2015

Well done to all those charities who have run bold campaigns in 2015. Not an easy year for the sector with many mergers still on the table, negative stories about about how charities operate in getting their vital funds, the debacle of the Kids Company closing and the Edelman Trust barometer showing trust in charities down 17%.

My top 10 charity campaigns this year are:

Greenpeace Awesome Again

It was good to see Greenpeace’s action in 2014 and mobilising millions to stop the Lego Shell partnership in 2015. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).

Je Suis Charlie

charlie
Not a charity but certainly a cause, I’m sure most would agree the Je Suis Charlie events were a critical response to the threat against the freedom of speech, inspired by the terrible attacks in France on 7th January 2015.

This Girl Can

I loved This Girl Can campaign developed by Sport England as a celebration of active women doing their thing no matter how well they do it or how they look.

Big Issue Baristas

A very innovative and entrepreneurial way to diversify the work homeless people can do, by training them to make and sell cappuccinos – with eight carts in London, I wish it all the best.

Amnesty’s Virtual Reality ‘Aleppo’ Street

It’s tough bringing home your message and this campaign does just that with specially created headsets. It aims to transport people to a Syrian street to show the destructive effects of barrel bombs.

St John’s Ambulance ‘Chokeables’

st johns

A brilliant idea, using regular ‘chokables’ as the main characters, with voice-overs from Johnny Vegas and David Mitchell, adding weight.

The Lord’s Prayer ad (Just Pray)

lord

The Church of England planned to run the spot before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opening on 18 December. As an aside, The Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refused to show The Lord’s Prayer ad . The spot launched the Church of England’s justpray.uk website, which encourages prayer and offers tutorials.

I Saw Your Willy / Share Aware

NSPCC’s great campaign encourages children to think about what they share online; with this campaign they have developed a partnership with 02.

Life-changing Learning

open

The Open University has captured the strength of mind, effort and reward that comes from studying a part-time degree – a nice brand builder.

Unicef Snapchat of Nigeria

Unicef recruited Snapchat artists to redraw the pictures made by some of the 800,000 children forced to flee their homes in Nigeria, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the horrific impact of the Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian children.

These charity campaigns are all brave and ambitious – but more importantly speak to us in a straightforward language, and in my view, increase the perceived value of the charities’ role on the issues. I believe they have every chance of driving new supporters and partnerships.

Wishing you all a great Christmas and New Year.

Giles Robertson, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and independent Marketing Consultant, Marketing Society Fellow, Board Member, Marine Conservation Society

Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana and Linkedin or email at Giles@greenbananamarketing.com

Shortcuts Stand out from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials

 

Your invitation to Green Banana Marketing’s next Shortcuts event
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Shortcuts Series

Standout from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials

Free Shortcuts seminar – Tuesday 10th September 2015 9 – 10am

Green Banana Marketing invite you to their free Charity Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10 September 2015 at 9am.

Charities need good marketing more than ever – with great pressures to gain new supporters (and more charities to standout from), building your appeal and what you stand for is essential.

Having a strong brand and marketing focus has never mattered more.

This innovative hours workshop will change the way you think about marketing and leave you bursting with ideas on how to build your brand personality, standout from the crowd and attract new supporters to your organisation.

Previous delegates said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the fundamentals of marketing”
     

We would very much like to see you and a colleague at this Free Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10th September 2015 at 9am for one hour at the O2 Workshop, 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.

Places are limited to 20, so please do click here now to subscribe and book your free place.


‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. Drinks, cakes and a friendly networking session will follow the seminar. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,

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Date: 10th September 2015Time:

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Green Banana Marketing shortcut seminar

 

 

 

10 tips to maximise growth through your website

Many of the social organisations we work with are going through huge changes, using their “ten year strategy” to answer the question “what would a digitally-enabled organisation look like?” and “how will we thrive in an increasingly digital world?”. These are perfect questions to help shape the future and current offering and the following related questions helped us in working through our recent projects with the Fairtrade Foundation and The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

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Mapping the user experience and developing wireframe and related colour schemes for the navigation

1.What’s not working well at the moment? Where are audiences dropping off / not going – why is this?

2.What are your analytics telling you? Do you understand the audience needs and do these change by age / other demographics? Why is that? Do you know how people are using your site?

3.Are you ready for Mobilegeddon? Do start the process of ensuring your site works on different devices from interactive white screen to phones. You probably already know that Google’s search ranking will be affected by how mobile friendly your site it. There is an easy mobile friendly test you can do.

blog photo FT mobile

The mobile experience for teachers using Fairtrade resources

4.Is your SEO / social strategy good enough? Read Google’s guide to SEO, again Google will look harshly at copy that is too small and links that go nowhere. Defining your strategy beforehand (starting with the web copy), will help you prioritise what your main services are.

5. Do you have a strong concept / design? People like ideas- a strong concept can really lift your site usage.

6.Do you have the right sign-up points? Getting the balance right is essential; too many and people will click off your site. Having the main touch points clearly labelled will increase conversion to sales, and to your newsletter sign up.

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Clear and interesting sign up points help the user

7.Why not ask people what they would like to use the site for in the future? Regular users of your site will often have as good ideas as anyone for how the experience could be made even better, we’ve found tapping this interest and using some of their ideas is crucial.

8.Are you using it as a living / agile website? Agile roll-outs are best. Too often the process is to map the user experience to a wireframe and then build the site over 10-16 weeks, which is fine. But it’s better to keep the site alive and agile, adding new features and functionality, so the site has a beginning but no end. There is no web 2.2.

9.Are you linking your CRM to your website? You increase conversion to your site by as much as 50% from users on your social channels, by a few simple campaigns.

10.Are you making lots of new friends? We’ve found links to your site from other respected organisations work wonders for new site visitors and increased search ranking.

If you need help with your web delivery, these are the first questions we would ask, it’s an easy checklist, which starts with your audience and builds things in an agile but logical way.

Giles Robertson, Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd, Marketing Soc. and RSA Fellow, Charity Group chairman, Trustee of Marine Conservation Society, member of 2Degrees board of advisers and the Sustainability Growth Group. Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana or email at Giles@greenbananamarketing.com

Send all our leaders on the London Marathon

Beach body photo blog

What’s not to like about the London Marathon? It’s welcoming – whether you are one of the 750,000 spectators, watching it on TV or more importantly one of the 38,000 people taking part. It’s pure joy, celebration and carnival– preceded by pain and I guess sometimes despair. What makes the London Marathon brand so special is the following:

  1. we all know somebody who was running
  2. the amazing sense achievement, of giving and taking part
  3. the sense of fun and nothing is impossible or is judged to be ridiculous. The most eccentric charity runner was probably Lloyd Scott who took five days to complete the course wearing a deep-sea diving suit. And no doubt ushered in new regulations for the marathon, which state that the race must be completed in one day
  4. the fact that this is one of the biggest fundraisers, during the last 30 years runners have made more than £500m for various charities

We were also all swept up by 2012 London Olympics and the amazing Gamemakers who really made their mark. Now contrast that with the lead up to the general election – the biggest event we were not really invited to be part of – in the weeks leading up to 7th May.   We’ve not been involved in a conversation with the general election. The environment, sport and health have been little discussed. The Green party lost out, by playing down discussions about green issues, to demonstrate a broader understanding of other policy areas.

There has been very little discussion about sport, health and well being; tackling obesity and getting people back into sports. I applaud the This Girl Can campaign and what Dove has tried to do by normalising every day body shapes. But all this seems to have been given the two fingers by the most pointless and shallow ad of our time; an ad for a weight loss drink and beach perfect bodies.

Thank goodness for two bloggers Tara Costello and Fiona Longmuir, pictured, who posed next to the ad, rightly saying they are beach ready.

I want an election a bit like the London Marathon, where;

  1. we know somebody who is running and want to support them
  2. we feel involved
  3. our differences are celebrated
  4. the health of our bodies and the planet are central to the thinking

The very best charity marketing from 2014

The very best charity marketing from 2014

With so many amazing campaigns, it’s tough selecting the most innovative charity ads of the year. This is encouraging for the charity sector, even though it’s harder and harder for normal people to navigate through the various causes and lend their support.

Charities (and I guess their marketing agencies), have long understood that creating some kind of fame often increases share of mind and this hopefully leads to more support. Charities are often challenged by gaining the resources to support a new campaign. A strong business case helps, and entering the campaign into charity awards can fast track this. The campaign gets profiled in the brochure, 500 marketing folk hear about the charity and better still, if it wins, then profile pieces will be written. The charity may even become the agency’s charity of the year.

First up: NSPCC: ‘The underwear rule’

The underwear rule is a fantastic insight. It is a campaign devised by the NSPCC that provides a simple way to help parents keep their children safe from abuse. It’s simple for both parents and children to understand. This film perfectly captures the right tone and call to action. Well done to NSPCC.

Second place: CRUK ‘Play to cure’

What a great excuse to play a good game, when at the same time you’re helping Cancer Research UK’s scientists identify the DNA faults that could lead to cancer. Well done CRUK – lateral thinking at its best.

Third: Greenpeace ‘Tell Lego to dump Shell’

It’s good to see Greenpeace in action (and succeeding in stopping the Lego Shell partnership!)  Keep up the great campaigning work. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).

Fourth: Barnardo’s ‘The Nation’s Fridge Door’

Just love Barnardo’s virtual fridge, based on the idea that we all like to share our children’s pictures of robins and pirates, but not all children have parents who care. In every family’s household the fridge door is a symbol of a parent’s pride and support of their children’s achievements. Yet the UK’s most vulnerable children don’t have anyone to give them this support or record their successes.

That’s why Barnardo’s is asking people to turn the support they give their own children into the support for the children who have nobody. The drawings sent in by families were published on their virtual fridge, and a selected few were published in The Guardian and in Barnardo’s stores.

Fifth: Breast Cancer Awareness ‘Fitness Bra Cam’

Breast Cancer Awareness have done so much to change the tone of the issue – brightening it up and making it more accessible. This campaign is a perfect example of this.  In partnership with big companies, who helped them deliver a truly funny (and slightly awkward!) entrapment film!

Some new fame is worth having and these are great examples of charities taking risks but keeping their cause at the heart of the delivery. Well done to all and Happy New Year 2015.

Nature-Green-New-Year-Wallpapers-300x200

Happy Christmas from Green Banana Marketing

GBM Christmas card 2014

5 ideas to help charities and the environment over the summer

things to do in august

 

As charity experts we care about our surroundings and the environment, even when we go on summer holidays! And we always like to learn. Some of us have children, like Giles our managing director, and others not, like myself.

There are many things we can do on holiday, here‘s a list of the things we can do during our holidays, wherever we go to the beach, up a mountain or stay at home:

1. Giles cycles every morning to work, why not leave your car at home and cycle instead? Save 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide for each mile and 240 calories saved (or lost!) per hour. This is a good way to work off all the extra ice cream you eat this summer! As our friends at cycle for summer say you ‘Feel Happier: it is scientifically proven’

2. There are plenty of delicious locally produced fruits and vegetables available this summer. Choose to eat local fruits instead of kiwis and mangos from far-flung exotic countries. The Sustainable Food Trust shows you why it is cheaper, better and how it reveals the type of person you are.

3. If you stay at home for your holidays and decide to have a good house tidy, why not give unwanted clothes, toys or furniture to charities you would like to help. We like clothes for charity who do all the hard work for you, selling your items to raise money for your selected causes and charities.

4. Discover and protect Bugs. As our friends at Buglife describe so well, many things can be done to protect bugs.  Why not build a bee house? You can follow Buglife’s tutorial here and enjoy building a bee house in your garden, it’s lots of fun, and you can observe the bees all year around.

5. If you are healthy and want to feel even healthier, why not donate your blood to NHSBT? Start this Summer and give blood 3 or 4 times a year. My advice: have a big breakfast, give blood and then enjoy a treat, have some crisps or chocolate and a delicious lunch at a restaurant with a friend, who came along with you of course!

Five little things you could do to help charities and the environment. Why not, try at least one thing this Summer, which would help us and our clients too.

There are many ways to give your time, energy and happiness, strength and of course money.  And if you have children, why not start the National Trust’s ‘50 things to do before they’re 11 ¾’, enjoy every moment, as they grow up so fast.

Let us know what you do during your holidays. We would love to see your photos and to improve our knowledge of ways in which we can help charities and the environment.

Whatever you do – we wish you the very best summer 2014!

 

happy holidays

Marketing Energy

Ever since Prometheus gave the gift of fire, energy has transformed the way we live. Burning fires gave us the means to cook our food, heat our homes, transport our goods and provided us with light and entertainment.

image 1

The Fires are about to go out and our other options are challenging; the dash to gas has suddenly got more expensive as our local supplies diminish (and surely mining shale gas will interfere with the planet’s subterranean structures?) and coal emits far too much climate changing carbon dioxide.

And don’t forget, some European countries are using as much as 80% of Russian gas, making them far too dependent on Russia.

Threatened with blackout by 2015, what are our options?

 

Have Energy Days

Energy Days are being arranged throughout Europe in the month of June – part of the solution is to reduce our dependence on electricity. Therefore, by choosing to modify an every day activity, we challenge ourselves to think differently about our energy usage, such as:

  • Going gadget free
  • Going plastic free for a week – that’s indirectly reducing your dependency on oil
  • Using the stairs, the bus, the bike
  • Drinking cold drinks
  • Playing board games
  • Enjoying live music, outdoor theatre, galleries and your local pub

Measure how much electricity you save, how much money you save and how much better you feel.  You should be healthier and wealthier.

Set ambitious UK targets for our tidal power

image 2The US has, surprisingly, some interesting targets, California aims to have no non-renewable energy in use by 2020.  Texas, the once mighty oil state, is set to become the world’s 5th largest supplier of wind energy.  India is to build the world’s largest solar plant to generate 4,000 mw from sunlight near the Sambhar lake in Rajasthan.  Let’s set some ambitious UK targets. Out of the twenty sites identified worldwide suitable for tidal power, eight of these are in the UK and could supply 20% of our energy requirements. Tidal Energy encourages state investment to finance tidal power schemes, until they move into surplus and when are likely to provide a profit for an indefinite period.

 

image 3Innovation needs encouragement
The new Catapult UK technology centres are a great place for innovative companies and individuals to develop their ideas.  We need more of these so that renewable energy can be explored and reach it’s full potential.  Waiting in the wings are solutions such as, cleaner coal stations, microgeneration and  community energy suppliers of CHP, PV & Solar.

 

 

Pedal your own power or Plug on your window – what a great idea.

The socket offers a neat way to harness solar energy and use it as a plug socket. We’ve not seen any as direct as this plug-in.

image 5

So the future is an energy mix, a mix of consumer demand and different types of energy.

Wind, Solar, Sea have always been at our disposal, think of windmills and watermills grinding corn, and new innovative versions, which could replace our dependence on fossil fuels (but without emitting destructive CO2).

Live Smarter. Greener. Fairer.

2012 Natural Highs

It’s been a tough year for the environment, though 2012 could turn out to be a landmark year for the planet. We’ve pulled out six things that could and should inspire future generations to help the planet.
1. Olympic park sustainability

Priority was delivering low-carbon games including the buildings and transport, helped by the great work of Simon Lewis of WWF and Bio-Regional who encouraged the use of a carbon footprinting tool. Recycled materials were used for buildings and the park itself was an oasis of over 120,000 plants and waterways.

2. Eco-friendly cars hit new high
Hybrid cars are starting to be produced by the majority of car manufacturers. The numbers of alternative fuelled vehicles hitting the roads in the UK reached a record high during 2012. According to the latest figures, registrations of hybrid vehicles in the UK rose 9.4% achieving 1.4% market share, a new high.

3. Weather extremes
The wettest, the driest, the coldest … our weather in 2012 showed what changes could be coming and for many the concern around global warming took on more immediacy than ever before.

4. Felix’s big Earth leap
The real eye opener on his 14th October descent was seeing the world from afar, reminding us how vulnerable and tiny we are. Felix’s new world records whizzed by in the blink of an eye – skydiving an estimated 24 miles and reaching a speed of 834 mph, becoming the first person to break the sound barrier without power.

5. Rediscovering species like the Mediterranean Oil Beetle
A supposedly extinct oil beetle, not seen for 100 years, was (re) discovered just before the New Year, which brings the total number of oil beetle species in the UK to five. A fine moment.

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In the words of Sir David Attenborough ‘if the invertebrates were to disappear overnight, the world’s ecosytems would collapse’.

6. Grow your own produce!
With the recession came many changes to Britons’ lifestyles but the rise in homegrown fresh produce is having quite a positive impact. Encouraged by celeb chefs, such as Jamie Oliver and higher supermarket prices, an amazing 150,000 people are on the allotment waiting lists around the country, it looks like a green trend on the up.

These are just some of things that inspired us from last year. We would welcome your comments and input. Green Banana Marketing believes that we all play our part in building a smarter, fairer and greener future in 2013.

How can we help repair the damage caused by the UK summer weather?

What a truly miserable summer we are having. The persistence and sheer volume of rain that has continued to batter the UK throughout our summer has left us all moaning and groaning, in true British style. However, before we choose to grumble about being unable to go to the beach or go for a walk in the park, we should take a bit of time to identify the real victims of the weather. With the accursed Jet Stream set to soon move north, resulting in better weather, we should start looking at how we can help the victims.

Flood Victims: The rains have led to widespread floods all over the UK, causing serious damage to people’s personal and commercial property. The expected bill is set to be around £450 million of flood damage. While the insurance companies have pledged to help the victims, it could be up to a year until they receive these payments. National Flood Forum is a charity set up by flood victims to provide help and information for flood victims, so if you wish to help out the victims of the floods, you can donate to them online.

Copyright: DailyMail

British Wildlife: The torrid conditions have led to an ‘almost apocalyptic summer’ for some UK wildlife, according to the National Trust. The most seriously affected are sea and garden birds. The sea birds have been drowning in their burrows, whilst garden birds are unable to find food to feed their young. In order to help the birds, start setting up bird boxes in your gardens, to help provide safe shelter for them, whilst also putting up bird feeders to provide easy access to food. If you are feeling particularly generous, donating to the RSPB would be beneficial. Another species seriously affected are bees:

Bees: It’s been a bad year for bees. Over the winter, bee populations fell by 16.2% (according to the British Bee-keepers Association), and now the continuous heavy rain and cold temperatures has led to a further decline. Bees form an essential part of our economy, with bee pollination driving the agricultural industry. This most recent decline has led to an expected decrease in apple harvest of 50%, which directly results in massive profit losses for the UK apple market (which is worth £320m annually according to The Sunday Times). In order to help the bee populations to grow, garden owners should start planting bee friendly plants. Also start buying local honey to support your local beekeepers or become a ‘Bee Guardian’.

Business: The weather is having a derogatory effect on multiple UK businesses, below are a few examples:

  • Tourism – why would anyone choose to visit a country that suffers from torrential rain for their summer holidays? For example, Chinese hurdler Liu Xiang has left the London weather to prepare for the Olympics in a much warmer country – Germany.
  • Farming – as mentioned above due to the decline in bee populations.
  • Summer retail sector – ranging from summer clothes, tents to gardening equipment.

So In order to help the farming and retail industry recover, we recommend you start buying locally. Buy UK produced food and clothes, as not only will this help the UK economy, it will also reduce carbon emissions.

So with the weather due to perk up, we wish you all a great summer, but please, take our advice and help out the real victims of the bad weather.

Poles apart – the slippery art of media climate scepticism

Launching at my client the British Council, the report was never going to be a ‘one size fits all’ in this ambitious report looking at climate scepticism in the world’s media (well big chunks of it including Brazil, China, France, India, the UK and the USA).

The economic downturn has been a diversion away from media reporting on climate change. The related issue about the lack of any media reporting on climate change was noted and that when it is reported, Climate scepticism seems to make for a better headline.

The world is a much tougher place for anything to do with the environment or climate change – not just with news coverage, but for funding and advocacy work.  Many organisations have moved CSR and sustainability to be part of product innovation (looking at supply chain and procurement). The focus is now on hard sales. All this is an important backdrop for the British media (and its increasingly negative reporting).

The launch by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism (executive summary can be downloaded here) examined 3,000 articles from two newspapers in each country. It was really the tip of the media iceberg without looking at broadcast media and the direct roles of world leaders such as Obama, Sarkosy and Cameron.

The Anglo Saxon media are the most climate sceptic (The Express had the most at 50%) followed by the US, who are twice as wedded to fossil fuels.

In contract the French media have a deep-rooted trust of scientists and therefore do not question as much (the facts speak for themselves with their 80% reliance on nuclear).

It is also interesting that China’s media tend not to question the science but to focus on what can be done to deal with climate change.  Maybe there’s something to learn from them?

One wonders where newsrooms editors can go with climate change – the discourse seems to have been locked out while Rome burns.

Celebrating WWF’s 50 years of great marketing

As WWF, one of the world’s most recognised and trusted environmental organisations, celebrates its half-century we look back at its marketing successes.

Great marketing and campaigns have helped define WWF’s place in the 21st century from the early 60’s, moving   sustainability from the fringes to the mainstream of public debate. In 1961 when WWF was formed the Daily Mirror published a front page about the dire situation facing endangered species, bringing the charities work to the public’s attention for the first time.

More recently Earth Hour has become an annual event, launching in 2007 in Sydney (2.2 million participants and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change). A year later, it became a global movement with over 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness.

In 2007 British endurance swimmer and WWF ambassador Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim at the North Pole in order to highlight the rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice and to urge UK carbon emissions targets to be improved. It was a serious stunt to highlight a serious issue, as Pugh braved temperatures of minus -1.8ºC the coldest waters ever swum by a human.

In 2009 the Pandamonium exhibition saw the iconic image of the WWF panda transformed in a fresh contemporary twist. The familiar panda collection boxes were retired in 2007 but had a second life as artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and Paul Smith turned them into unique art pieces on the theme of climate change. The pieces were then auctioned at Selfridges.

WWF’s web and social media involve the public in huge variety of issues. The 135,000 unique users each month prove that the Panda’s appeal is enduring.  Simple and accessible, ‘The Panda Made Me Do It’ site offers the chance for individuals and organisations to choose activities from adopting, sponsoring, signing petitions, campaigning and taking part in the Blue Mile and then sharing their experiences via Facebook and Twitter.

With the One Planet Olympics, WWF teamed up with the organisers of London 2012 Olympics to promote global awareness of sustainability. WWF enters its 51st year helping deliver a sustainable 2012 Olympic games – minimising their impact on the planet. Well done to Team Panda for a good first innings.

As WWF, one of the world’s most recognised and trusted environmental organisations, celebrates its half-century we look back at its marketing successes.  Great marketing and campaigns have helped define WWF’s place in the 21st century from the early 60’s, moving sustainability from the fringes to the mainstream of public debate. In 1961 when WWF was formed the Daily Mirror published a front page about the dire situation facing endangered species, bringing the charities work to the public’s attention for the first time.

More recently Earth Hour has become an annual event, launching in 2007 in Sydney (2.2 million participants and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour to take a stand against climate change). A year later, it became a global movement with over 50 million people across 35 countries participating. Landmarks such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, and Rome’s Colosseum, all stood in darkness.

In 2007 British endurance swimmer and WWF ambassador Lewis Pugh became the first person to swim at the North Pole in order to highlight the rapid melting of the Arctic sea ice and to urge UK carbon emissions targets to be improved. It was a serious stunt to highlight a serious issue, as Pugh braved temperatures of minus -1.8ºC the coldest waters ever swum by a human.

In 2009 the Pandamonium exhibition saw the iconic image of the WWF panda transformed in a fresh contemporary twist. The familiar panda collection boxes were retired in 2007 but had a second life as artists and designers including Sir Peter Blake, Tracey Emin and Paul Smith turned them into unique art pieces on the theme of climate change. The pieces were then auctioned at Selfridges.

WWF’s web and social media involve the public in huge variety of issues. The 135,000 unique users each month prove that the Panda’s appeal is enduring.  Simple and accessible, ‘The Panda Made Me Do It’ site offers the chance for individuals and organisations to choose activities from adopting, sponsoring, signing petitions, campaigning and taking part in the Blue Mile and then sharing their experiences via Facebook and Twitter.

With the One Planet Olympics, WWF teamed up with the organisers of London 2012 Olympics to promote global awareness of sustainability. WWF enters its 51st year helping deliver a sustainable 2012 Olympic games – minimising their impact on the planet. Well done to Team Panda for a good first innings.

Iceland cloud signals change

Intriguing global events over the last week – from volcanoes to X factor style leaders’ debates. I’ve been disappointed at the lack of response from environmental groups over the knock-on effects of the volcanic activity. The cloud and its devastating effects on travel and business is a potent symbol of things to come. We all know our oil is running out.  And it might be that the air industry are losing £130 million a day because of the volcano, but the truth is we need to look at the very real impacts our lifestyles are having on the planet. I’m not underestimating the unpleasantness of those 150,000 or so stuck in some far away airport ‘lounge’, but once everybody is safely home there are some lessons to reflect on. First, it’s proof that we can accommodate massive change when we need to. As the ash cloud continues its path, we will be reminded of the ridiculous lengths we go to for certain exotic food items, as they begin to run out. What cost are we prepared to pay for exotic air freighted flowers? Perhaps ‘One Planet’ shopping is worth a go- seasonally available foods and enjoying our country’s produce (also encouraging beautiful countryside at the same time). Anecdotal evidence would suggest that the air quality is currently much better in and around Heathrow and Stanstead. The heavenly silence is also a blessing – you can hear nature in new ways; it just feels better not having planes droning overhead every minute. Some people have actually managed to have a full night’s sleep for the first time in years. But the most important lesson here is who is really in control of this globe. The Planet has reminded us who is in charge with a most unlikely of signals which we need to heed.

What to do to help the environment

Happy New Year. Why not start 2010 by making the following positive changes:
1.    Reduce eating meat. BBC Bloom say giving up meat could save 15 times as much CO2 as switching electricity tariffs! Approximately 17-30 % of global CO2 (growing, producing, importing – rising if you include deforestation) comes from meat production
2.    Design your living and work around the most beneficial natural lighting / heating; which could mean using 75% less energy
3.    Get a green tariff like Good Energy (which sells 100% renewable). Even better, club together with neighbours and micro-generate from the wind and sun, reducing reliance on dirty power
4.    Turn off power when not needed: appliances on stand-by need 20% of their full power
5.    Install meters to measure your water and energy: monitor the ‘bandwidth’ you want to be in and try and reduce how much you use
6.    Buy FSC certified paper and MSC certified fish: both guarantee sourcing from well-managed, sustainable stocks
7.    ‘Buycott’ – being the opposite of boycott – support products which are making a difference environmentally and socially such as Fairtrade products: particularly where tea, coffee, sugar and chocolate are concerned, benefiting workers in the global South
8.    Eat and drink the view. Eating locally produced organic foods not only limits how far your food has travelled but also protects our rolling green countryside. Riverford deliver the best boxes fresh to your door with recipe ideas
9.    Stop washing your clothes so much – do all those shirts need to be washed and ironed every day?  Those towels could be used for one more day? Then save energy and wash them at 30°C rather than 40°C, reducing the electricity by around 40%

Recyclage de luxe may inspire others

Hats off to the new environmental campaign ‘recyclage de luxe’ from Stella Artois. Retro ads for recycled packaging, glass, and aluminum are now up, mainstreaming its efforts behind recycling. Having firmly established itself as ‘reassuringly expensive’ (albeit 2 cases are available for £16), with rather unfortunate associations with being the ‘wife beater’s beer”, it feels right expressing its environmental credentials in this way. Few businesses have the credibility or balls to do this; it’s too complicated and why bother putting your head above the parapet? Stella have told the interconnected story of waste and material use and made it central to their offering, bringing some much needed style to recycling.

The ads are good too with retro French mono tones, the packaging for each carved out of 60s fashioned materials including the can from a cool Citroen DS, film noir posters with a Twiggy style women and the glass forged from an old school tellie screen. I love the effort Stella have made and hope this approach inspires others. It’s a shame that more don’t talk about their environmental work. Although, of course the packaging only tells half the story; ‘beer miles’ are increasingly a critical environmental factor as well, many imported lagers could have traveled up to 24,000 miles before reaching you (with climate change, transporting liquids long distances is environmental madness). The best beers are those that have been produced locally to you. But of course Stella is only brewed across the Channel in Belgium. It will be interesting to see how Stella develop this campaign and whether InBev, who own Stella, take a holistic green look across all their beers. But any company that makes a difference to the planet gets my vote and should be supported by all beer drinkers.

Art of climate change

Artists all over the world have responded to climate change. Whether it’s feelings of dislocation on seeing giant snowballs melting in the City of London, made by Andy Goldsworthy in the Arctic and brought back to slowly melt in the urban City heat or seeing the inspiring and diverse responses of the artists traveling on a ship to see the Arctic melt and the effects of climate change first hand. Endangered Species; bone shapes caught in a last gasp movement by the infamous contemporary dance choreographer, Siobhan Davis and Antony Gormely’s cast in the Arctic snow, are quite different interpretations.  Interestingly Ian McEwen’s only non visual expression most accurately describes the devastating effects of climate change.  He capture the very real sense of the planet’s degradation at our hands. Each artist creates their own unique vision.

The artists demonstrate how difficult it is to have a common vision or language for something as complicated as climate change.  It doesn’t require a deeper knowledge and its so all encompassing from coral bleaching, that has seen an unprecedented increase in the last two decades to the eventual extinction of certain plant and animal species by up to 50% in 50 years. The Arctic sea ice will completely disappear during the summer months by 2080, making future artist trips very different.

Climate change touches us all in different ways and it’s our responsibility to respond in whatever way we can.    Previous civilizations like the Mayans who failed to collectively respond to nature’s challenge, ultimately failed. So it is my belief that we should make every effort to celebrate everyone’s contribution to making a real difference to climate change, their art of climate change.