Exactly one week ago was World Environment Day (June 5). This year the WED was hosted by Mexico.
And quite frankly, among the general public the WED has not generated much ‘noise’ and traction, and thus probably failed to significantly meet its main goal: enhancing awareness and encouraging people to take action. (Except perhaps in France where the movie Home made quite a substantial impact, supposedly on the outcome of the EU elections in France!)
Indeed WED has quite a low profile, especially compared to WWF’s Earth Hour (March 28th, 2009), which has succeeded in actively engaging more than 1 billion people in1000 cities all over the world as people turned off their lights.
However, I still see some very encouraging stuff with this year’s WED as the UNEP has engaged for the very first time in social media with a pretty cool Twitter campaign. For every follower @UNEPandYou got by midnight on June 5 – World Environment Day – the UNEP will plant a tree, with a cap of 100,000 trees. In the end, they got about 10, 000 followers, including me.
It is a very positive sign:
- The Twitter campaign aimed at raising awareness of the WED initiative by not only getting followers, but also rewarding them with an actionable result = planting trees.
- The UN embraces social media and sees as a way to advance their agenda and engage citizens. It’s a very encouraging PR move, especially for such a low profile (again) UN programme, which is not famous for being well-funded, powerful and influential.
- Such campaign builds on the long term, and offers promising perspectives with the United Nations climate change talks in Copenhagen this December. Social media can powerfully be leveraged voice, channel the concerns of the world citizens on various social platforms so that they can altogether put pressure on national delegates to adopt a new Kyoto protocol and come up with actionable results if the concerns of the world citizens can be voiced, channeled online through various platforms.
However, to get there, @UNEPandYou will have to sustain engagement on Twitter and other platforms, have a long term social media strategy and build its profile. Because in the end, what is the point of having a WED if the rest of the year no ones cares…
To be followed…