Using Maps to Deliver Your Message

I had the opportunity to attend the Planning and Conservation League's annual Symposium this past weekend. There were many sessions to choose from but one in particular caught my attention. The topic was using maps to persuade and mobilize. The presenters were Larry Orman and Tim Sinnott from GreenInfo Network and Rebecca Moore from Google Earth Outreach.

Larry Orman started off with a great point: we're overloaded with geographic information. We've got access to road maps, mash ups, interactive maps, climate change maps, election maps, and geotagged photos. But Larry pointed out that mapping is about having a point, not just about showing data.

Why are maps a popular choice for displaying cross-sections of information? One reason is that data is not an obstacle. It's available and much of it is free. Also, computers and mapping software are less expensive. And new generations of folks are map-savvy.

GIS (geographic information system) is one mapping tool that marries data and places. GIS can be used to analyze information, such as land use, commercial development, pollution impact, and to define alternative outcomes.

Maps, in general, can be used to tell a story or convey a message. Mapping tools let you unfold data in layers to reveal parts of the story. It is important, Larry emphasized, that you think about mapping as communications. Technology is whizzy and great, but it is still critical that you have a good story. You need to know who your audience is, what your message is, how much time people will have to view your map as well as at what distance and in what context.

Rebecca Moore reinforced that maps can be very effective for telling a story or delivering a message, particularly when you don't have much time to deliver it. She noted that maps can change an abstract concept into something personal for people. When done right, maps can show what is at stake instead of just telling what is at stake. They can inspire action, influence decision-makers, reach the media, and impact public policy.

If you are interested in using maps as part of your outreach strategy, there are a number of tools to try:
-- Google SketchUp
-- Google Earth
-- ArcExplorer
-- Interactive mashups
-- GeoPDFs

While there are many examples, two in particular you may want to view are:
-- Ocean Conservancy's "A Preventable Tragedy"
-- Appalachian Voices' "I love Mountains" campaign

And finally, if you want to read more, try these resources:
-- Google Earth Blog
-- ESRI Conservation Program

Happy Mapping!
Bobbi Russell

January 16, 2008 in Communications Skills, Environment, Media Training, Message Development, Network Advocacy, Organizing, Technology | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Need Green Holiday Gift Ideas?

Get into the spirit of the holidays by shopping green. If you are one of the many people who will be rushing out this season to buy gifts for family and friends, why not use these suggestions from Grist Magazine for where and what to shop?

While you're at it, take a look at their great green gift guide from last year.

If you are simply looking for gifts that have meaning behind them, then check out OneWorld U.S.' holiday Gift Guide. Scroll through the list of organizations to find gifts that help support free trade, development, and other progressive causes. If you have a meaningful gift you'd like to share with others, suggest it on the blog.

-Yvonne Archer

November 27, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Are You Coming to Power Shift 2007?

Are you coming to Power Shift? Were you maybe coming, but not sure how you could help? They need all the help they can get!!! They're expecting over 5,000 young people will attend and need hundreds of day-of volunteers to help pull off the conference.

Can you volunteer 4-10 hours during the weekend and be part of this amazing event? In exchange, you'll get to meet inspiring youth leaders from across the country, see keynote addresses from people like Majora Carter, Van Jones, and Bill McKibben, as well as all of the panels and workshops offered free of charge.

If you can help, please check the time slots and volunteer roles below and email Billy Parish or Ragini Kapadia to let them know what hours you'd be able to commit to. Please pass this opportunity along to others you know who may like to attend and volunteer.

Thursday November 1st
TIME # of Vol Role
4:00 15 Collate Registration Packets

Friday November 2nd
TIME # of Vol Role
8-4:00 30 Registration
3-9:00 5 Speaker Registration
3-10:00 75 Registration
6-7:00 3 Space Set up
10-11:00 10 Wrap up, Pack Up

Saturday November 3rd
TIME # of Vol Role
7-9:00 33 Job Fair Set up
7-9:00 4 Job Fair Registration
7-8:00 5 Registration Set up
7-9:00 6 Space Set up
7-2:30 5 Speaker Registration
7:30-12:00 15 Registration
8-10:15 25 Provide assistance to panelists
8-9:30 30 Traffic Control
1:30-2:45 70 Training for Lobby Day Trainers
2-3:30 33 Take Down Job Fair
2:30 -4:30 25 State Breakout Assistance
5-7:30 9 Space Pick Up

Sunday November 4th
TIME # of Vol Role

7-11:30 5 Registration
7-1:00 8 Speaker Registration
8-9:30 30 Traffic Control
8-10:15 37 Workshop Assistance
9:30-11:15 33 Job Fair Set up/Take Down
3-4:00 70 Legislative Briefing for Lobby Day Trainers
5:30-8:00 70 Lobby Day Trainings

Power Shift 07 is the first ever youth climate conference and is happening November 2-5, at the University of Maryland, College Park.

October 25, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

SCA is looking for entries for their Conservation In Action Multimedia Contest.

The Student Conservation Association is celebrating its 50th year with its Conservation In Action Multimedia Contest.

They are challenging people ages 15-25 to show their action-oriented, practical solutions that involve young people in addressing an environmental challenge.
- Submissions may be a research project or thesis as well as video, PowerPoint, or even a website.
- Prizes include a 2008 Mazda 3I , $37,000, and eight expense-paid trips to SCA's April 2008 Earth Vision Summit in Washington D.C.
The SCA/Mazda Conservation in Action Multimedia Contest is part of a year long series of events to help celebrate SCA's 50th anniversary and honor founder Elizabeth Titus Putnam, whose senior thesis launched SCA in 1957.

The deadline for submissions is December 1st, 2007 so visit and get started on your entry today!

You can send them to:
[email protected]
The Student Conservation Association 603-543-1700
689 River Road PO BOX 550 Charlestown, New Hampshire 03603

October 16, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

National Environmental Education Week is Coming up Soon

For those who may not be aware of it, the National Environmental Education Week is coming up quickly - April 15th to the 22nd.

National Environmental Education Week (EE Week) is the largest organized environmental education event in U.S. history. It increases the educational impact of Earth Day by creating a full week of educational preparation, learning, and activities in K-12 classrooms, nature centers, zoos, museums, and aquariums.

If your group isn't already involved, find out how you can. Several Green Media Toolshed members are doing their part and it is a great way to connect with other groups. Check out the site to find out what events are going on in your area and what groups you could join forces with to become involved. Here is a list of current partners.

April 10, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

A Successful Event at the Capitol

I had the benefit of attending the recent Climate Crisis Action Day on Capitol Hill. This was the first time I'd attended an event like this and was great to see some of our members and other environmental groups in action. I had the chance to meet with the Wilderness Society and the Alaska Wilderness League. All groups involved did a great job of setting up and promoting this event! It was great to see our members working together to make a day like this happen.

It was exciting to be a part of it and see the hundreds of people that attended. There was a wide range of speakers, from Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer to Weasel, a DJ for DC's 94.7 the Globe, the first ever "green" radio station. One speaker, Mollie Passacantando, was especially inspiring. Mollie is a third grader here in DC who began gathered her friends and began protesting global warming during recess after reading about its effect on polar bears. When she didn't think that was enough, she enlisted her father's help and started a blog to promote the issue. This just shows that at any age you can do advocacy work. It can also show groups that you can push actions out to any age group. Everyone has something they are passionate about.

You can view photos of the event on flickr, posted by the Climate Crisis Action Day Team. And read more about the event here.

If you have any feedback about this event, leave a comment!

-Yvonne Archer

March 22, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Rails to Trails Conservancy Trail of the Month

The Rails to Trails Conservancy, a member of Green Media Toolshed, promotes a new trail each month on its website, encouraging its supporters and trail lovers alike to check out that trail. This also tempts site visitors to venture back to the website to see what next month's trail will be.

March's Trail of the Month is Nebraska's Keystone Trail.

Visit the Rails to Trails' website to learn more about the trail and find others in your area to check out!

March 16, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Using Google Earth as an Advocacy Tool

One of Green Media Toolshed's member groups, Appalachian Voices, is using Google Earth to shine the light on the destruction of mountains through mountain top removal. This is a great tool because it can help you reach out to audiences you may not have reached before. We are happy to see one of our members using a tool like this for their advocacy work. It is a great example of how powerful online tools can be and we hope that other progressives take note.

Here is more on the campaign from Mary Anne Hit, Appalachian Voices' Executive Director:

"Beginning this week, millions of people will be able to explore a guided tour of mountaintop removal in Google Earth, the popular free software that gives you a bird’s eye view of the entire globe from your computer. Google has included the National Memorial for the Mountains and iLoveMountains as part of their latest release of featured content in Google Earth, and it can now be seen by all 200 million users of Google Earth worldwide.

Our staff has been working with Google for months to update and enhance the National Memorial for the Mountains, the centerpiece of, incorporating content from our 7 grassroots partner organizations across Appalachia. Be sure to check out Google Earth – you can download it for free at"

For detailed instructions on how to use the National Memorial for the Mountains in Google Earth, go to this link.

You can read Mary Anne's blog post here.

March 15, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

The Student Conservation Association's 50th Anniversary

One of Green Media Toolshed's members, the Student Conservation Association, is turning 50! The anniversary is being launched through a nationwide campaign titled “Celebrating 50 Years of Students Conserving America." SCA has revamped their website, created a new logo and is planning several events over the next year to commemorate this big milestone.

Let them know what you think by commenting on their blog.

It's great to see an environmental group reach such an impressive landmark and we are happy to see one of our members using this time to promote their work and to push their supporters to take action.

March 9, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

15th Annual Environmental Film Festival

The Environmental Film Festival is happening again in Washington, DC from March 15th through the 25th. 115 films dedicated to environmental issues will be showcased during the festival.

Check out information about the film festival and see if there are films you'd like to view here:

To celebrate what would be Rachel Carson's 100th birthday, there is also a pre-festival performance at the Carnegie Institute of Washington this Friday.

Let us know what films you saw or which ones you are most looking forward to viewing by leaving a comment.

March 7, 2007 in Environment | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

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