February is Global Population Speak Out month. This grass roots project went worldwide in 2015 with an extraordinary campaign that reached over 1 billion impressions.
Using a crowd-sourced distribution strategy to increase activism, our client’s international environmental activist network began giving away more than four thousand copies of a dramatic coffee table book, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER). Featuring more than 300 pages of stunning, full-spread photography it was the centerpiece of the 2015 Global Population Speak Out (“Speak Out”).
The goal was to spread the issues and ideas of Speak Out and OVER far and wide, to young and old, to increase awareness on the problems we confront today and to build on solutions that promote human rights — and the rights of all species on Earth. Whether one is working to mitigate the effects of climate change, end child marriage, protect endangered species, or advocating for women’s rights, the Global Population Speak Out helped strengthen activist voices — so all our interconnected concerns were heard.
Speak Out used social media, word-of-mouth and direct action to engage opinion-leaders, scientists and citizens of the world to respond creatively to environmental degradation. Speak Out emphasized elements of environmental protection that are rarely discussed: promoting human rights and human health as strong, indispensable solutions to preserving the rights of other species to exist and the health of the planet.
Speak Out organizers granted the free copies of OVER to people and organizations around the world who became ambassadors of information and inspiration, and promised personalized delivery to policymakers, opinion leaders, activists, allied organizations, and other audiences.
Many of the subjects in OVER are often discussed by environmentalists around the world: materialism, consumption, pollution, fossil fuels, carbon footprints, and more. But OVER and Speak Out purposefully joined two ever-present parts of environmentalism together: the number of the human species and our socio-economic behaviors. The book and the campaign intentionally moved beyond tired arguments that only one side of the equation matters and pictorially depicted the importance of both the number of people and the way people live.
The environmental book became an international media sensation and demand for the OVER books was beyond our wildest expectations – fueled by over 250 mass-media articles, reaching over 1 billion readers in 47 countries.
Examples of media sources that have reported on OVER include Washington Post (online and print), The Guardian (online and print), Buzzfeed.com, Salon.com, News.com (Australia), MSN Germany, Yahoo India, the China Daily News, BBC’s Impact, The Daily Mail Online (UK), Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil), San Francisco Chronicle and Mashable.com.
The Guardian’s photo spread (“Overpopulation, overconsumption – in pictures“) resulted in over 3 million page views, 650,000+ Facebook shares, and over 8,700 Tweets and re-Tweets.
Ashton Kutcher, actor, producer and investor posted Speak Out content on his Facebook page which resulted in over 31,000 likes, 8,000+ shares and 1,300 comments.
While the media attention was robust, Speak Out organizers believed OVER could really effect change with the citizens and organizations speaking out and sharing their passions for saving the planet and creating a better world for all.
In Europe, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability displayed OVER at an annual congress on climate change adaptation and resilience, thereby “allowing congress participants to peruse the magnificent photos during breaks and have the photos spur thoughts and conversations.”
A library consultant at a prominent international health organization reported that “Word is getting around!” The group was sharing OVER in their campus library, which resulted in requests for copies to be taken to country offices in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda.
An activist in Mexico told how he shared the message from OVER: “The book has a permanent place on the counter in our restaurant and many friends/customers/associates have already entered and began to read with awe.”
Down in New Zealand, a conservationist shared that “This will be a great opportunity for us to further promote the impact of increasing human populations on our fragile ecosystems and on the future of the planet’s biodiversity.”
Many of those who requested free copies of OVER were high school teachers and college professors. One teacher from the UK said “It is a really exciting and inspiring resource for future planning of activities within the Department, and in doing so, raising awareness with young people.”
Global Population Speak Out (Speak Out) united world-class scientists, academicians, opinion-leaders – and thousands of lay environmentalists and concerned citizens – to help bring international attention to the crises posed by overdevelopment and human population size and growth. Speak Out was jointly administered by Population Media Center and Population Institute.
To view more of our media coverage for this campaign, please go here. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, event or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates.