“Raise your voice not the sea level”

by Erika Harms

5 minutes can make the difference

22 years ago the United Nations declared June 5th World Environment Day (WED), and since 1973 it has been celebrated each year honoring one particular theme. This year’s theme is “Raise your Voice not the Sea Level”.

WED exists to create awareness and while it is a global platform, it is also a time for each of us to reflect on what we do and what we could do for the planet we live in. Most of us certainly would like to take action, and many of you do, and every bit counts: from recycling, to growing tomatoes in your back yard, to taking your bike to work. But by investing less then 5 minutes we can do MORE.

“Raise your Voice not the Sea Level” is a brilliant approach. With people spending more tan 3 hours a day on social networking, imagine the impact it would have to use those platforms for good. In 2013 in the days between June 1 and 10 over 200,000 blogs were created, 26 articles published, and on June 5th WED had 47.6 million impressions on Twitter. Organizations are using these platforms to promote their cause and in the United States studies have demonstrated a 40% increase in donations to good causes promoted through social media.

Does our voice really matter? Here are some great examples of how much it matters.

In 2013 WATERisLIFE was the 10th most influential social marketing campaign using video and social media to raise awareness of issues affecting poverty stricken areas. It drew more than a million viewers and ultimately generated donations for 1 million days worth of water, and they did this by turning the time invested to complain about first world “problems” into raising awareness about 3rd world issues. Another example is #standwithme. Vivienne, a 9 year old, set out to free 500 children from slavery by selling lemonade. Using social media the stand was promoted and in 173 days raised over $100.000, which were donated to “Not for Sale”. Vivienne became the inspiration of the movie by Stillmotion #standwithme.

We all can make a difference on World Environment Day and every day. Raise awareness about the issues you care; educate others on the problems we face and how they can get engaged; raise money for the causes you believe in. In the time it takes to comment about your food, complain about the traffic, or post a selfie, you could help make a difference.