Simple mapping tools make it easy for community groups and local stakeholders to successfully engage the public in sustainability awareness initiatives.
Dedicated national and international awareness days are the best mechanism many organisations have to champion their cause. With the help of social media, they can also motivate people to pledge small actions that collectively create meaningful change. It can also be an efficient and effective way for community-led organisations and local policy-makers to promote local sustainability initiatives.
Hitting sustainability goals through design
In September, Oxfam promotes #SecondHandSeptember, a campaign that encourages sustainable shopping. It raises the profile of reuse businesses offering affordable, good-quality second-hand items, from clothing and computers to construction materials, home furnishings and appliances. Enterprises join the campaign to promote their businesses, as well as any additional schemes they operate to tackle poverty at the local level.
Unfortunately, it’s not enough for participating organisations to simply add a hashtag to posts, tweets and print publications. The campaign’s success depends on making it easy for ordinary people to participate.
For campaigns like #SecondHandSeptember, businesses and organisations must incentivize the public to take action. For example, they might offer special discounts, launch a limited edition product to mark the event or use the hashtag to promote a pop-up event.
Commitment must be made simple. So, for communities that want to increase footfall at reuse businesses, we recommend a bespoke reuse map of your community as a starting point.
Who doesn’t love a good map?
Designing a sense of place to promote participation
Dear Green Place: A Glasgow Guide to Reuse employed Green Map techniques to generate a comprehensive record of over 130 reuse businesses and organisations across Glasgow.
The map was developed long before the Oxfam campaign, so nothing of the kind existed at the time. But the potential benefits of mapping and designing a resource bespoke to that community were obvious to me and project partners, Glasgow City Council and Glasgow Community Recycling Forum. The map was a must-have to support the city’s sustainability goals.
First, we collected contact information for a diverse range of reuse opportunities. This quantified the opportunities for locals to shop more sustainably.
Then the design process began.
The title, Dear Green Place, was derived from the Celtic name for the city, Green Hollow or Gleas chu. We chose it to emphasise the city’s forgotten origins as a site characterised by its natural ecology. This contrasts sharply with today’s industrial and post-industrial image of Glasgow. We hoped this would motivate the public to invest themselves in restoring Glasgow as a dear green place.
High street charity shops, many of them national charities and the recycling sector, generally small community-based organisations, don’t typically market themselves as a cohesive sector. They see themselves as having different missions, target customers and approaches to marketing. As these boundaries are invisible to most consumers, we presented them together to make it easy to navigate all of Glasgow’s second-hand and reuse opportunities. So, alongside familiar charity shop brand names, the map featured a range of reuse businesses, like Glasgow Wood Recycling, Starter Pack, Spruce Carpets and the Common Wheel.
Mapping reuse enterprise to support your community
Maps like Dear Green Place can chart local places of all kinds, making it easier for the public to engage in awareness campaigns throughout the year. As we know, there is no shortage of opportunities to link your community to national and international campaigns.
For organisations and governments committed to sustainable growth in their local communities, mapping tools like Green Map make it effortless for local people to patronise local reuse businesses.
Today Tacit Tacit is working on a new Green Mapping project with New York non-profit Green Map System. We’re testing Open Green Map, an innovative platform that gives communities access to systems and tools at low or no cost. To find out more, visit their website.