Matthew Follett, Green House Network
Wednesday, 22 Sep 1999
Picture the following image and ask yourself whether it is something that would attract the attention of the media.
Ambassador Lionel Hurst of Antigua and Barbuda presents an award to a climate change organization for its work to combat global warming. As Ambassador Hurst is giving a short speech, a six-foot-tall papier-mâché Earth starts smoking behind him (thanks to smoke bombs inside it). As the smoke gets thicker, 10 children in fire helmets and green shirts begin throwing buckets of water on the Earth.
The Green House Network will be acting this scene out on Saturday in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. We hope that children dousing a smoking Earth with water will be a visual image that television stations will want to pick up.
An environmental reporter at a local TV station once told me that a bland event will not attract any attention. She said it needs to be different, exciting to the eye, and quick. We are planning on this taking no more than 10 minutes so camera people won’t be sitting around bored.
In addition, we are having the ambassador give a speech at Lewis & Clark College Friday night, to be advertised through the college’s public relations department. Friday speeches are a difficult proposition because most people just want to kick back and relax by the end of the week. What will happen if only 10 people show up at the auditorium, which seats over 250? Talk about a negative impression on the ambassador.
Hopefully, these two events, plus the benefit concert and rally we’ll be holding on Saturday, will help get global warming some of the attention it needs. In the future, for an event as important as an ambassador’s visit, we will do the media leg work and not depend on another group (see yesterday’s entry). After all, if it’s not in the media, it’s almost as though it didn’t happen.