Plan a 7 Billion and Counting event
To confront unsustainable human population head-on, the Center has mounted a national campaign to inspire people to take action. In February 2010 we launched our Endangered Species Condoms Project, and since then have distributed nearly half a million condoms — you can sign up to be a local distributor here.
The best action you can take today is to read through the following documents and strategize new ways to jump-start conversations about human population in your community. Get in touch with us and we can offer support as you take action.
The 7 billionth baby was born on October 31, 2011. We’re encouraging our supporters to host events that will bring people together in a way that allows you to easily and meaningfully engage with them about unsustainable human population. We’ve also included, below, some helpful tips and a sample press release for getting the media interested in your efforts.
If you haven't already signed up to be a condom distributor, we suggest doing so to add a unique feature to your event.
Most importantly, your event doesn’t need to be a march on Washington (unless you want it to be, in which case you may want to get in touch with us). The more you can find ways to host an event that you and your friends would go to, the more likely it will be a success. If you already have a regular event, consider how you might incorporate human population into the gathering. With hundreds of events and actions happening all over the country, each one adds something unique to our broad efforts.
These ideas are meant to inspire your creativity. Either tailor them to your own community or let them bring on new ideas.
Book club: Suggest reading one of the books or papers on our Resource List for your next book-club pick.
Host a screening of Mother: Contact your local, independent movie theater and ask if it will host a one-time screening of Mother. Or host a screening at your house and invite your friends and neighbors. This film brings to light population growth, which fuels our most pressing environmental, humanitarian and social crises, as a function of power paradigms of dominance and subjugation. The website has information about downloading, purchasing and hosting public screenings.
Community radio program: Go to your local community radio station and find a show that might be interested in hosting an episode about unsustainable human population. Work with the producers of the show to find people in your community who might be working on related problems or subjects — environmental groups, green or organic agriculture enthusiasts, antipoverty or reproductive-rights advocates, and others working on sustainability issues, for example.
Table at your favorite band’s show or a festival: Find out about coming festivals or contact a band with an upcoming show in your area. Ask if you can set up a table with information about human population and distribute free condoms. Sometimes this will even lead to a free entry.
Morning or afternoon rush-hour sign waving: This easy-to-organize effort can make for an effective and surprisingly memorable interruption of commuters’ monotonous car trips. Create a few catchy slogans and make signs with big lettering. Recruit a couple of friends (the beauty of this is that you don’t need too many for people to take notice). Pick an intersection with a stoplight or a stop sign, so people have a moment to read your sign. Hold your signs up as people pass by.
Facebook profile pic and status: Use our “7B” logo as your profile picture on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site you use. Check out the 7 Billion and Counting Facebook page for other ideas of articles and info to share or make as your status.
Population in the schools: Contact science and social studies teachers you know in your community and find out whether they are integrating population issues into their class discussions. Lead them to the Center’s website as a resource for preparing curriculum.
Write an article for your neighborhood news: A lot of local, neighborhood newspapers are excited to have people submit an article. Use the resources on our website to put together a short (250-500 word) article about the world population climbing to 7 billion and the connection it may have to your area; then submit it to your neighborhood news or a local blog.
Chronology for events and press
A 10-step guide for planning your 7 Billion and Counting population event
1. Decide what your event is going to be: a table at a music concert, a talk at your local bookstore, student union, church, bicycle ride, hike, a contest for best impromptu song about unsustainable human population etc. Even a smaller event that’s not open to the public can give your press release about human population a buzzworthy quality.
2. Set a time and place for your event. Make reservations or confirm that it will be available to you.
3. Find a couple of volunteers who are willing to help with the event. Even having one or two people agree to help you get the word out can go a long way. Be clear about what tasks you are asking people to take on.
4. Pull together materials, including Endangered Species Condoms, frequently asked questions about human population, a fact sheet with talking points, and information on threatened and endangered species where you live.
5. Identify media outlets in your area: newspapers, television, radio and blogs. Often the contacts are listed on their websites.
6. Draft a press release. Four to seven days before your event, send your press release to media outlets. A day or two before your event, follow up with a few media outlets (especially TV and newspaper) to see if they’ll be covering it.
7. At the same time, send an email to everyone you know about the event; tell them to pass it along. Also post it on your Facebook page, Tweet it, use other social media to get the word out. Post it on our Facebook page too. Consider making posters or handbills if you or your friends think that you’ll have a chance to post them at your grocery store, coffee shop or school or hand them out at another event.
8. On the day of your event, show up early, excited and well prepared. Have a friend take photos or shoot a video and post it on Facebook, as well as email them to us.
9. The day after your event, check your news sources for coverage. Send a follow-up email to people who attended, linking to any news coverage you find and encouraging them to write a letter-to-the-editor of your local newspaper about unsustainable human population and endangered species in your area. “Letters” is one of the most frequently read sections of a print newspaper.
10. Pat yourself on the back. Putting on events is an excellent way to connect people to information and inspire them to make active changes.