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Best practice - Environment & biodiversity


World Cleanup 2012

In 2012, from the 24th of March until the 25th of September, a series of cleanups swept over the globe, touching all continents and bringing together millions of people who cleaned up their homes. Based on social networks and an active internet platform, this campaign aimed at creating real global change by getting rid of waste wherever it was. The website taught everything from organising a cleanup (from organisation to HR management and reporting) to providing videos and feedback to encouraging changes in people’s daily behaviour. There were clean up groups of between a few thousand and up to 300 000 members, operating in 94 countries around the world.

More information: Website

UNEP Billion tree campaign

Initiated in 2006 by UNEP, and inspired by Professor Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and founder of Kenya’s Green Belt Movement, this campaign aims to plant at least one billion trees worldwide each year. Under this campaign, people, communities, organisations, business and industry, civil society, and governments are being encouraged to plant trees and to enter their tree planting pledges on this web site. As of 2011, 12,585,293,312 trees were planted and registered.

More information: Website

The Italian environmental online TV Channel

Developed by the Italian environmental agency, ISPRA TV is an online television with four channels on environmental issues. It has the following sections: Research, Habitat, Society, Documentaries, Youth and Live events. Relying on a short-clip production format, it conveys scientific and technical content through concise and clear language, making its information easily understood by all. Videos feature interviews and documentaries by actors and stakeholders in the environmental debate.

More information: Website
Contact: Ispra TV

The Meatrix

When The Meatrix launched in November 2003, the viral film broke new ground in online grassroots advocacy by creating a unique vehicle to educate, entertain and motivate people to create change. The Meatrix movies, now a series, have been translated into more than 30 languages and are one of the most successful online advocacy campaigns ever – with well over 15 million viewers worldwide. The issues treated include Biodiversity, Climate Change, Animal Welfare, the Environment, and Local Consumption.
The Meatrix series has received worldwide critical acclaim and has been honored with more than a dozen major film and Web awards, including the prestigious Webby Award, the Annecy International Animated Film Festival Award, the South by Southwest Interactive Award, and the Environmental Media Association’s Best Documentary Short Film award. Since its launch, The Meatrix has been shown at festivals, conferences, meetings, events, and local gatherings. Thousands of DVDs also have been distributed to teachers, students, parents, and individuals worldwide.

More information: Website
Contact: The Meatrix

Food & Water Europe

In addition to protecting public access to clean, safe and affordable food and water, Food & Water Europe monitors the environmental practices of food and water corporations in Europe. Food & Water Europe operates under the larger organisation of Food & Water Watch to form a grassroots network of researchers, communication professionals and campaign organisers across the globe. The organisation serves as a public resource for developing campaigns and working with decision-makers and media personnel. Food & Water Europe also provides the public with fact sheets and reports covering issues such as fracking , agriculture, oceans, fisheries and consumer rights. (July 2012)

More information: Website

WASH Media Awards

The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) and the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) host the annual WASH Media Awards. The competition is open to journalists and broadcasters, who are asked to submit investigative stories and reports on water supply, sanitation and hygiene issues. By building support for coverage of WASH issues in local, national and international media, the WSSCC hopes to positively influence decision-makers, businesses, public bodies, families and individuals. (July 2012)

More information: Website

The Ramsar Wetland Conservation Awards

Established in 1996 by Resolution VI.18 of the 6th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Wetlands, the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award is given to institutions with a proven record of achievements in one of the three areas: management, wetland science and education. The award, which has so far been given four times, is presented at the meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties. (July 2012)

More information: Website

World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)

Spearheaded by UNESCO, the UN WWAP monitors trends and issues, provides recommendations and develops case studies on the state, use and management work of the world's freshwater resources. The programme's triennial report reviews the current state and ongoing progress in water use and conservation practices. WWAP also monitors critical emerging issues around freshwater resources and uses this data to develop case studies and policymaking tools for water managers and decision-makers. (July 2012)

More information: Website

2012 Power of Water Campaign

Organised by the Clean Water Network, the Power of Water campaign is designed to remind and encourage local, state and national legislators in the U.S. to ensure clean and adequate waterways for the public and environment. The campaign will be hosting a number of events in 2012 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Clean Water Act. Outreach materials, radio and television announcements, and digital content on the history and achievements of the Clean Water Act will also be distributed to decision-makers and the general public. (July 2012)

More information: Website
Contact: Nathalie Roy, Clean Water Network

Earth Day Network’s A Billion Acts of Green® Campaign

As the largest environmental service campaign in the world, this campaign rewards individual, organisational and governmental initiatives that help reduce carbon emissions and support sustainability. Online visitors can register online with A Billion Acts of Green and participate in community events including environmental meetings, tree plantings and renewable energy retrofits for buildings. The online tool allows individuals to register their daily actions in helping the environment such as conserving water and biking rather than driving to work. The campaign surpassed its initial goal of one billion registered actions in support of the June 2012 Rio+20 United Nations conference. (July 2012)

More information: Website
Contact: Bryan Buchanan, Earth Day Network

UN Water Activity Information System (UNW-AIS+)

Launched in November 2011, the UNW-AIS+ is an interactive online tool that stores, updates and shares electronic and multimedia content on existing water-related projects. Developed by the UN-Water Decade Programme on Capacity Development (UNW-DPC), the tool is being expanded to include additional water-related fields including transboundary water, water quality and climate change. Users can take advantage of the site’s search tool for projects, an eLearning centre for learning materials and services, and an interactive forum for online discussion on UN-Water activities. (July 2012)

More information: Website
Contact: UNW-AIS+

OECD Environmental Data and Indicators

The 'Environmental Data and Indicators' section on the OECD website is a public online resource on various data and statistics on the environment. Web visitors can find tools including environmental indicators from the OECD Factbook, a CO2 emissions table, working papers and reports. Other available resources include the OECD Environmental Data Compendium, which presents data on the relationship between pollution and natural resources in energy, transport, agriculture and other industries. Governments, companies and laboratories can also find guidelines for testing chemicals used in industrial production. (July 2012)

More information: Website

GreenUp! (UNEP)

GreenUp! is a citizen's green economy initiative designed to better educate the European community on the effects of climate change and carbon emissions. The GreenUp! platform provides resources that help consumers and businesses become energy efficient in sectors such as agriculture, fisheries, buildings, transport and forestry. In preparation for the UN Convention on Sustainable Development Rio+20 in June 2012, GreenUp! served as a platform for European groups and stakeholders to share best practice on sustainability issues. (July 2012)

More information: Website

Environmental Dictionary EnDic

Supported by the Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE), the Environmental Dictionary EnDic contains approximately 90,000 environmental terms in nine different languages: Finnish, Estonian, English, French, German, Swedish, Latvian, Lithuanian and Russian. It also provides 2,000 definitions for English, Estonian and Finnish terms related to environmental engineering, water supply, meteorology, waste management and environmental policy in the EU. (July 2012)

More information: Website

National Biodiversity Project

This project was the first successful cooperation between the Federal Ministry and the Flemish authority on such a scale in Belgium. It consisted of TV and radio programmes on biodiversity throughout Belgium. Reports were broadcasted on different types of media, targeting various audiences (families, higher educated people, youth, and children). The main documentary was sent out to schools for free, thanks to a partnership with the documentary owners. A talk show was also produced for the French-speaking TV. One of the radio projects was even broadcasted from a forest cabin, to give more impact to the message. (November 2011)

Contact: Mieke Van de Velde, (FPS Health, Food Chain Safety and the Environment); Diana Leuci, (Flemish Government)

Water Wiki

Finland hosts a great number of lakes, greatly valued by the Finns. The Finnish Environment Institute (SYKE) thus set up a collaborative web service – the Lakewiki, to raise awareness and disseminate information about Finnish lakes. All citizens can provide information on lakes they know and use. To promote the wiki, a lake contest was organised: one lake was elected for each region as a flagship lake. Press releases, a promotion card and a voting card, a weekly television programme and newsletters encouraged Finnish people to vote for their favourite lake. This tool was developed by internal staff with open source software, thus ensuring a small budget. (November 2011)

More information: Website
Contact: Matti Lindholm, Finnish Environment Institute

Junior City Farmer 2011

This year, the annual City Farming campaign focuses on young gardeners: the initiative aims to foster urban agriculture among children. A starting pack including small tomato plants is given to them for free, in order to “make cities green, not grey” and to let children experience what it is like to grow one’s own vegetables. An action week will take place at the Junior City Farmer Campus, where young gardeners display their works. It will be hosted by a teacher from the famous Schönbrunn horticulture school and a garden educationalist. (September 2011)

More information: Website

Bring Back Blue, USA

This campaign was launched by Maricopa County to raise awareness on air pollution in Arizona. In this campaign, dust masks were employed to emphasise the seriousness of particulate pollution. A website and posters were used to give tips and information on how to reduce particulate pollution and "bring back blue skies" in the area. A dust mask was also wrapped around most county buildings downtown. The campaign was successful in moving air quality from fourth to first on the list of environmental concerns among the local residents. (May 2011)

More information: Website

Young Reporters for the Environment

The Young Reporters for the Environment (YRE) is a network of teachers and pupils present in 17 countries. The participants launch investigation projects, which always aim to communicate relevant environmental information to their local community via their choice of media. There are 6 main investigation topics: agriculture, cities, coastline, energy, waste, and water. At the international level, students are able to communicate and exchange with their counterparts from different countries. The YRE teams are helped in their work by 17 national coordinators and by the YRE website, which proposes a large number of activities, tools, and services. In 2008, more than 500 investigation groups carried out YRE activities. (May 2011)

More information: Website
Contact: Boris Susmak

Discover Birds at School, RSPB, UK

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) provides web pages and a dedicated booklet to help staff to use school grounds to teach children about nature and to prepare the school grounds to welcome wildlife. Numerous games and activities are provided, such as making an insect hotel, a wildlife-friendly garden, or a bird cake. The RSPB also partnered with the BBC for the BBC Breathing Spaces Schools, which aimed to encourage schools to welcome nature in their grounds, involving more than 11,000 schools throughout the UK. (May 2011)

More information: Website, Website
Contact: RSPB

National postcard initiative on biodiversity, Sweden

On June 5 (the International Day of the Environment), the Ministry of the Environment launched a campaign to raise awareness on local biodiversity and endangered species. The Minister sent postcards to local municipalities, featuring the threatened species in each particular region. The postcard came with an appeal to take action in order to protect these species. Local media and NGOs were alerted in order to put pressure on politicians through setting up stands during events, posters, etc. Schools and preschools were also targeted by the dissemination of a calendar which gives practical exercises and tips on biodiversity. The aim was to stress that it was crucial to work on local conservation. The idea of this campaign was inspired by similar initiatives that had taken place in Norway and Denmark. (March 2011)

More information:Description

Living Diversity, Austria

This campaign was the biggest nature conservation campaign ever launched in Austria. The Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management and three Austrian NGOs launched a comprehensive set of actions, targeting all Austrians, in order to increase awareness on biodiversity. The campaign uses a positive tone, aiming to stop the loss of biodiversity, actively involve the public in its preservation, combine all forces for biodiversity, and familiarise everyone with the issue. Many actions were organised: 21 threatened species were associated with 21 celebrities respectively who act as ambassadors for their species. A beehive was installed on the roof of the Vienna Opera House, and many activities were set up during biodiversity week, a competition for municipalities was launched to promote “biodiversity champions”, etc.  (March 2011)

More information: Website

Naturathlon : Nature without Borders, Germany

This pan-European campaign – organised by the Federal Ministry for the Environment and the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation – was built around the Green Belt area, a 1,200 km natural zone which represents the territory of the former Iron Curtain. After eight months of preparation, a two-week event combined nature, sports, and history. It took the form of sports and leisure activities (amongst which was a long cycling trip along the Green Belt), discovery tours, and measures aimed at nature conservation. Participants were split into two groups, the “Giants” (who actually cycled along the Belt) and the “Discoverers” (who took part in local physical activities). Points of interest were chosen according to their historical or symbolic meaning. The objective was to reconnect and reconcile nature conservation with sports and leisure, which are often considered to be conflicting activities. The project incorporated national conservation parks from six different countries. (March 2011)

More information: Website

Be Plant Wise, United Kingdom

This campaign aims at raising awareness amongst gardeners in order to reduce invasive aquatic species. These species are widespread in the UK, and they are quite difficult and costly to control. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs therefore decided to launch a creative and engaging campaign, using attractive pictures and simple mottoes: “be plant wise”, “know what you grow”, “compost with care,” and “stop the spread”. Traditional media were used (press relations and video), as well as digital media (mainly via a website). A partnership with retailers was initiated. (March 2011)

More information: Website

EEA Signals 2010 Report

Signals is published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) at the start of each year and provides snapshot stories on issues of interest both to the environmental policy debate and to the wider public. Its target audience is broad, ranging from students to scientists, policy-makers to farmers and SMEs. Signals 2010 has the umbrella theme of Climate Change and Biodiversity and tells six stories about people and the environment they live in.  These ‘eyewitnesses’ invite you on a journey to familiar and far flung places, looking again at the foundations of life on earth — water, soil, air — as you go. A Signals web page has been launched to coincide with the publication of Signals 2010. The report is published in all 26 EEA languages. (March 2010)

More information: Website, Report 2009, Report 2010
Contact: Brendan Killeen

Fête de la Nature, France
This event is organised in France every year by UICN France (Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature) and “Terre Sauvage” magazine, in order to enable French people to renew their connections with their natural environment and to increase their awareness on biodiversity issues. Numerous events are organised in natural parks and sites (private or public), such as guided walks on species, or focusing on the work of people who manage and protect nature. The 2008 and 2009 events were really successful: more than 1,500 events were organised, hosting 300,000 participants. The 2010 annual event will take place from May 19th to 23rd. (February 2010)
Read more: Website in French

Green Gym, UK
These local clubs were set up in 1998 and are now numerous in the UK. The BTCV (British Trust for Conservation Volunteers), backed by DEFRA (UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), decided to bring people together to get fit and learn about the environment. Outdoor activities are organised and enable participants to do physical activity, to protect the environment and to meet new friends. The schedule includes: warming up, trying new environmental jobs and tools, learning about environmental conservation, and of course, tea break! (February 2010)
More information: Website

Change and Kids4Change, Ireland
Ask about Ireland, a website, gathers a range of unusual and interesting resources from libraries and museums across the country. The Change section offers a panoply of resources and learning tools about climate change and the environment. Kids 4 Change is a learning section for children (divided into specific parts for primary and secondary students) with characters with which the children can identify, facilitating learning and play activities around environmental issues. (February 2010)
More information: Website, Website

Plant for the Planet: Billion Tree Campaign
UNEP has a target of having 1 billion trees planted around the world. People willing to plant one or several trees can make an online pledge. The website offers technical advice on tree-planting and a campaign album. It also promotes tree-planting initiatives. (February 2010)
More information: Website

Fairy-tale writing competition and biodiversity weekend, Hungary
For the International Day for Biological Diversity (22 May), the Ministry of Environment and Water organized a 3-day biodiversity weekend in 2009. The International Biodiversity Day was celebrated in the form of a Parliamentary Open Day focusing on agro-biodiversity, namely the conservation of local varieties and diversity of national crop as well as livestock genetic resources. All relevant stakeholders participated in the event, including high-level representatives from the state administration as well as Members of Parliament, scientific and research institutions and NGOs. The main event of the biodiversity weekend was the award ceremony of the nation-wide fairy-tale writing competition entitled ‘Are there still any sky-high bean stalks at your village’? Children and adults were invited to write a tale or a short story related to crop, vegetable or fruit varieties. The best stories were selected for a two-volume fairy-tale book officially launched that day. (July 2009)
More information: Description, Website

Nature year 2009, Sweden
2009 is the centennial year of the first national parks and the first nature protection law in Sweden and Europe. The aim of the project is therefore to create interest in Nature Year, nature conservation and to coordinate the different activities. All major stakeholders in nature conservation have been gathered under one umbrella organisation with a common website and symbol. “Nature year 2009” wants to increase public awareness of the 25 participating organisations, show the broad span of actors involved and create interest in the activities taking place all around the country. The purpose is to give a retrospective view of nature conservation and also to look at it in the context of future challenges, thus strengthening the position of nature conservation. (July 2009)
More information: Description, Website

Muck In4Life campaign, United Kingdom
Muck In4Life is a campaign which aims to enhance biodiversity by increasing the number and diversity of citizens involved in conservation volunteering. The campaign also increases the public’s awareness of the physical and mental health benefits from being active outdoors, whether in urban green spaces or the natural environment. Through the campaign, families and community based groups were encouraged to undertake a range of outdoor volunteering activities to protect precious wildlife (from monitoring species to scrub and path clearing and creating habitats). Muck In4Life conservation volunteering opportunities are the perfect way to entertain children with free, fun activities during the school summer holidays. Communication activities will be particularly focused during the summer months of 2009 to take advantage of this. The campaign runs throughout England with particular focus on five regions with a high index of the campaign target audience. (July 2009)
More information: Description, Website

Information about the Kids’ Page and the Blue Danube Book Interactive CD ROM – an online water educational tool for children, Romania
The Blue Danube Book Interactive CD ROM is a permanent education tool, available on the Kids’ Page of the website of the Romanian Ministry of Environment. This interactive tool is a part of a pilot project called "The Blue Danube Book", which was implemented in 22 schools along the Romanian Danube. The project has the objective to help children understand the river basin and its entire diversity and to feel integrated in its ecosystem. (July 2009)
More information: Website

Don Cato, Germany
The Don Catos “Green Stories” competition took place between 1 October 2008 and 5 February 2009, addressing to 3-12 years old children. The main objectives were to raise awareness on environmental and nature conservation issues. In “Green Stories” (“Grüne Geschichten”), the DON CATO story formed the starting point for the competition. The “Green Stories” competition is developed around a story where a lynx called Don Cato brings aliens to Earth and tries to demonstrate to them the importance of biodiversity. The lynx engages children in his efforts, whose stories and drawings help to illustrate the issue. To support the initiative, brochures, posters and internet were used, as well as advertising via print media and radio. (July 2009)
More information: Description, Website

“Eco Agents”, Become an undercover agent and defend the environment! EEA
Children from 9 to 14 can now learn about ways to protect the environment, while chasing eco-villains on the European Environment Agency's “Eco Agents” website, available in 24 languages.
In each story, five heroes from different countries are assigned to a special mission, such as infiltrating a 'wind farm' in the Netherlands, which is a cover-up for a natural gas extraction facility. Each mission includes games where children earn points towards a general score. Each storyline has a corresponding quiz. Correct answers provide feedback and further information on that particular issue, whereas incorrect answers first provide a hint and then invite the player to try again. The quizzes can also be downloaded and used in classrooms. (February 2009)
More information: Website

Naturdetektive – a nature observation project, Germany
Over a decade, "Naturdetektive" has developed into a youth/public multimedia nature observation project and supports the awareness raising on the UN Convention on Biological Diversity in Germany. It links web-based information, e-Learning tools and reporting facilities with practical field work. (November 2008)
Read more: Description, website, brochure in German

Let's look around in our neighbourhood!, Hungary
This nationwide initiative aiming to raise public awareness about the importance of traditional local fruit, crop and vegetables. In the  competition entitled 'Let's look around in our neighbourhood!' students have been asked to note down what kind of traditional crop, fruit and vegetable varieties can still be found in the kitchen gardens of their own or their grandparents’ village/town. The students interviewed the owners and growers of the traditional and local varieties, they took photos of the plant specimens, and they collected and tasted the fruits. Prizes were presented to the winners at an award ceremony and a whole-day guided tour was organized for the 'gold-medal' teams at the Balaton-Upland National Park. (November 2008)
Read more: Description

CITES - "Wildlife Inspector in Action"
The CITES Management Authority initiated a campaign with WWF Hungary and Oracle Hungary in order to raise awareness among children in schools. The children were invited for a country-wide tender called ’Wildlife Inspector in Action’ where their task was to search for endangered, CITES-listed species in their surroundings (pet shops, zoos etc.), and afterwards create their own web pages to display their results. (November 2008)

Adopt a River – a national programme on the importance of rivers, Poland
“Adopt a River” is a national programme for ecological education with particular focus on rivers and their importance. It is based on local community activities - with particular focus on children and youth - and cooperation with local governments, public administration, NGOs and private companies. The programme is aimed at all types of educational institutions as well as institutions and organisations interested in water management and conservation. In 2006, several thousand people took part in the programme. (November 2008)
Read more: Description
Contact: Klub Gaja, ecological and cultural NGO

Dialogue for nature conservation, Sweden
Sooner or later, nature conservation agencies in all countries run into problems when trying to fulfill their task to conserve nature and get public acceptance for their work. Therefore, government officers on all levels need to have good communications skills in order to have good relations and deal with eventual conflicts, but environmental communication is not a subject in those courses. Realising this, the Swedish EPA has created a skills development programme called Dialogue for nature conservation which includes advanced courses in communication and conflict management. (November 2008)

Risk Game  - Internet game about chemicals and risk-taking
In this internet game, the player is to build a house of cards, where each card represents a chemical topic: an organism infected by chemicals, an environment polluted by chemicals, a chemical substance or a product or service causing chemical emissions. The aim is to encourage public debate and awareness about chemical risks. (May 2006)

Kid's Corner  - Website for Romanian children about the environment
In Romania, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has created a special section for children on its website. The idea is to get children involved by educating them, knowing that children are efficient multipliers of environmental messages. There is, for instance, an encyclopaedia on animal life in the Black Sea and a variety of brochures. (May 2006)

Using tips and poems to promote environmental quality objectives, Sweden
This campaign links to the 16 Environmental Quality Objectives adopted by  the Swedish Parliament in 1999. It aimed to promote awareness among the general public as to how their individual actions can contribute to achieving these objectives. The campaign consisted of inspirational "tips-and-poems" web pages. (May 2006)

Polish website educating children about the environment
This interactive website in Polish aims to encourage environment-friendly behaviour among children. A talking rabbit acts as the children's guide through the site which includes interactive games, puzzles, quizzes, e-cards, tips on environmental protection as well as publications for children and teachers. (May 2006)


last update: 03/12/2012