This document outlines the development of a three year young people's project to tackle the litter problem. Conventional anti-litter methods are not working so creative and innovative ways of raising awareness and encouraging collective responsibility are necessary.
Inspired by Griff Rhys Jones who adopted the moniker Griff the Garbage, to help Rob the Rubbish clear Snowdon of its trash, Ann Palmer, whose pen name is Gaia Dance, chose her own moniker – Gaia the Garbage. Ann found an abandoned toy telephone on the beach. Her husband Peter took a picture of her with the telephone, and they captioned it Hotline to kids. This seeded the idea of a Children's Humorously Captioned Photography Competition, which is now, in 2017, in its third year.
Alongside being a writer and an eco-lyricist, Ann is a Creative Writing teacher. The third year of the Children's Humorously Captioned Photography Competition, entitled Litter-Goes-Literary, brings together two main projects; tackling the litter problem and composing original eco-lyrics to well-known tunes.
Who we are:
Ecologisers are a non-profit organisation based in the Outer Hebrides. Ecologisers are actively seeking partners for their 2017 international online Young People's Humorously Captioned Photography Competition 2017 entitled Litter-Goes-Literary. 2017 marks the third year of this special children's online photography competition that is part of Ecologisers' anti-litter campaign.
Achievements to date:
1 Two successful children's competitions run in 2015 and 2016, with entries from schools and individuals.
2 Both competitions strongly supported by Stornoway businesses, who donated 17 prizes in 2015 and 20 prizes in 2016.
3 Judging of 2016 competition by one partner, Keep Scotland Beautiful.
4 Funding received for the production of a 2018 Kind Kids Calendar, consisting of the best twelve of the winning entries from the combined 2015 and 2016 competitions. Donated by an organisation promoting and teaching sustainable business practice who will assist in the calendar's U.K. marketing and distribution. (A 2019 Kind Kids Calendar is planned as an outcome and extension of Litter Goes Literary.)
5 A 3,000 article 'Undercover Litter Picker' about this project in the Canadian magazine Green Teacher in Spring 2016. URL: http://greenteacher.com/green-teacher-109-spring-2016/ Password 109sped A possibility of this article's reprint shortly in Eingana, an Australian environmental educational magazine.
6 Extensive local publicity in magazines and newspapers; articles in three global educational magazines. A special mention in the Orwell Prize 2016 for exposing Britain's social evils.
7 Coverage, information and updates, through an active local newspaper website.
Rationale for the overall project:
There are four major points.
1 It is generally acknowledged by those working in this field that current anti-litter methods are not working. This means creative and innovative ways are needed to promote litter-picking as a wanna-do rather than a yuk.
2 Litter, globally, is regarded as the pariah of the environmental educational movement. No-one wants to know. The litter-problem globally is growing and children are destined to inherit this attitudinal apathy unless it is tackled robustly. Currently one garbage patch in the Southern Ocean is 18 times the size of Scotland, and there are several others of similar size.
3 Against this background, Ecologisers decided to introduce humour as the leader in their Children's Photography Competition. Ecologisers, in costume, as jesters, went into Hebridean schools in 2016 to talk about litter in local and global contexts.
4 Entry is free. The remit for all entries is: A photograph of a child and/or pet with a piece of litter found on a litter-pick, humorously captioned.
Rationale for Litter Goes Literary development:
Again, there are four markers.
1 Litter picking stands at one end, on the bottom rung, of a spectrum of activities within environmental education's embrace.
2 The top end might be considered as a spiritual approach. Latvians and Estonians attribute their success at gaining freedom from super power dominance to their communal singing. Singing kept their spirits high and empowered them through dark days.
3 One member of Ecologisers, Ann Palmer, has a personal mission to ecologise the world's song-base. She has already composed eco-lyrics to 15 Christmas carols, several hymns and well-known out-of-copyright tunes, including Auld Lang Syne. An article on how to compose eco-lyrics to existing tunes was published in Green Teacher in 2015. URL: http://greenteacher.com/green-teacher-105-winter-issue/ Password 105 wsbxp.
4 The additional requirement for the 2017 Children's and Young People's Humorously Captioned Photography Competition is the composition of eco-lyrics to one verse of the young person's favourite song.
Plus-points of Litter Goes Literary development:
1 An online international competition takes this project from local to global level.
2 The 2 year pilot project, in the Western Isles, was a success.
3 Creativity, according to gurus like Sir Ken Robinson, who received his knighthood for services to U.K. education, is more important than literacy for the future. Litter-goes-literary ticks the creativity and literacy boxes.
4 Litter Goes Literary is an image-changer in the public mind.
5 Encouraging children to sing beautiful well-known tunes newly eco-themed, touches both the heart and spirit. (A spin-off is that it generally promotes a mindset of reinvention, re-use, re-honouring of old tunes.)
6 Litter Goes Literary takes two bites simultaneously at the environmental cherry – practical, hands-on; and creative, spiritual.
7 Educationally, Litter Goes Literary is a very attractive project. Doing something really worthwhile and important as of now, married to a self-expression opportunity. Litter Goes Literary draws on many of the requirements listed in a Curriculum for Excellence document.
Requirements to maximise the potential of Litter Goes Literary:
Partners in several capacities.
1 Promotion and support from the global educational community.
2 Seeking all publicity opportunities. Using contacts already established and researching new ones.
3 A strong online presence through the website – http://www.gaidancebooks.com and social media.
4 Funding for prize money for the international online Litter Goes Literary Young People's Competition. Generally, competitions tend to attract entries related to the amount of prize-money offered. We would like to be able to offer good prizes, £2,000 in all. Winner - £1,000. Second £500. Third £250. 5 Runner-up prizes of £50 each. For the best, most empowering eco-lyrics written to the tune of a favourite song.
At Ecologisers, we work consistently on the first three, forwarding both the Young People's anti-litter photography competition and the eco-lyrics aspects as appropriate.
This is an integrated project, well-seeded, following the interests and skill-sets of Ecologisers' organisers.
1 A professional recording of the 15 EcoCarols in 2017 will give Ecologisers the opportunity to disseminate the idea of writing eco-lyrics and talk about the Litter Goes Literary competition.
2 New Zealand's enviroschools are already using EcoCarols.
3 The gaelic version of EcoCarols are awaiting inclusion in the gaelic educational publishing programme.
4 An ultimate aim is for a big organisation to take over the running of this competition in future years, including the production of an annual Kind Kids Calendar. As a marketing tool, the variety and attractiveness of photographic subjects – children and pets - humorously captioned makes for a very different focus to any other calendar. To see a baby with a piece of litter seeds a subtle consciousness-change about shared responsibility.
5 As a future-oriented project, it opens up educational opportunities to increase awareness about the growing global litter problem. It offers young people an early focus in their lives on making a difference and the personal empowerment that brings with it. We will seek funding to record the best entries from the Litter Goes Literary Young People's Humorously Captioned Photography Competition 2017 as a future album.
Peter Lyons is an ex-paralegal, a professionally performed playwright, an animal lover, particularly of birds, and an eco-poet. He deals with administration, publicity and promotion.
Ann Palmer is an ex-headteacher, a Creative Writing teacher, an eco-lyricist, eco-writer and award winning poet. She believes passionately in creativity's ability to turn problems into solutions.