Remember The Lorax
By Annie Cosalan
Who hasn't heard of Dr. Seuss' odd-looking Lorax, who lives in a beautiful sunny forest where the Swomee-Swans sing and the Humming-Fish hum? His tragic story is one of the best books on the environment because the stories are so accessible.
IOM's work constantly puts us face to face with a myriad of issues about the environment. Migration induced by climate change, migrant health affected by pollution and lack of public health facilities in slum neighborhoods and camps (the list goes on and on). But we are not just accidental witnesses, (see the two stories above) and because we are a front line organization, we have a golden opportunity to let others know what is going on, on the fraying edge of the world where environmental stability is being overtaken by dramatic change.
"I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues," the Lorax declares, because "..unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."
So many projects undertaken by IOM are relevant to the environment and here are a few simple leads to consider when communicating about them:
Everyone needs the basics. Define and explain what you want to write about. Give a simple background and relate this to how important the issue is to your mission or project. Say why you’re motivated to tackle it.
Your readers will relate more closely to an issue and get your point if you put it into context. For example - is massive flooding in a country potentially linked to climate change and is it triggering displacement? There is plenty of food for thought for readers in countries reluctant to sign up to global climate change agreements or where migration is a hot button issue.
Get everyone involved
Demonstrate your mission’s interest in the issue. Write about activities, events or similar topics that will make participate or aware of what’s been happening. Encourage a recycling campaign and see it through. Announce staff trainings, an ongoing slogan-making contest, “International Environment Day” activities, and others.
Keep it going
Don’t write in trickles and then go into limbo. Keep the awareness radar high by periodically updating readers on about the issue and related events or activities. Write reviews about failures and successes of past initiatives, with lessons learned.
A project tackling a theme on environment is the recently concluded Greeneration Multimedia Contest by the Asia-Pacific Migration and Environment Network (APMEN), launched in celebration of the National Climate Consciousness Week in the Philippines. APMEN is a joint initiative of IOM and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), designed to build capacity on climate change, migration and environmental issues in the Asia and the Pacific.
Annie Cosalan is the Communications Specialist for IOM