Or to put it another way: don’t be shy to be inspired by the other activism you’re seeing. We were inspired to read about the ‘Delhi Lungs’ campaign, run by Jhatkaa, an Indian campaign group:
SPOTLIGHT: INDIA A great idea is even better when it’s shared ‘In 2018 we put together interactive billboards depicting human lungs, fitted with air filters and a fan that mimics breathing, to demonstrate the impact of air pollution. It was installed in a public space first in Bangalore in January 2018, and then in two locations in Delhi in November 2018. When the installation was put up, the colour of the lungs was white (symbolising healthy lungs). Over the next few days, the installation started to change colour to grey, and then eventually black. It was on prime-time TV for a week, lots of channels were showing it. And we saw a lot of links in terms of discussions about air pollution and emission sources and discussions about clean transport. We've taken the Billboard that Breathes to many cities around the country. We open sourced the design and now it's being used all over the world. There's a group in Poland that has set it up, and it's also been launched in Serbia and the UK. It has become a useful tool for raising awareness, used by people all over the world.' Avijit Michael, Managing Trustee & Executive Director, Jhatkaa.org
Here’s a picture of the lungs before and after the campaign:
What a difference! It really shows the terrible impact of air pollution, bringing an often abstract problem into clear focus. What we liked most about this campaign was that it clearly inspired other people to do similar things. For example, in Poland.
If you want to find out more, and maybe do a similar installation, there’s a great “how-to” guide on the Jhatkaa website.
BOTTOM LINE This campaign tactic is incredibly interesting: it’s creative, powerful and scary all at once. Air pollution is scary and worrying – but also abstract. No one really knows the damage that’s being done to their lungs. This installation so clearly shows the huge amount of pollutants that are being absorbed by anyone who passed that area. We also love that other activists picked this up and tried it out in their countries. So don’t be shy, if someone else has found a great tactic, feel free to copy it! And don’t forget, your work may inspire others. So don’t forget to share with the world if you come up with a great tactic that works. That’s an excellent way of supporting activists in other parts of the world, who may want to copy your great work.