Smart phones are only as smart as the user: people determine how useful the technology can be . While a phone may not be able to physically assist the movement to increase environmental sustainability, it is still a powerful tool. ‘#selfie, #ootd’, #zerolitter? Through instagram, Earthteam has created a platform on which social media can raise awareness of environmental sustainability.
“The Zero Litter Project gets students using Instagram to collect litter data, remove litter and take action to educate their peers and communities to reduce litter”-Earth Team.
Earth Team has created this project in schools across the Bay Area, including the school I attend, Oakland High. Thanks to social media technology, we are able to chart locations of litter by using certain hashtags and location services. By assembling the location tags on a map, we can chart the data of where litter is and what it is, which provides us with data on what kinds of litter ends up where.
The Zero litter project has helped us realize how much trash we have around our school campus. Before joining the Zero Litter internship the majority of students didn’t make a connection between social media and sustainability, but once starting were amazed to see the global efforts that were behind the project. The best part about the #zerolitter project is thats its accessible to everyone. Taking a photo of the litter you find is a new and interesting way to encourage people to pick up litter. Making a piece of litter look beautiful in a picture may catch the attention of an atypical audience who otherwise may not have shown an interest in the project. For those who do not want to flood their Instagram account with pictures of litter, making an Instagram solely for the Zero litter is a great alternative from using a personal account.
As an intern I am extremely excited to see this project grow and to find ways to spread awareness. The Zero Litter Project is by far the most accessible and interesting way to get others to participate in the sustainability movement.
– Visah Munassar