Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The artist formerly known as Citizens Agenda for Rivers

Our meeting two weeks ago for Act for Healthy Rivers started with the best intentions: provide needed resources to groups on the ground on how to stop sewage from seeping in to our rivers. Pretty down right professional, if not admirable, but exciting?

Shit in our rivers is a HUGE issue, but there is not a federal law to enforce notification. When it rains (for DC it only takes an inch of rain), raw sewage flows in to our rivers because of out dated sewage systems. And when it happens, no one really knows about it.

This is not like if a tree falls, does anyone hear it? kind of thing. Sewage overflow typically stinks, not to mention it pollutes our rivers, but if you swim, fish, boat, do all the stuff you enjoy doing on a river, do you know recreating after a downpour is a bad idea?

Basically, there is no federal law that requires notification of sewage overflow. Hence our effort to reshape the campaign formerly known as the Citizens Agenda for Healthy Rivers to one that is action based—Act for Healthy Rivers.

Thinking that acting for healthy rivers meant giving the tools to local/national groups for their continued action, we drafted a 5-page request for proposal. Sent it out to 10 firms/consultants and eventually selected Development Seed to lead the online effort.

Well, during our brainstorming—the one with good intentions—session, we basically tossed up in the air that sewage ain’t sexy. Wait, hold the phone, sewage has no sizzle? Surprise. That’s when were sidetracked with the idea of sending poop to Congress. Gasp, but hmmm.

We just received our “Meeting Notes” from Development Seed who laid out the two completely different websites—two different audiences too. But we can only do one and the idea of combining these iniatives seems like we'll only weaken the overall effort. Tough call, wonky site for river groups or viral-based action?

Option 1: Build a wonky resource rich website targeting river groups

Option 2: Build an awareness raising campaign targeting the masses

We’re meeting on Friday to discuss.

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