Virtual museum whose mission is litter-prevention by ARTiculating litter with humor, art and kindness. Kind of like Greenpeace meets the Dalai Lama. Museum's Goal is to go out of business because there's no more litter to showcase. Litter-art sales fund awareness, education & events.
What do you feel like doing when you see someone toss their cigarette butt? What do you do? Do you think we should butt in or butt out?
Since litter, especially toxic cigarette butts, has a direct impact on all of us (see 10 Reasons to Care about Litter I think we have a responsibility to speak up.
I believe most litterers don't know the consequences of their actions or they wouldn't litter. There are many litter-prevention and litter cleanup organizations doing a great job. But clearly there is still a lot to do. In my experience all of us environmental groups are just preaching to the choir. The only people who read our posts and tweets alreadycare about the environment. How do we get our message to the cause of the problem: the litterer? Especially the butt flicker? In a way they will actually hear the message?
Yes, it's awkward, but I think we have to butt in. If they are uninformed, how else will they learn?
The key is to have a conversation in a way they are not embarrassed or feel put down so they can actually hear the message.
My approach has been to ask them if they are done with it and if they mind if I take it. That stops them in their tracks. They are always curious. Sometimes they ask why I want it. That opens up a perfect opportunity for a brief, friendly, face-to-face chat. I don't make them *wrong*, I just tell them why I want to pick it up before it gets into the waterways and ocean. I also hand them a *THANK YOU* card that explains how long it takes commonly littered items to decompose (if ever) and how it maims and kills wildlife and pollutes the planet. Hopefully they'll read it after I've left. Here's what it looks like, front and back.
(Click here for free printable Thank You cards from our Gift Shop that you can hand out too.)
I never know what they'll think or how they'll respond but now I know they have the information. There's a saying, "If they knew better, they'd do better." At least I know after this conversation they know better. Maybe next time they'll do better.
What approach do you take? I'd sure love to hear what works for you.