Monday, September 29, 2008

Ask SuperForest: Iman's Question!

Yay! Our second question for Ask SuperForest, this one from SuperForester Iman:

"Howdy Superforesters!
I just realized you guys had an advice column. Its really perfect that the universe threw your email my way because oddly enough, I need advice.

I'm really involved in an Environmental club at my school and we recycle every Friday, but for some reason, I guess high school kids aren't that into recycling on their Friday afternoons. So I really have two questions, first, do you have any suggestions for methods of luring kids into recycling? (haha) And second, do you have any suggestions for an environmental club in general? Anything goes! I just want to make the club as radical as is humanly possible! Thanks a lot friends.
Keep it funky,


A truly great question.

Needing a bit of clarification, we wrote this to Iman:


We have a huge number of responses to your question!

But first, we need to ask a few things:
How does the club work? Who runs it? How many members does it have?
Do you make any money from recycling?
Is any sort of credit given for taking part in the club? Is that a possibility?
What is the club currently called?

Let us know.

-Team SuperForest"

Iman replied:

"That's so wonderful!

1. We meet up every Friday afternoon to recycle but we do meet often during lunch; It is run by us students and our leader is open to any ideas we come up with; We have about ten at the moment
2. We make about 100 dollars a week from recycling
3. for "credit" we get listed in the yearbook and we get t-shirts, I'm not entirely sure if that answers the question...
4. We are simply called the "Environmental Club", a little boring so if you have any ideas that'd be great! I really want to start a branch of the club that refers to "What we're saving!" Because we tend to focus so much on trying to save our forests that we never get out there and enjoy them. So if you're all in a sort of naming mood, we also need a name for the branch that would direct hikes and those sort of outdoor activities.

Thanks very much Jackson and all you lovely SuperForesters, I know that this will make the club even better than it already is, nonetheless generate interest in it. This happens to be "club week" at my school so the timing could not have been better. The Universe never ceases to amaze me.

Keep it funky,

Okay, let's get answerin'!


Firstly we'd like to congratulate you on your energy and involvement in the "Environmental Club." It is a great and noble thing to give your time to building a better present.

All of Team SuperForest recieved a copy of your question and our answers vary from person to person. (Iman will receive the full email chain of our compiled answers.)

Our many answers had a few points of convergence and here they are:

"How to "lure" kids into recycling?"

Step One: Sell it.

Firstly, sometimes people have negative reactions to words like "environmental," "recycling," and the like. Fine, call it something else.

"Environmental Club" could just as easily be named "Future Resource Captains" or "Materials for Profit," or "Trash for Cash" or something that appeals more to people's sense of worth. Be creative. If Environmental Club whiffs too strongly of "green" or "hippie," then call it something else.

This is a great opportunity to be flexible and rethink your branding!

I mean, you're taking something that people have designated as worthless (trash) and you're sifting through it and "revaluing" it. Their trash becomes your profit. A name that plays on this sense of rediscovery is great. You're practically treasure hunters!

Calling your club "Treasure Hunters Inc." would do a lot more to fire people's imaginations than Environmental Club. You get what we're saying? Make it appealing.

"Any suggestions for an environmental club in general?"

Step Two: Advertise it.

You know what is free right now? Starting your own blog.

Treasure Hunters Inc. The Blog!

Go on blogger, or wordpress, or any other blog-hosting site and get your blog started ASAP.

This will serve a huge variety of functions. It will allow you to get info about your club into the world in a searchable manner. It will let you keep tabs on your members, and allow your members to communicate amongst themselves. It will start a snowball of networking and information generation that you can use to your benefit.

This blog can last and last and last. Imagine handing down the reigns of the Treasure Hunters blog to a younger generation of students, who in turn can use it to generate influence and change. Very powerful stuff. Then it wasn't just a club, but rather, the beginning of a LEGACY.

Start a blog, let people know what you're doing and how they can play along.

This will also be a great asset if you decide to team up with local businesses and get into some serious environmentalism, as they can check you out online, see who you are, email you, etc.

Which leads us to...

Step Three: Redefine Environment.

As an environmental club, it is imperitive that you retake the meaning of the word "environment." As we say in the SuperForest Humanifesto, the environment is everything that disappears when you close your eyes.

It would send a powerful message to your fellow students if one focus of your club was on your school itself. Particularly it's grounds and buildings!

Look around you. That squeaky step? Talk to the janitor or maintenance staff about getting it fixed. Blog about "Mission Squeaky Step." Take pictures. Interview the maintenance crew. Post it all. Most importantly, get that step fixed.

Take the responsibility of the look of your school onto yourselves and see what happens.

All of a sudden you go from a fringe group who digs through trash to the amazing Treasure Hunters who fixed the step, painted the walls, planted those new apple trees in the quad, worked with other students to make cool new recycling bins, got the principal to make detention about sweeping the front walk, etc.

And your new blog will allow you to reach out to local hardware stores or nurseries and perhaps convince them to donate goods or services. Stores always have surplus, and giving that surplus to a needy cause (i.e. you.) is a win for everybody.

Set yourselves a list of things that you don't like about the environment of your school and one by one work to make them better. And blog, blog, blog! Let the undecideds check you out online and follow your exploits, thrill at your progress.

Step Four: Celebrate.

One of the best quotes I've ever heard about revolution is this: "If there isn't going to be dancing, then count me out of your revolution."

So, we must have some dancing!

You say that Friday is the day you meet up to recycle. That's kind of a game killer. Who wants to stay after school on Friday?

What we suggest is this: If it's possible, can the recycling component of your activities be handled on a "little bit each day" basis? As in, can you recycle a bit each weekday and save your
Fridays to meet up, discuss the weeks adventures, and hopefully celebrate your successes?

You're making money from your efforts. Make sure that you're using it to encourage your team. Get some movies! Pop some corn! You've worked hard all week, and you should allow yourselves to blow off steam. Watching the Planet Earth documentary series while you take turns blogging is a grand and fine way to pass an afternoon.

We here at SuperForest would very much like to see your blog up and running by the end of Oct. if not sooner. (Then we can link to it! And you to us! The snowball continues rolling!)

Furthermore, we pledge to help in any way we can. Whether it's blogging tech support, or further questions you may have, or just a compassionate ear to listen to your woes, SuperForest will be there to help support you and ensure that you succeed.

You have the tools and the talent.

Good on you, Iman.

Love to you and your club.


Team SuperForest

p.s. Got questions? Trust in the genius of the collective!
Send your questions to asksuperforest(at)gmail(dot)com.

No comments: