The Breathe Project and First Clean Air Day
Netcentric Campaigns led a series of advocacy projects in Pittsburgh that brought together organizations and advocates working to improve the region’s air quality and increase their capacity to win future campaigns. Working alongside grantee organizations from The Heinz Endowment, our team oversaw a series of campaigns to achieve policy change and increase the capacity of those organizations to influence the online debate.
For example, we empowered Keystone State leaders to generate grassroots support for the successful November 2012 passage of new clean air guidelines in Allegheny County, Pa. This was a culmination of years of work by the organization Clean Water Action and other advocates.
In late July 2012, our staff undertook an aggressive month-long campaign alongside the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) to send comments to the Environmental Protection Agency in support of stronger national regulations for soot. That campaign generated 2,725 comments and provided 2,085 new supporters to GASP to help them in future efforts.
Our team also worked alongside Women for a Healthy Environment (WHE) a holiday-themed campaign calling on Procter & Gamble to remove the toxins in Febreze’s holiday fragrance line. Nearly 8,000 people signed onto the petition, and nearly 5,800 new people were added to WHE’s grassroots supporter list.
But the project’s most creative campaign took place in summer 2012. Seeking a creative way to increase public awareness about air quality, The Breathe Project stole a page from local weathermen, who often ask their audience to predict the first inch of snowfall in winter. Instead of asking folks to pick when the first major snow would hit, we invited the public to predict when Pittsburgh would have its “First Clean Air Day of Summer.”
The contest winner received a grand prize of a hot air balloon ride over Allegheny County. We promoted the contest via online ads and on Pittsburgh buses and light rail cars. The contest generated 1,412 entrants and positive coverage in traditional media outlets. This effort successfully increased the target audience for The Breathe Project’s grantee groups and raised public awareness of air quality in a positive way.