Archive for the ‘Environmentalism’ Category

Last week I came up with a few ways to do your part in helping the Gulf deal with the BP Oil disaster. Since I wrote that post, I noticed that this blog post was published on Kelli’s LinkyLove account and so I thought it was fitting to follow it up from last week. Way to stay current, right?

To date, at least 18 million gallons of oil have spilled; worst case scenario, 39 million have spilled. BP has developed a top kill system in order to stop the spill, although they have had problems with mud leaking along with the crude oil. If the top kill fails, BP has some other potential tricks to test. However, even though Obama has put new restrictions on drilling, the problem is far from solved.

Lately, the big issue has been the fake Twitter account @bpglobalpr, which started just a few days ago, and after 50 tweets had more than 13,000 followers, more than double @BP_America, the real Twitter account. Even more strange, BP has done nothing to respond to the tweets from the fake account, besides saying that people are frustrated and entitled to their own opinion.

The PR community is amazed at how poorly BP has handled its crisis management. According to this blog, BP was not transparent, did not control the photos that ended up on the Internet, nor did they act like apologetic, concerned corporate citizens. However, the same article illuminated the fact that no oil spill has ever been well seen to PR-wise. I would guess that when you make a mistake as large as that one, it’s easier to run and hide than actually deal with the consequences, even if that’s exactly what’s needed.

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I had a couple content ideas for this week’s blog post- one of them being a how-to survive dead week and finals to my fellow UO classmates. The other was a how-to get a job in sports public relations. This is an area that I’m particularly interested in, but right now, sports public relations ranks up there with environmental public relations.

I just stumbled across a blog post on the Huffington Post about the dire situation down in the Gulf area. The recent BP oil spill is perhaps one of the largest natural disasters to hit since Hurricane Katrina, and it doesn’t seem to be getting much better. Currently, BP is reported to be using a “contentious chemical dispersant,” in spite of the the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) wishes for them to use something less toxic.

Millions of oil have already been spilled and more are draining into our poor ocean every day. The spill currently reaches 150 miles from Alabama to Louisiana. In face of this disaster, it’s easy to feel hopeless. However, there are some things you can all do to contribute to the disaster relief effort. Below, I’ve listed a few resources to access. Check them out!

1) Glamour.com highlights the charity Matter of Trust, which donates both human and animal hair. Apparently hair is really good at soaking up oil. Who would have thought?

2) TakePart.com is an online community that “connects members to issues that mean the most to them.” The website has a whole listing of links that connect potential volunteers to organizations like the Audubon Society and the National Wildlife Federation.

3) Finally, the Daily Green has a listing of six things you can do to help the Gulf Oil Spill effort.

So there you have it. We can’t do it all, but if we all do a little something, we really can make a difference. As for me, I think I’m gonna check out the Matter of Trust charity.

I was sitting in the library just now thinking about the future of this blog. Here’s the thing, this is supposed to be a class assignment, a way for our wonderful professor to teach us how to run, manage and share fresh content and ideas on a blog. I however, want to have fun with it. Although I enjoy introductory guides to Facebook and risk communication, I want to challenge myself to cover PR from every angle.

What I’ve learned most in the UO School of Journalism and Communication, and in particular, in the public relations focus, is that the definition of PR is not a simple one. Just check out some of the content that my fellow students and I posted on our takeover week of PROpenMic, a social networking site primarily for PR people (students, faculty, professionals, etc)…

A couple weeks ago, I posted about how to apply the principles of sustainability to the practice of public relations. I was challenged to write about environmental PR in a way that was fresh and exciting. In fact, my blog post inspired the video I later made for the takeover.

So my challenge to myself is to find random topics and apply PR to them. This post merely introduces that new challenge, a change in direction in the middle of my blogging road.

So wish me luck on this new journey, and please let me know if there are any topics that are of interest to you that I could tackle. As Confucius said, “A journey begins with a single step.” And, one more question… How do you define public relations? Because really people, there are no wrong answers.

Happy Earth Day, everyone! It was such a beautiful day out today this Earth Day and I figured, what better day to discuss sustainability and PR than on Earth Day, right?!

First of all, what exactly does sustainability mean? It seems that these days it has become one of those catch words like “green” that are used so often, one begins to forget its meaning. So let’s clear this up. According to the 1987 Brundtland report, sustainability, or sustainable development, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Still, sustainability is a vast, broad topic because it’s applicable to so many things. When I told my boyfriend, who is an environmental studies major, that I would attempt to apply the principles of sustainability to PR he asked, “Well, which ones? There are hundreds.” Hence, my search began.

After only 30 minutes on the Internet, I found a wonderful list of six sustainability principles from Colorado University that I figured I could easily apply to this challenge of mine. Below, I shall try to apply these principles to practicing PR.

1) Quality of Life: Traditionally in community sustainability, this means to “define and plan the quality of life a community wants or believes it can achieve.” In practicing public relations, I believe this applies to particular clients and their goals. As practitioners, we must help clients assess their capabilities and- through a strategic PR plan- we must help them achieve or maintain these capabilities.

2) Economic Vitality: In community sustainability, economic vitality includes providing plenty of opportunities for citizens and a significant portion of revenue to support internal and external expenses. Applied to PR, we must strive to maintain economic vitality within our own firms. If we can maintain our own expenses, we will have more time and resources to aid our clients.

3) Social and Inter-generational Equity:  This principle applies to equality for all- as in, everyone has the same right to resources and opportunities as everyone else. Within our practices, we must treat all of our coworkers with respect, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity, or social status. This also applies to how we treat our clients and/or potential clients.

4) Environmental Quality: This principle applies to treating our environment with respect. As a community within a larger eco-system we must respect the other communities that live simultaneously with ours. Applied to PR, we must remember to treat the environment we work in (be it the office or out in the world), with respect by using resources wisely and treating other communities respectfully.

5) Disaster Resilience: This principle equates with a self-reliant community that is aware of the uncertainties in life. In practicing public relations, we must be prepared for “disasters” or what PR likes to call “risk communication.” Every practitioner must have at least some awareness of risk communication and must be self-reliant in face of the uncertainties our profession brings.

6) Participatory Process: This principle equates with everyone in a community being able to engage in decision-making with others. Everyone’s opinions are heard and understood by others. Everyone has equal say in what happens within their community, to an extent. In practice, we must be willing to hear those who are in both superior and inferior positions to ours and respond respectfully.

And there you have it! Sustainability can easily be applied (and in my opinion) should be applied to public relations. Whether you’re a student or a practicing professional, you can apply these principles to whatever it is you’re doing. Once again, Happy Earth Day!