Speak Out Campaign Reached Over 1 Billion

February is Global Population Speak Out month. This grass roots project went worldwide in 2015 with an extraordinary campaign that reached over 1 billion impressions.

Using a crowd-sourced distribution strategy to increase activism, our client’s international environmental activist network began giving away more than four thousand copies of a dramatic coffee table book, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER). Featuring more than 300 pages of stunning, full-spread photography it was the centerpiece of the 2015 Global Population Speak Out (“Speak Out”).

Trash wave: Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya catches a wave in a remote but garbage-covered bay on Java, Indonesia, the world’s most populated island ‘Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.’ Jacques-Yves Cousteau Photograph: Zak Noyle

The goal was to spread the issues and ideas of Speak Out and OVER far and wide, to young and old, to increase awareness on the problems we confront today and to build on solutions that promote human rights — and the rights of all species on Earth. Whether one is working to mitigate the effects of climate change, end child marriage, protect endangered species, or advocating for women’s rights, the Global Population Speak Out helped strengthen activist voices — so all our interconnected concerns were heard.

Speak Out used social media, word-of-mouth and direct action to engage opinion-leaders, scientists and citizens of the world to respond creatively to environmental degradation. Speak Out emphasized elements of environmental protection that are rarely discussed: promoting human rights and human health as strong, indispensable solutions to preserving the rights of other species to exist and the health of the planet.

Speak Out organizers granted the free copies of OVER to people and organizations around the world who became ambassadors of information and inspiration, and promised personalized delivery to policymakers, opinion leaders, activists, allied organizations, and other audiences.

Many of the subjects in OVER are often discussed by environmentalists around the world: materialism, consumption, pollution, fossil fuels, carbon footprints, and more. But OVER and Speak Out purposefully joined two ever-present parts of environmentalism together: the number of the human species and our socio-economic behaviors. The book and the campaign intentionally moved beyond tired arguments that only one side of the equation matters and pictorially depicted the importance of both the number of people and the way people live.

The environmental book became an international media sensation and demand for the OVER books was beyond our wildest expectations – fueled by over 250 mass-media articles, reaching over 1 billion readers in 47 countries.

Reservoir development:

Former old-growth forest leveled for reservoir development, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

‘What an irony it is that these living beings whose shade we sit in, whose fruit we eat, whose limbs we climb, whose roots we water, to whom most of us rarely give a second thought, are so poorly understood. We need to come, as soon as possible, to a profound understanding and appreciation for trees and forests and the vital role they play, for they are among our best allies in the uncertain future that is unfolding.’ Jim Robbins

Photograph: Daniel Dancer

Examples of media sources that have reported on OVER include Washington Post (online and print), The Guardian (online and print), Buzzfeed.com, Salon.com, News.com (Australia), MSN Germany, Yahoo India, the China Daily News, BBC’s Impact, The Daily Mail Online (UK),  Folha de S.Paulo (Brazil), San Francisco Chronicle and Mashable.com.

The Guardian’s photo spread (“Overpopulation, overconsumption – in pictures“) resulted in over 3 million page views, 650,000+ Facebook shares, and over 8,700 Tweets and re-Tweets.

Ashton Kutcher, actor, producer and investor posted Speak Out content on his Facebook page which resulted in over 31,000 likes, 8,000+ shares and 1,300 comments.

Hill-side slum:
Slum-dwelling residents of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, face bleak living conditions in the western hemisphere’s poorest country
‘Squatters trade physical safety and public health for a few square meters of land and some security against eviction. They are the pioneer settlers of swamps, floodplains, volcano slopes, unstable hillsides, rubbish mountains, chemical dumps, railroad sidings, and desert fringes … such sites are poverty’s niche in the ecology of the city, and very poor people have little choice but to live with disaster.’ Mike Davis
Photograph: Google Earth/2014 Digital Globe

While the media attention was robust, Speak Out organizers believed OVER could really effect change with the citizens and organizations speaking out and sharing their passions for saving the planet and creating a better world for all.

In Europe, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability displayed OVER at an annual congress on climate change adaptation and resilience, thereby “allowing congress participants to peruse the magnificent photos during breaks and have the photos spur thoughts and conversations.”

A library consultant at a prominent international health organization reported that “Word is getting around!” The group was sharing OVER in their campus library, which resulted in requests for copies to be taken to country offices in Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda.

An activist in Mexico told how he shared the message from OVER: “The book has a permanent place on the counter in our restaurant and many friends/customers/associates have already entered and began to read with awe.”

Down in New Zealand, a conservationist shared that “This will be a great opportunity for us to further promote the impact of increasing human populations on our fragile ecosystems and on the future of the planet’s biodiversity.”

Many of those who requested free copies of OVER were high school teachers and college professors. One teacher from the UK said “It is a really exciting and inspiring resource for future planning of activities within the Department, and in doing so, raising awareness with young people.”

Global Population Speak Out (Speak Out) united world-class scientists, academicians, opinion-leaders – and thousands of lay environmentalists and concerned citizens – to help bring international attention to the crises posed by overdevelopment and human population size and growth. Speak Out was jointly administered by Population Media Center and Population Institute.

To view more of our media coverage for this campaign, please go here. To find out how our publicity services can help spread the word of your book, event or organization, please contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates.

The Good Crisis: How Population Stabilization Can Foster a Healthy U.S. Economy

“Birth Dearthers” argue that low birth rates spell economic and social disaster for the United States. However, The Good Crisis: How Population Stabilization Can Foster a Healthy U.S. Economy, edited by John Seager and Lee S. Polansky, effectively debunks this myth.

The Good Crisis argues that we have no shortage of people in our country. The problem is we’re not preparing them to become the highly skilled workers necessary for the jobs of tomorrow, to contribute to innovation and growth in our economy, and to the social security system critics keep warning about.

For example, it’s estimated that two million US manufacturing jobs will go unfilled over the next decade due to a “skills gap.” In addition, there will be great opportunities in the knowledge economy, ranging from health care to information systems to education. Yet we currently have more than 15 million U.S. children trapped in poverty with limited access to quality education. Seager and Polansky suggest we think of them as future doctors, engineers, teachers and entrepreneurs and take steps accordingly.

Backed by extensive research and real-world examples, The Good Crisis presents a path to a more productive, sustainable world including:

• Retraining older people, teaching job skills for today’s economy.

• Ensuring that children have access to better education and healthcare. There are proven links between a quality education, increased productivity, and shared upward mobility.

• Preventing teen pregnancy through peer counseling, comprehensive sex education, and access to birth control. • Welcoming marginal groups into the workforce.

The Good Crisis dispel anxieties about the impact of slowing population growth, and discuss innovative and practical solutions.

John Seager is currently available for media interviews. Please call Kathlene Carney, Carney & Associates publicity services for scheduling and review copies.

Green Sex for Climate’s Sake

Radio Ecoshock is an awesome, long-running environmental  radio show that airs on more than 91 stations in the U.S. and Canada, plus podcasts and through their website which receives more than 31,000 downloads per month.

AlishaGravesAlex Smith, the show’s outstanding host, interviewed our expert Alisha Graves last week. Alisha is co-founder of The OASIS Initiative: 
A project of University of California, Berkeley, an effort to forestall rapid population growth and extreme poverty in the Sahel region of Africa. Alisha also serves as Vice President of the Population Program at Venture Strategies for Health and Development, a California-based non-profit organization, where she oversees the “Rebirth of Population Awareness” initiative. And she is a research fellow for Project Drawdown, analyzing the potential contribution of family planning for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Our pitch had a provocative title,Green Sex for Climate’s Sake,” and the show was equally intriguing. Here’s an excerpt from Alex’s description on his site:

“‘Green sex’ – Do it for the climate. We’ll find out what that means with Alisha Graves. The old saying about the circus: ‘There’s a sucker born every minute.’ But hundreds of new humans are born every minute, as the human population continues to multiply. Many will be Western-style super consumers, the ones who drain resources and fill the skies with greenhouse gases. If we can’t control that urge, a major climate disruption may do it for us.

“To hear some environmental groups tell it, all we have to do is install solar energy and drive electric cars – problem solved. But can we really tackle the climate issue without talking about population?

“Our instant mental defense is to tell ourselves it’s those billions of peasants ‘over there’ somewhere who are responsible for the population impact. What’s wrong with that idea? Think of it this way: if you decide not to have a child, you have done far more to reduce greenhouse gases than buying an electric car or installing solar panels. That is because every new consumer born is a heat engine.

“Sex is such a powerful urge. It can drive our lives even when our brains are barely involved, maybe especially when our brains are weak. Do you believe that rational debate can change sexual behavior? It’s interesting to discover that half the babies born in the United States were unintended. So fifty percent of the time, there was no conversation like “should we do this?” Meanwhile, states like Texas are making it harder and harder for a woman to access a safe and legal abortion. At times I’m sure we are going backward in population control, not forward.”

You or anyone can listen to or download just this 23 minute interview with Alisha Graves using these permanent links (in either CD Quality, or the faster loading but lower quality Lo-Fi)

This was one of many media placements we secured during this Radio Media Tour.  Please contact Kathlene Carney to discuss how Carney & Associates publicity services can help promote your environmental organization.

Internet is pushing American news media to the coasts

I read a fascinating article by Joshua Benton on NiemanLab.org about how the Internet is pushing the American news business to New York and the coasts. “Rather than creating geographic diversity, digital news has pushed the industry into a few tight clusters. That has real impacts on the journalism we get.” Here are more highlights from his piece:

“Let’s start by thinking of the pre-web news business. Physical distribution of newspapers and over-the-air distribution of TV signals meant location was all-important for daily news. Journalistic talent was arrayed to match, with substantial newsrooms in every city.

“Digital changed that. Think of the most prominent digital-native news companies, like Vice Media, BuzzFeed, Business Insider, Gawker Media, Mashable, Vox Media — all of them are in New York or D.C. (Vice adds a sort of geographic diversity by being in Brooklyn instead of Manhattan, I suppose. But you could still visit a dozen of them without your Uber bill climbing too high.) There are smaller hubs in the Bay Area (for tech reporting), Los Angeles (all about video), and even Miami (for Spanish-language and Hispanic-targeting media), but the increase in concentration is unmistakable. Journalism jobs are leaving the middle of the country and heading for the coasts.

“This won’t come as a shock to anyone who’s studied cluster theory, the idea that industries naturally tend toward concentration in one or a few places — think autos in Detroit, oil in Houston, or music in Nashville. Small geographic advantages start to snowball; companies that want to work with the big players naturally want to be near them, and talented people know that, if they want to do interesting work, they’d best go where the innovation is happening.

“So if the news business is becoming even more centered in New York, what sort of impacts would that have on our news? For one thing, you’d expect it to make the media more liberal — culturally and politically. Journalists don’t like it when conservatives point out that they, as a group, lean farther left than the country as a whole. But you don’t need to be a conspiracy theorist to believe it: College-educated liberal arts grads who live in cities — a group most American journalists fit into — are more liberal as a group than the American median. And those who live in New York or San Francisco are going to be more liberal as a group than those in Cincinnati or Knoxville.

“America is a big, highly distributed place. Our democracy is structured around cities and counties and congressional districts and states. Our media used to be too. As an industry, it’s our responsibility to make sure we don’t become too myopically focused on a few square blocks in Midtown Manhattan.”

At Carney & Associates, we specialize in media relations and spread our clients’ messages through traditional and digital news outlets wherever they may be. Contact Kathlene Carney for a free consultation to discuss how our publicity services can spread your message through the news.

Ecotopia Features Slick Water Author

Stephen TchudiSusan and Stephen Tchudi, hosts of the long-running radio show Ecotopia, are among the few interviewers who take time to actually read their guests’ books in advance, and prepare thoughtful questions.

So we were thrilled when they invited our client Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Slick Water: Fracking, and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry, to be on their show last week.

The entire hour was devoted to hydraulic fracturing—fracking—and its impacts.  In the first half of the program they spoke with Andrew by phone from Alberta, CanadaHe described the fascinating and frightening history of how fracking has evolved over the past 150 years, and then he told the story of Jessica Ernst, a person who has launched a single-handed campaign against commercial fracking and the Canadian government.

And in the second half of the program, they spoke with Dave Garcia, who has led the anti-fracking movement up in Butte County. He gave an update on the June 7 ballot measure that would ban fracking in Butte County, and provided precise and well researched information on why fracking is a danger, not only to the county, but to the world.

Ecotopia airs on KZFR 90.1 Chico, CA, Tuesdays, 6-7 pm and covers issues ranging from water to population to homesteading to energy and from do-it-yourself to what-can-we do?  At Carney & Associates, we specialize in media relations for people who improve our world, especially those in areas of sustainability. We’re grateful that the Tchudi’s have interviewed many, many of our clients over the years. They are excellent hosts who produce intelligent, high-quality programming.

This was one of many media placements we secured during our book publicity campaign for Slick Water.  Please contact me for a free consultation to discuss how our public relations services can help with your publicity needs.

Extraordinary wildlife photos from camera traps

I just received the blads* for an extraordinary upcoming book, Candid Creatures: How Camera Traps Reveal the Mysteries of Nature, by biologist Roland Kays (May 2016, Johns Hopkins University Press).

Before this publicity campaign, I’d never heard of camera traps. I’ve since learned that many of the most fascinating and significant wildlife discoveries in recent years have been made thanks to the explosion of these non-invasive, motion-sensitive cameras, placed out in nature.

With wildlife in crisis around the world we need to know the status of animal populations now more than ever. To meet this challenge, scientists trek to the most remote corners of the planet to set camera traps. They hope this technology will allow them to catch glimpses of animals they could never see with their own eyes.

Not only do camera traps provide stunning images of endangered species, they’ve revolutionized the field of wildlife science, and elevated our understanding of the animals in our own backyards.

We’re thrilled to be conducting a nation book publicity campaign for this title, it’s a publicist’s dream. Candid Creatures is the first major book to reveal the secret lives of animals through this new technology, and we have more than 600 remarkable photographs to share from researchers all over the globe.

The author Roland Kays is a dynamo. He’s the director of the Biodiversity Laboratory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a research associate professor at North Carolina State University. Roland is energetic, articulate, and super-enthusiastic about his work. Here’s one of his excellent camera trap videos that we’re using for his media relations campaign.

* Blads are pre-publication brochures for upcoming books, used by publicists and sales teams. Blad stands for book (or, basic) layout and design.

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help with your wildlife organization or book’s publicity needs. 

Audiobooks Are the New E-Books

The New York Times recently reported that audiobooks are the new e-books.

In a look back at 2015, they said “audiobooks joined podcasts as one of the breakout creative mediums of the year.” Sales of downloaded books increased by 38 percent in the first eight months of 2015, according to the Association of American Publishers. Meanwhile, e-book sales declined by 11 percent in the during the same period, leading to speculation that some consumers are switching from digital reading to digital listening.

The New York Times points out, “The growing use of smartphones means that practically everyone has an audiobook player on hand at all times. There are more titles than ever to choose from (25,787 audiobooks were released in 2014). And the medium is attracting prominent actors and celebrities.”

Tom Tivnan of the publishing industry bible The Bookseller also believes the rise is largely due to technology. “Streaming and speed of downloads helps, but simply that most people have a smartphone is probably the main factor,” he says. And developments in digital recording and distribution have made audiobooks more affordable. The Wall Street Journal notes that Stephen King’s lengthy The Stand cost $100 in 1978. Today it can be downloaded for $33.

I’ve been a fan of audiobooks for years.  As a book publicist my work is often sedentary, so when reading for pleasure I love the mobility afforded by audio downloads. And because I specialize in media relations for nonfiction titles, I gravitate toward fiction on my own time. It’s incredibly relaxing to have someone read me a story while I’m doing chores, running errands, or working out.

Bestselling crime writer Mark Billingham summed it up when he said, “I think people will always enjoy having a story told to them. It’s not something that happens often after childhood and it’s a rare and special treat.”

My book publicity clients often ask if I think it’s essential for them to produce an ebook version of their titles. Now a more important question is, when will your audiobook be ready?

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our book publicity services can help promote your audiobook–or ebook. 😉

 

Population Media Center in The Guardian

The Guardian recently published an essay by Joe Bish, Director of Issue Advocacy at Population Media Center (PMC), entitled “Population growth in Africa: grasping the scale of the challenge.” Here’s the intro:

“The last 100 years have seen an incredible increase in the planet’s population. Some parts of the world are now seeing smaller increments of growth, and some, such as Japan, Germany, and Spain, are actually experiencing population decreases.

“The continent of Africa, however, is not following this pattern. Now home to 1.2 billion (up from just 477 million in 1980), Africa is projected by the United Nations Population Division to see a slight acceleration of annual population growth in the immediate future.”

I’m proud to have been providing publicity and media relations services for PMC over the past four years and am especially thrilled with Joe’s piece.

The essay also included a link to our wildly popular photo essay that ran in The Guardian last year on our book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, as part of our international book publicity campaign. Since April 2015, this webpage has been viewed over 3 million times and has been shared over 700,000 times on social media.

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help your nonprofit organization or book’s publicity needs.

Amazon wins self-publishing market

Self-publishing is a booming multibillion-dollar market. In 2015, author-published books accounted for 18% of the entire book market in the U.S., and Amazon published 85% of them.

So I wasn’t surprised when Quartz reported, “Penguin Random House, the largest book publisher in the world, is chopping off its self-publishing arm. The company said Jan. 5 that it has sold Author Solutions—the self-publishing author-tools platform that it bought in 2012—to an unnamed affiliate of US private equity firm Najafi Companies for an undisclosed sum.”

From The Financial Times: “Self-publishing has been growing rapidly, with more authors designing and selling their books without the backing of a traditional publishing house. Author Solutions has sought to capitalise by offering a variety of services to independent authors, including ‘web-optimised’ press releases for $1,299 each.”

In other words, they were accused of trying to make money off of their authors rather than for their authors, and the company was subject to frequent complaints as well as a couple of lawsuits.

Whether due to tanking market share or negative publicity, Quartz notes “Penguin Random House’s exit from self-publishing is also an admission of defeat: The giant self-publishing market essentially now falls largely to Amazon.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates for a free consultation to discuss how our media relations services can help with your self-published book’s publicity needs.

PW Loves Slick Water

Among the most coveted reviews in book publicity are those from Publishers Weekly.  As book publicists for Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry by Andrew Nikiforuk (published by Greystone Books in partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation), we’re thrilled with the recent recognition our title received from PW.

“This book will infuriate its readers. In a dynamite example of investigative journalism, muckraker Nikiforuk (The Energy of Slaves) chronicles the environmental devastation wrought by the hydraulic fracking industry in Alberta and beyond. Nikiforuk frames his narrative through the struggles of oil industry consultant Jessica Ernst, the “insider” of the book’s subtitle who launched a $33-million-dollar (CAN$), multi-year lawsuit against Encana Energy and the Alberta government. Ernst’s battle against the oil and gas industry is both personal and political: Encana illegally fracked into aquifers near her home in Alberta’s badlands, causing methane gas to seep into drinking water, turning it into a flammable toxin, which Nikiforuk charges is not unusual behaviour for companies that frack (forcefully inject brine water into shales to release gas) across North America. In 14 gripping chapters, Nikiforuk follows Ernst’s multi-pronged assault on Big Energy, from hiring brass-knuckled lawyers, to exhaustively cataloguing the gas industry’s illegal shenanigans, to performing chemical tests on “slick water,” fracking’s toxic by-product. Nikiforuk peppers his rich narrative with a wealth of historical context about corruption in the industry he examines, making this book essential reading for every human whose soul is not clouded by methane or coated in oil.” –Publishers Weekly, November 2015

Publishers Weekly is a leading book industry trade publication and calls itself “The International News Source of Book Publishing and Bookselling.”

Contact Kathlene Carney at Carney & Associates to see how our publicity and media relations services can help promote your book or business.