As I mentioned in my last article on World Environment Day, I posted a question on the United Nations Environment Programme web site voicing my disappointment on the media coverage for WED in the UK, and asking about media support for such events.

Here is my question, and also the reply I received from Naomi Poulton, who was actively involved in the organisation of WED:

Hi Naomi

I only learned about WED today, and find that the coverage of such an important day has still been ‘underwhelming’ - at least in the UK Media. I’m disappointed I didn’t know sooner as I would have found an active way to take part.

Do you find that you get the support you need from the media in communicating about this event, or is it still a battle to get the coverage you deserve?

 Here’s Naomi’s answer:
I am sorry you have found the coverage of World Environment Day ‘underwhelming’ in the UK. We have actually found that this year there has been unprecedented interest in the theme, ‘Kick the Habit. Towards a Low Carbon Economy’ and that the interest has been global. Long before the actual day, we have had individuals, companies and communities anxious to use our WED logo and promotional material and to support our activities in many ways. If you look at the WED site under activities around the world you will see some of the interest. The UK, for example, has about 40 entries nationwide. Indeed, although the main event was held in Wellington, New Zealand this year, we have had coverage by most of the major wires such as Reuters, AFP, Bloomberg and AP and in relation to the UK, there has been pick-up by the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, and we hope many others.
I think that we will see more coverage once the ‘magazine’ and radio media undertake feature articles on some of the European WED events that have taken place in Paris, Vienna, Bonn and Geneva to supplement the Wellington event. I do believe we may lose some coverage in that the media pick up on the theme of WED and don’t necessarily refer to UNEP at the same time. The connection to UNEP or the UN is occasionally not made but we are pleased if the ‘message’ gets out.Finally, although you may have missed out on activities on the DAY, you have the rest of your life to work towards reducing your own carbon footprint and to encouraging others to work towards a low carbon lifestyle. Thank you.

A reasonable reply, and I’m happy to see that Naomi backs up the title of my last article: Every Day is World Environment Day. Still, I’m not sure if she fully picked up on the key point I was making, which was that there is not enough ‘teasing’ of these events. There was good coverage on the day, and I have even seen some since, but what you really need to see is what you get when a new film comes out or a new music cd - articles all about the ‘event’ as much as a month before, building up awareness, getting more people involved, etc. I read at least 3 different newspapers on a daily basis as well as regularly browsing the BBC, and I saw nothing about WED until the day.

Anyway as I said, it’s in the diary now for next year, with a week’s warning too, so I at any rate will start teasing it in. In fact, I think I’m going to build up a diary of all ‘Environment’ events and set up a free teaser service. If I can get word out there, it might start to make a difference, so do let me know about any events I should note down.