This week I saw a news item that gave me reason to cheer: a study finds that the Chesapeake Bay dead zones are coming back to life. This was done by reducing the fertilizer, animal waste and other pollutants.
There is a wonderful and creative campaign to get people around the Chesapeake Bay to change their behavior. Lawn fertilizer runoff into the bay was having a devastating impact on that ecosystem. The Chesapeake Club reframed the issue as culinary, focusing on the iconic Blue Crab. They engaged with local lawn care companies, restaurants and others to encourage residents to switch from fertilizing their lawns in the spring when the heavy rains washed much of the fertilizer into the bay. The club’s “Save the Crabs. Then Eat ‘Em” campaign simply asked people to “fertilize in the fall.”
And according to the new findings, it’s beginning to work!
(A full description of the campaign is in Kotler and Lee’s book Social Marketing.)