There are all kinds of things that you can do in your town or city centre to get the word out. Getting out and about is a great way to give people information and talk to them about ways to show their support.

Whatever you choose to do, whether it’s one of the suggestions in this guide or something else, it would be great for you to take along action cards for people to sign the pledge and become part of the campaign.

Remember to take a signup sheet for people to stay in touch with your group too, and to take plenty of pictures and send them to cleanair@foe.co.uk

Stunts and stalls are a great way to catch the eye of the public and local media. There are plenty of ideas out there (you might be able to think of some great ones yourselves): 
 

1) Flowers in the town square

Healthy Air Leicester & Leicestershire has been running a phenomenal campaign for cleaner air in Leicester for quite a few years. One of their eye-catching stunts involved putting 250 daffodils in the city centre to represent the number of people who die prematurely as a result of dirty air in the city each year. 

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We can tell you the number of people who die early each year because of air pollution in your town, so you could do something similar. Email us at cleanair@foe.co.uk. This event did an incredible job of drawing attention to the campaign, including coverage in local press and on the BBC.

Here’s some top tips for how you could run a similar stunt in your town:

  1. Think about where might be good to do it – a public square or open space in the town centre that is well known is ideal
     
  2.  Check what permissions you need – contact the council to find out if you need to ask for permission
     
  3. Plan your date – when might be a timely time to do the stunt? Is there a council meeting coming up on the environment or even air pollution? Has pollution been prominent in the news? Could you do some research online to see if there any key events in the news coming up which will raise the profile of air quality issues? 
    Top tip: You might also want to wait until after you’ve had results back from any monitoring you may have done, or when you’ve built up lots of signatures on a petition
     
  4. Invite a local councillor along
     
  5. Take along plenty of information leaflets and action cards – or copies of your own petition if you have one
     
  6. Let the press know what you’re doing in good time, or send them photos and a press release afterwards
     

2)  Air-cleaning plants to bring your stall to life

We all know that stalls can benefit from eye-catching visuals to attract passers-by, but that can be tricky with an invisible problem like air pollution.

A couple of Friends of the Earth local groups have already used air-cleaning pot plants, like English Ivy, as an ice-breaker to start up conversations about air pollution. Although pot plants are used to clean up the air inside our homes, activists have found that they can be used as a ‘way in’ to talking about the pollution outside, too.

You could also plan a plant giveaway for the end of the day, or offer them as a thank you for donations. Some Friends of the Earth activists had great success trying this out at a stall in the busy Whitechapel Market in East London.

We can send you some labels which can be attached to the pots so that people can find out more information when they get home – write to cleanair@foe.co.uk to request some labels. 

Winchester Friends of the Earth have put together this handy guide sheet to the best plants for cleaning air pollution. 

3) Activity poster – who’s exposed to the most air pollution?

This is designed to get people thinking, and talking, about the effects of air pollution. Ask people to decide who in the picture they think is being exposed to the most air pollution and why.

You could display this poster somewhere prominent (see above for tips on where to set up your activities) and ask passers-by to decide who in the picture they think is being exposed to the most air pollution and why.

The thing to make clear is that they all suffer to some degree, but surprisingly, the baby in the car could well be experiencing the most pollution. In some cases, it’s been found that pedestrians or cyclists are often exposed to less air pollution than people in vehicles. The ventilation system that sends air up into the car often sucks in dirty air directly from the exhaust of the car in front, and then traps it inside.

This can be a great way to start talking about the issues and get people to sign up and join the campaign.

Download the poster.

More information can be found here: 
http://www.healthyair.org.uk/healthiest-transport-option-video/ 

http://road.cc/content/news/129814-testing-mps-reveals-worst-air-pollution-inside-cars
 

Top tip

Familiarise yourself with the 6 killer facts about air pollution before starting to talk to people. You'll feel more confident in what you're saying and it will prepare you with answers to some of the questions people may have. [ we need to link to a pdf of the poster which supports this – and ultimately get it designed up!]

Credit: http://www.healthyair.org.uk/healthiest-transport-option-video/

Transport is the main contributor to air pollution in our cities, and how we move around in them can have huge consequences for how much air pollution we are exposed to. The Healthy Air Campaign teamed up with King's College London, Camden Council and London cyclist, Vivienne Westwood, to see which travel options are the healthiest.

 

Organise a Playing Out day and close your street to traffic

A great way to raise awareness about air pollution in your community is to organise a playing out session on your street. This is when a residential street is closed to traffic for a few hours, allowing children to play safely and freely and for neighbours to meet and get to know each other. They’re really simple to organise and there’s lots of guidance and support on the Playing Out website at www.playingout.net

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You’ll need to contact your local council to find out if you can apply to close your street. The policy varies across the UK so make sure you check that it’s possible near you first.

It's not only great for the community to get people and children out and about having fun on their street, it's great for raising awareness about the health impacts of air pollution too.

It's a great opportunity to talk to local people, generate some press coverage and do something fun for clean air.
 

Here’s a few simple steps to get you started. Please refer to the Playing Out website for everything you need to know.

  1. Think about your own street and its layout. Sometimes it works best to close a section rather than a whole street.
     
  2. Approach residents on your street to talk about the idea and gather views. (if you've already got contacts within the street they'd be a good place to start, otherwise you could do a leaflet drop and invite people to a meeting to discuss the idea). Make sure you give people time to ask questions and raise concerns.
     
  3. Get permission and support – once you're sure there's enough interest, you'll need to write to the council for permission to close the road.
     
  4. Think about inviting local councillors to come along and get involved.
     
  5. Tell everyone and get ready. Publicise the time and date to everybody on your street.
     
  6. Recruit stewards to help keep the road safe. This could include people from your local group if you’re part of one, but should be mainly residents who children are familiar with.
     
  7. As long as residents on your street are happy with publicity you could let the local media know what’s happening by sending a press release. Ask them to send a photographer or take some photos on the day with a good quality camera or smart phone.
     
  8. Have fun. And don’t forget to tell people about ways they can get involved with the campaign. You might want to take along some leaflets and action cards about the Ditch Diesel pledge – plus information about your group - to give people some more information.