The China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF) needed a public service campaign to deliver the message that everyone should do their bit for the environment.
China is now the world’s largest car market, with over 500 million vehicles on the road. Vehicles now account for 40% of China’s carbon monoxide emissions. CEPF, China’s oldest environmental non-profit organisation, wanted to encourage people to walk more and drive less, and to make them think about their actions in their daily life. It came up with the Green Pedestrian Crossing, using the footpath and road as its canvas. Placed at several busy street crossings in Shanghai during a national holiday, the 13 x 7-meter installation covered the pedestrian crossing with a large leafless tree. On either side of the crossing were sponges containing quick-drying green paint. Pedestrians approaching the crossing would step onto the sponge and soak up some of the paint. As they crossed the road, the soles of their shoes would make green imprints onto the tree image on the ground – each footprint adding to the canvas like leaves on bare branches. The initial rollout in Shanghai was so successful that it was then carried out in cities throughout China.
More than 3.92 million pedestrians participated in the exercise, which attracted significant media interest: more than 300,000 re-directed visits and 50,000 posts on Sina Weibo (China’s Twitter equivalent). Research revealed that general public awareness of environmental protection had increased by 86%.