An ingenious piece of artwork created by Chinese pedestrians as they crossed the streets of Shanghai won the Grand Prix at the Green Awards in London in 2010. The awards, which also honoured Sir David Attenborough with a Life Time Achievement Award and Futerra with the UN for their International year of Biodiversity campaign, chose the China Environmental Protection Foundation’s Walk More Drive Less road graffiti for “the creativity exhibited by the campaign and the simple and effective use of local knowledge.”
On seven pedestrian crossings in Shanghai an enormous drawing of a bare tree was placed in the middle of the road. As people crossed the street they walked over a patch of green paint which then spread their green footprints across the canvas, painting the branches of the tree with leaf footprints.
The campaign was “targeted at young people who chose to drive over walking.” The gigantic posters were then moved from the street to vertical billboards on nearby buildings to advertise that walking is greener than driving.
According to the China Environmental Protection Foundation the campaign reached an impressive “3.92 million people and increased general public awareness about environmental awareness by 86%.” They commented on the campaign by saying: “With the great help of DDB China Group’s outstanding creativity, we successfully planned and carried out the Green Pedestrian Crossing campaign. It demonstrated to the public that even an ordinary moment could be “green,” and that taking one small step can make a significant contribution to protecting the environment.”
It seemed significant that in the first year of the Green Awards going global that the big prize should be won by a global creative agency, DDB, in one of the biggest countries in the world, which is also crucially the number 1 emitter of CO2.
By: Leonora Oppenheim