Public Awareness

The mission plan includes many aspects of everyday life changing and change isn't an easy thing to instigate. Therefore we are proposing an entirely new public awareness campaign to work in conjunction with the new programs we are putting in place. This campaign will focus on different ways to increase public acceptance of the overall water sustainability changes in practice.

A new nationwide youth competition will be instituted. Conservation efforts must start on the consuming end. People must start saving water in their daily activities. The approach to initiate change at the grassroots level will be through teenagers in the nation's high schools. Save America's Water Youth Competition (SAWYC) will be an annual competition taking place in all fifty states. This competition will cost 6.5 million dollars annually and funds will be taken from the cap and trade system as proposed in our economics section.

This money could be used in so many different ways, but we choose to invest this money in the future, as our children are often called. By placing this money in the hands of high schoolers we also accomplish two things at once. First of all we will develop public awareness campaigns as described below. Second we will encourage many more students to become involved with the water crisis at an intimate level. By encouraging students to develop public awareness campaigns the students will also have to research the water problem and ideally they will all become more involved with the solution process. The aim of this program is to get more students interested in the water shortage and for them to develop their own way of helping. Our hope is that each student will know their own strengths and will use these to help save the west's water. Out of these students should come engineers that will develop more efficient desalinization plants, think tanks that will come up with new ideas for waste water treatment, political activists that will help the United States and Mexico form better water treaties, and many more. The first step is to get students interested in the problem.

The first thing SAWYC will accomplish is a way for the United States to develop water conservation programs like the Ad council campaigns without being a strictly government program. However, television campaigns are not the only programs that students will develop. This program includes a large leeway for imagination and we hope that students will take full advantage of this fact. This competition should result in many different types of programs, campaigns, public meetings, and any other form of water education that the students would like to develop. Essentially, the competition will put forth new ideas to educate the public about water and the student-made campaigns will be used across their state and throughout the nation as public service announcements and programs.

Each year the competition will take on a different theme in water conservation. The theme will be chosen based on the most pressing water problem as decided by a volunteer board. The first theme will be water conservation and future themes will include but are not be limited to: popularizing the use of effluent; demonstrating local water supply shortages, portraying groundwater as a finite and disappearing water source, dispelling myths of health problems in water supply, increasing knowledge of pharmaceuticals/caffeine/estrogen in water supplies, and eating less water intensive diets. Students may utilize any medium to convey their message to the public including brochures, fact sheets, commercials, Ad-council type campaigns, newspaper articles, museum exhibits, and whatever else students wish to design. The only requisites are to stay with the theme and to create a feasible design.

Each state will have two winning groups. The first place group will receive a $6,000 prize and the second place group will receive a $4,000 prize. These numbers were chosen because Mission 2012 wants to give teenagers a huge incentive to help save water resources and to get involved with this global problem. Groups will have an average of four members and prizes will be shared equally. As a further incentive to participate, each state will be given $35,000 to fund a minimum of ten grants, thus encouraging students from all areas of society to participate in this issue that affects the entire socioeconomic spectrum. These grants may be used to aid the students in the creation of their campaign. For example, students will be able to purchase a decent video camera and film editing program within the $3,500 range if they wish to create a thirty second televised public service announcement about conserving water.

The final part of the competition will come after the winners from each state have been determined. First place teams from each state will be flown, free of personal charge, to Washington D.C. for a five day conference. During the conference, students will experience the sites of the capital; hear from leaders in the field of water conservation, especially those related to the year's theme; and attend leadership, solution planning, and arts workshops. The arts workshops will include lessons on things like film editing and directing, brochure design, and establishing creative public meetings/hearings, all of which are important aspects to public campaigns.

The final step for the board that will be organizing this entire endeavor will be to put the students' public campaigns into action. With the remaining 1-2 million dollars, the board will place television ads on prime time television throughout the country and will hold public hearings with student made brochures and many other such actions. Both the winning and second place teams will have the thrill of having their work used and a public awareness campaign. Although the creation of the public awareness campaigns is important, this final product consists of the real final hurrah. Here students realized that they can actually make a difference because their material will be used on a nationwide scale. For themes which have a more local focus, the final product will obviously not be used throughout the nation, but seeing the student made campaign will still be an incredible accomplishment for the students.