The world feels pretty broken right now. Climate change wreaks havoc on our health and safety. Battles escalate over pipelines that threaten communities. Children drink poisoned water. Meanwhile, "alternative facts" and propaganda swamp newsfeeds and sow deceit, sapping the energy and enthusiasm needed to face humanity's biggest challenges.
That's why we need Fixers -- bold problem solvers working toward a planet that doesn't burn and a future that doesn't suck. For the 2017 edition of the Grist 50, our annual list of emerging green leaders, we profiled 50 innovators with fresh, forward-thinking solutions to some of humanity's biggest challenges.
Progress might not make it to the top of your newsfeed, but we at Grist can see it, and we want to help readers see it, too.
Bring solutions to the fore
We crafted a two-part headline for each honoree profile to quickly capture why the story subject matters. The first sentence outlines a broader environmental or social problem, the second homes in on the person's solution.
Give smart people a mic
Every profile features a pull quote, a quick nugget of insight from the story subject. For the most Twitter-friendly quotes, we included share buttons.
There are a multitude of ways to fix the planet, from designing community solar gardens to building better septic systems to writing sketch comedy (no joke!). We made an effort to feature a cast of people and voices as diverse as their work.
One of the major goals of the Grist 50 is to raise the profiles of these individuals doing important work. With that in mind, we focused our social media efforts on Twitter -- a platform we knew would help draw the most attention around our honorees. Individualized social graphics and videos were created for the 50 honorees to share on their own feeds, as well as on the main @Grist account. We highlighted 10 honorees per day for five days so that their own social networks could help lift up the content, and so no one would get lost in the social media fray.
Recruit guest nominators
This year we enlisted Al Gore, celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, political commentator Van Jones, activist/model Cameron Russell, race car driver Leilani Munter, Grist members, and others to make guest selections to the list. The guest nominators not only chose relevant people -- they helped promote their Grist 50 picks in their social feeds.
Keep the stories alive
Our Fixers keep making news. We continue to update the bottom of each profile with links to the latest Grist stories about each subject.
Bring the Fixers together
On May 8, 2017, we brought together more than 30 members of the Grist 50 in Brooklyn for a day of meaningful connections, big thinking, and cross-sector learning. The event was a huge success, and participants are now part of a new Facebook group. Our goal: Regularly convene Grist 50 members in interactive, unexpected ways to help these leaders spark even more action.
The social campaign was driven by the 50 honorees and their excitement around the project, so our goal was to make it as easy as possible to share.
The hashtag #Grist50 reached over 12 million people on Twitter, according to data from Keyhole, 133,000 people on Facebook, and 36,000 people on our growing Instagram account. We accomplished this by creating shareable social graphics that included captivating photos and quotes from each Grist 50 honoree. Every honoree with a social presence shared the project, and we received social mentions from mega-influencers like Mark Ruffalo.
The Fixers are now connected through social media and real-world meetups, merging the acts of social engagement with tangible action. Because of our project and the social campaign behind it, these up-and-coming leaders have a platform to collaborate with each other on fixing today's tough problems.
What problems will they tackle first? Stay tuned!
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