Eco-ideas can be contagious – shows an examples collected from various countries

All forms of art can be an efficient mean to spread values and ideas important to influence people’s minds and have an effect on their ways of thinking and living, thus generating some sort of change that may drive to reduce the impact of human being on the environment. Art, in fact, thanks to its huge power of communication and capacity of interpreting the contemporaneity is particularly indicated to diffuse a message among young generations, which are the ones who can really change reality.

The Power of Music

History demonstrates how important artists like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Pink Floyd or Bruce Springsteen – just to give some examples – could spread their message among millions of people around the world. That’s way we consider music as an important resource for communicating with a huge public about global ecological problems and suggesting possible solutions.

In Italy, the Spazzatour – a pun between the Italian word “spazzatura” (rubbish) and the English “Tour” – is proposing the idea that waste may be reused in order to create sound and then music, thanks to creativity. This technique, known as “junk music”, has been the characteristic of the seven bands involved in the tour. After building their own instruments from used objects they travelled around Italy and played in front of a considerable public. Then beer kegs and trays were used to compose drums, drawers and griddles would make a guitar and all together create a symphony, surrounded by trash cans used as percussions.

This suggests the idea that objects can have a second chance for a use beyond their normal life-cycle and shift the attention to the relationship between production and waste. In this way, it is possible to stimulate a reflection about the human responsibility about too high consumption and its environmental consequences in a critical but creative manner.

Another good example how by using art to raise awareness through the media on the global ecological problems – the “Play For Nature” band in Turkey.

The connection between nature – the universality of the problems of nature, becoming a source and shelter for the humans – and music – the universality of music and the fact that the common language of all the people – was the starting point of this project.

Music: common, full of energy, lets you listen to itself or passes in the background to exist on the sly. With the ones who brings discord to world, the ones who just settle to spectate are also responsible in a similar manner, as we have to find and implement solutions, we should remember them and to remind them of this on every occasion.

Fırat Çavaş gathered 45 musicians who were born in different provinces, live in different places, have very different lives just to once again remind everyone the existing facts: “Play For Nature”!

"Nature" may mean forests for some, for some it may mean "lost plant flora", for some it may mean "hungry and thirsty dogs and cats which are living on the streets and longing for a home" and for some it may mean "to say STOP! To the destruction of Hasankeyf, our great cultural heritage". Because the nature covers all of them and a concept which is greater than all of them.

The “Play For Nature” team and its activities could find places in numerous media foundations. Took a part in Turkey's the most important news channel TRT 2, “Play For Nature” video was published in the Haftanın Renkleri Program in LİG TV.

Arts as a Way of Reaching Out

As we see, people really do care for the environment – they make these considerations a part of their life, using creativity to transform themselves and the world. This process is not exclusive only to the people and we‘re seeing various institutions involving themselves in spreading environmental awareness.

One such example can be seen in the case of the municipality of the city of Kaunas of Lithuania. Each year the city of Kaunas in Lithuania puts up a grand Christmas tree, sometimes a full tree, other times it is made from only branches. However, on the year of 2012 the Municipality opted for a different kind of tree – one made from green plastic bottles. The bottles themselves came from many local companies which use them, they were all deemed not fit to use and would eventually would have been thrown away, so no additional damage was done to the environment by using these bottles.

“Before all else, I am an artist. Like all artists, we were looking for something different. I have been “getting acquainted” with plastic for a long time – the colour really attracted me. Secondly, the most important idea of this tree is: how can you use a simple, useless objects, which could even be considered as disgusting, trash and make a miracle out of it?”, said the creator of the Christmas tree Jolanta Šmidtienė.

This recycled Christmas tree received huge amounts of attention not only from locals, but also from the international press and this process culminated in the nomination of this tree to the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest plastic sculpture in the world. The final sculpture was 18 meters high – 16 m. for the tree itself and the 2 m. for the star shaped ornament on top, more than 40 thousand plastic bottles were used in its production.

Another example from Lithuania is the “CO2 Green Drive” – a parade of artistic bicycles. Transportation, especially personal transportation is one of the most debated areas among environmentalists. The hard line stance of these activists is making very hard for the general public to involve themselves in these actions and there is a clear need for new approaches to these problems.

To find recourse from the current state of affairs, cyclists from Vilnius decided to use creativity – by organizing the first artistic bicycle parade in Lithuania called “CO2 Green Drive”. The main idea of the whole endeavour was to take cycling and issues of congestion, lack of bicycle paths and personal transportation choices to the public by using creative approaches.

The organizers of this event, the public organization “Degantis žmogus” organized weekly workshops for people to customize, paint, repair and create their own artistic bicycles in weekly workshops titled “Who Did That to My Bike?!” for the period of a couple months. The parade itself had several parts to it: the planned route for the parade was in the shape of a CO2 sign and the participants tracked their progress on a smartphone app. The slogan for the whole parade was: “The city is your canvas, your bike is your brush, and the smartphone GPS is your paint”. This event gathered not only much attention from the press and residents of the city, by using the workshops and creativity, the event has a base of dedicated supporters who will gather to do the same next year.

Lifestyles that Attract

Attracting the attention of the people and the media can also be done in other ways. In Hungary the art of different living is popularised by the Ecological Institute for Sustainable Development.

The aim of the Institute is to promote the concept of sustainable development, development of the culture related to it, education toward a global attitude and the elaboration of the practical aspects of sustainable development through these tools.

The Institute developed a model programme in the village of Gömörszőlős with only 70 residents which stimulates the local economy by boosting demand while also promotes the sustainable way of living. The model programme achieved the goal by building a self-sustainable training complex in the village where training courses are organized; the courses achieve a shift in attitude of the participants and boost local handicraft industry by boosting demands for goods produced locally.

The institute actively promote the sustainable lifestyle by producing a series of videos available at its website and also distributed via DVDs. Apart from those, the institute actively seek presence in the mainstream media and on the web, and film festivals, disseminating the philosophy to a wide audience. Many people come to this village only to learn more about a different way of living as well as the philosophy of sustainable development.


All of these good practices were collected during Grundtvig project “Earth S.O.S. through Eco-Creativity”. The project is funded by the European Commission. This article reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.