critical campaigning steps

Defining the Problem


A well defined problem statement is specific and will help you keep your campaign focused. The Ocean Heroes 2020 Challenge is focused on single-use plastic water bottles, but that is part of a larger problem with single-use plastic. As a first step in the campaign process, you need to define the problem you wish to address. What is a specific way single-use plastic waste is being created in your community? Where do you want to focus your efforts? Be specific in what the problem is and how you are planning to solve it.

A Good Problem Statement is Focused

If you are an Ocean Hero, it's safe to assume you consider plastic in the ocean a problem. But in order to address and solve the larger plastic problem, you'll need to figure out how your community is specifically contributing to the problem, and what the best way to solve it is. Let's start with creating a good Problem Statement: A clear, concise statement of what the problem is.

Use the 5 Ws - Who, What, Where, When, Why - to help guide your problem statement. Below are a few good examples of problem statements from Ocean Hero Campaigns.

Ex 1. There are consistently SUP water bottles on the ground around trashcans in our town's public parks because the trashcans are full or because the bottles are light and get blown out. This is a problem because when it rains, these bottles end up in storm drains and eventually our waterways.

Ex 1. Our school's water fountains are gross so everyone buys water out of the vending machines. Most students drink one or two bottles of water per day, which really adds up! This is a problem because it's contributing to the plastic waste ending up in landfills and the oceans.

Ex 3. At our church, they provide the tiny single-use water bottles at every event and after church. There isn't even an option of using a paper or reusable cup to get a drink. This is a problem because they are small and people end up taking 2-3 at a time, which creates a LOT of plastic waste.

In Your Campaign Planner

For your Campaign, think carefully about the problem you have observed and how you would define it because this statement will help guide the rest of your plan. Write a clear problem statement. You may find that you need to revise it as you go.

Once you feel like you have a solid problem statement, the next step is to figure out how you're going to address it.