Oxfam A – Development

Carbon Selfie

During the second meeting, we decided that one of the strongest ideas for this brief could be the idea of ‘Greenwashing’ and how a company, or entity might signal that they are green but in fact have an underlying carbon footprint. For example, using online streaming services, such as Spotify are actually worse for the environment than producing physical media in plastic, owing to the amount of energy it takes to send content over the internet (Blistein, 2019), and the use of cotton ‘tote’ bags over their plastic equivalent also have a pretty significant cost and need to be reused over 120 times for the offset to take effect (Edgington, 2019).

Aiming to stick with an online impact, we discussed the impact of the internet on the environment and there are figures that suggest that it contributes around 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions (Griffiths, 2020). Where this relates to the ‘Your Street & Climate Change’ brief could be in raising awareness of this impact as it impacts all of us; we are all users of the internet, social media and mobile devices so all are contributing to this significant effect on climate change.

How do you raise awareness?

My idea is to create a viral social media campaign that could include short mobile device advertisements, hashtags, and even Instagram and/or Snapchat filters. It is worth noting however, that this would also have an impact on the environment by its very nature so it would be important to weight the cost/benefit of such a campaign. Ultimately, I believe that in order to cut-through in today’s online world, it is important to use the platform that everyone is currently engaged with – or risk such a campaign being ignored.

The goal of such a campaign might be to set a date where people could take part in a ‘world social media detox’ in a similar way to how the ‘Earth Hour’ works. This would focus on internet use.

Testing my idea
Figure 1: Phil Hill (October, 2020) Initial test for a viral video campaign.

To play with the idea of a viral social media campaign, I decided to utilise the statistics and see how that might look in the format of a quick video that would appear in the timeline of a social media app (Fig: 1). I feel that there is potential for a kind of interruption of the usual scrolling that takes place and may even have some kind of interaction with after they have uploaded a selfie.

I used a series of selfie images as a stand in for anything produced for the campaign that cycle quickly through to denote the amount of images uploaded to the internet every second. The text ‘Did you know that your #selfie costs 3.7% of the world’s greenhouse emissions’ is animated and plays through the duration of the short video. In order to give this additional clarity, I added a green layer in between with an 80% opacity, which also creates a link to Oxfam branding.

This is an initial test, so completely rough. The text could benefit from being slightly faster and there is also opportunity to add additional copy, such as the source of the statistics and additional Oxfam Branding.


Blistein, J., 2019. Is Streaming Music Dangerous to the Environment? One Researcher Is Sounding the Alarm. [Online] Available at: https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-features/environmental-impact-streaming-music-835220/ [Accessed 7 October 2020].

Edgington, T., 2019. Plastic or paper: Which bag is greener?. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47027792 [Accessed 7 October 2020].

Griffiths, S., 2020. Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think. [Online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200305-why-your-internet-habits-are-not-as-clean-as-you-think [Accessed 7 October 2020].

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