Vivid pictures of sea animals with plastic around their necks. The startling statistic that there’ll be more plastic in the ocean than marine life by 2050 (by weight which is even more scary considering how light plastic is).
You’ve seen the pictures and heard the stats.
I’m working with UN Environment to train trainers on how to reduce communities’ use of plastic. We need to mobilize young people in 6 countries quickly but we have a small team.
The risk is participants will rely on vertical relationships (e.g. with our team) and not build connections, share resources and capacity amongst themselves.
The goal is to build capacity within the youth teams and have them be able to contact each other and collaborate.
But how to do that without having them have to go through us?
I decided to try a new (for me) tech tool. I wanted the participants to be able to contact each other, motivate each other and collaborate, all without having to contact our tiny team.
I designed a simple Google form to gather basic data including some bio data (name, city/village/town, country), how many people each group leader was setting out to train, an action they pledged to take, and a challenge to other groups.
Then I downloaded the free add-on called Mapping Sheets.
Mapping Sheets takes the data from the Google form and populates a Google map. The spiffy thing is, each pin the map becomes a data set so viewers can see that person’s information, including their contact information, challenge etc.
You can see the results here. At the time of this writing, 213 groups had registered.
Pros, Cons and a Caveat
Pros to using mapping sheets:
- It’s an easy tech tool with a variety of uses
- It promotes collaboration and sharing of information
- It’s visually appealing
A caveat to using Mapping Sheets:
- It’s important to let participants know ahead of time that if they fill in the bio data on the Google form that it will be made public on a map. I stated this several times; at the top of the Google form and for each bio data question. I also made it clear that if they didn’t want to share their bio data they of course didn’t have to.
Cons to using Mapping Sheets:
- The map doesn’t’ automatically update when there are new responses in the Google Form, you have to manually update it. This is fast and easy but you have to remember to do it.
What about you? Do you have any data that you could map?
How about mapping:
- Participants in a workshop
- Locations of resources (e.g. parks, youth friendly spaces, community centres)
- Team offices (if you have a geographically diverse team)
- A digital treasure hunt – the physical location of something, like monuments, places people dream of visiting …. The sky is the limit
Next time you want to map something, give Mapping Sheets a try. It’s fast, easy, free and friendly to use.
Want a good overview of the state of Plastic Pollution? Check out this video that we use in our trainings: Plastic Pollution: How Humans are Turning the World into Plastic. Then look at ways you can reduce the use of plastic. We’ll be rooting for you.