Design is a powerful tool for activism, WDCD Live São Paulo speakers will show

‘Use creativity to give sustainable behaviour a fighting chance’

Published in Climate Action by

Environmental activism can take many forms, as we will see at WDCD Live São Paulo. Pentagram partner Naresh Ramchandani and’s director for Latin America Nicole Oliveira both take their own approach to campaigning for the environment. The latter puts her own life at risk.

Saving the planet has everything to do with awareness. People first have to know the facts, before they will come into action. In 2007, copywriter and partner of design firm Pentagram Naresh Ramchandani, decided to harness the persuasive power of design for the good of the planet, and co-founded Do The Green Thing, an environmental charity that uses playful and provocative means to encourage people to live greener lives.

Sustainable lifestyle

‘It’s design that helps to convince us that we need exotic holidays or this year’s shoes or this month’s phone,’ Ramchandani says. ‘Equally, deployed well, design can help to convince us that holidays at home are as special as holidays overseas, that last year’s shoes are worth keeping and that last month’s phone is not any worse than this month’s. That’s our manifesto: to use creativity to give sustainable behaviour a fighting chance.’

Do The Green Thing has spent the last decade working with the global community of creatives to make films, posters, podcasts and products that have inspired more than 45 million people to live more sustainably. The web platform has been many things: filmmaker, poster curator, product commissioner, glove collector, music video producer and now, Issue publisher releasing editorial arguments, illustrations and campaigns every two months.

Fossil-fuel divestment

Meanwhile, Nicole Oliveira, director of in Latin America, combines raising public awareness about climate change in the region with’s fight for fossil-fuel divestment in Brazil. ‘Stop fossil fuels. Build 100% renewables’ is the organization’s clear message.

It’s a dangerous message too in a country that is in fact the most violent place on the planet to fight for the environment. According to a list published by the Guardian in collaboration with Global Witness already 43 defenders of the environment haven been killed in Brazil this year, more than 25% of all fallen activists worldwide. Since the counting started in 2015 142 environmentalists found death in Brazil alone.

Still, Oliveira is steadfast: ‘The deforestation of the Amazon is reaching a point of no return. We have to stop investing in harmful industries right now, and start investing in things like renewable energy and small-scale agriculture. Drought, floods, typhoons, hurricanes, blizzards and heat waves are signs that more will happen if nothing is done.’

Top image: posters for Do The Green Thing by David Shrigley, Paula Scher, sir Paul Smith

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