For the purposes of this creative media campaign, I developed a series of three infographics aimed to advocate for an eco-friendly shift in Colorado’s Cannabis Industry. I chose to hypothetically coordinate with the National Geographic Society as they have a well developed and highly recognized educational platform that disseminates information on a variety of topics including science, engineering, and technology. They have also written extensively on the cannabis industry as a whole. Additional ‘partners’ and ‘messengers’ for this advocacy project include The Resource Innovation Institute, a firm that provides tools for resource efficiency and best practice measures in the cannabis industry, as well as the Cannabis Conservancy, a group that focuses on research surrounding sustainable agricultural practices and from where I sourced a significant amount of information displayed on the graphics below. The infographics are targeted at three specific audiences respectively rather than one general audience: (1) Coloradans who may be interested in learning more about how the cannabis industry is energy and water intensive; (2) cannabis cultivators [both established and new businesses entering the market] that want to make significant changes to their business practices moving forward in the name of the environment; and (3) policy decision makers at the local and state level who understand the need to shift this intensive industry in such a way that is socially, economically, and environmentally viable within the state of Colorado and who may be curious as to how they can successfully implement legislative changes in this niche business.
The following infographics were developed from the point of view of a sustainability consultant and activist (as in myself) advocating for an environmentally friendly transition in the cannabis industry in Colorado. In theory, the editors and producers within the National Geographic Society and the Resource Innovation Institute have agreed to release these educational graphics on all social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. on April 20 through April 22, 2021 and to include them in their April 2021 monthly magazine issue for two specific reasons. The first being that April 20th has been internationally recognized as an unofficial-official holiday for anything and everything related to cannabis from the legalization and liberalization to consumption and artistic creations. The second reason is that April 22 is Earth Day – an international celebration that aims to demonstrate the support for environmental protection across all sectors of society. After carefully reviewing data analysis on ratings and viewership, the partners and I decided that this coordinated effort will have significant reach when the graphics are released on the above mentioned dates. Although this project is specifically geared towards the industry in Colorado, it is our hope that we will inspire people around the world to see what is being done in Colorado and perhaps alter the guidance provided in such a way that is geared towards the cannabis operations occurring in their own unique geographic locations and political environments. What better way to advocate for a justifiable movement within the cannabis industry than to release the content all in the same week that encourages sustainable innovation, equitable access, and justice for all?
The following media content serves as “original data” for this project given that they consist of photos and animated digital renderings from a visit to Pot Zero, a carbon free marijuana cultivation farm that utilizes renewable energy and regenerative practices in Gypsum, Colorado. These images would be displayed on the back of the infographics displayed above [if they were to be printed out physically in the form of a informational pamphlet] to demonstrate how CU Boulder students actively sought out a company within the cannabis industry that is consistently raising the bar on sustainable practices in order to minimize or offset the ecological consequences of an otherwise energy and water intensive industry. Education is key. Pot Zero is one of the few companies within the state of Colorado that have overcome the many regulatory and industry related challenges related to developing an eco-friendly framework. It is important to highlight that companies like Pot Zero can be leaders for the change that is needed in this industry. Displaying the content on the infographics can further convey the message to cannabis consumers, policy decision makers, and cultivators that it is possible to shift towards a holistic model if we all work together in a progressive manner.
(Rico Foucauld – Pot Zero in Gypsum, CO – 2019)