What is the Colorado Water Plan?
The Colorado Water Plan was created in 2015, it is a 30-year plan giving guidelines to water preservation and protection in the state. Colorado’s beauty is vast with bodies of water that are susceptible to contamination from fracking, mining, agricultural run-off, and pollution. Beyond that, Colorado’s population is quickly expanding, expected to be 10 million people by 2026. The water conservation board states that “our current statewide water trajectory is neither desirable nor sustainable” (Atcheson). The state must have enough water to be able to provide for the growing population. The Colorado Water Plan encourages recycling to reduce water pollution, modernize agriculture to limit runoff, increase water conservation, as well as fund restoration projects for already damaged water. It would take about $100 million annually to fund this plan. Although this sounds like an astronomical price, Colorado’s annual state budget is $32.5 Billion, with $12.2 billion going into a “general fund”. This fund is up to the state legislature’s jurisdiction where to put the money. Last year, the Colorado Water Fund only received $30 million, not enough to effectively save Colorado’s water. Receiving the $100 million to fund the plan would only be .8% of the Colorado General Fund. Youth have the power to use their voice to demand change. Today, social media is a place where political activism is communicated and spread with vigor. Through the use of hashtags, infographics, and accounts, political awareness comes to life on social media. The youth of Colorado have the power to demand the Colorado Water Plan be fully funded, by raising awareness on social media. This has the power to lead youth to speak to their senators about their beliefs, vote for environmentally progressive candidates, educate themselves, and spread awareness about this issue.
Read more about the Colorado Water Plan and how the youth should stand up for it here:
Social Media Campaign #FundCWP
I have made an Instagram account to spread awareness about the Colorado plan, and encourage political activism among Colorado Youth. In today’s day-and-age, it’s important to make social media pages modern, easy to understand, and aesthetically pleasing. I named the page @fundcwp. I added a bio stating, “Use your voice to help fund the Colorado Water Plan using the hashtag #fundCWP.” I find this hashtag to be short enough to read, recognize, and get our point across. I consistently referred to the Colorado Water Plan as CWP, so that the followers of my page can understand the acronym. I made the account a business account so that it can be labeled as an “Environmental Conservation Organization”. I added a simple profile picture, with CWP in bold letters, so it is easily recognizable. From there, I created 2 posts and 3 stories. I tried to keep them informational but short. I added the hashtag #fundCWP to my posts. On one of them, I added a few more hashtags, such as #conservation, #water, and #colorado. By putting my post under these tags, I am hoping that people with these interests will see and follow #fundCWP. I put my Op-ed regarding the Colorado Water Plan in the bio, as this article gives much more information about the issue than a post is able to communicate. I always gave photo credits to the owners of the Colorado nature photos I used as aesthetic backgrounds, to avoid copyright. Below is the Instagram account, as well as the photos and stories I created:
I sent out a survey to groups of youth who are at voting age, ages 18-25. This is my target audience, I am surveying how likely a social media campaign would impact this age group, and how involved they are in politics. The results I received were in favor of social media being able to make an impact for the Colorado Water Plan.
I asked how likely the person is to post on social media about a political/social movement they believe in. On a scale from 1-5, 5 being the extremely likely and 1 being extremely unlikely, the youth voted 27.8% 4 (likely), and 33.3% 5 (extremely likely). This means to me that if I got people to care enough about a topic, the majority of the youth would be willing to post about the topic.
When asked if they have used a hashtag about a political/social movement, 61.1% said yes. This gives me hope that the #fundCWP could be successful and used among the youth.
94.4% of my participants said they were registered to vote, with 77.8% responding that they have voted in their lifetime. To me, this says that when speaking out to younger populations on social media, there is an audience. These people have registered or are engaged in voting, and they can be influenced by the politically educational content that they see on social media.
72.2% of young adults said they were extremely likely to vote in a state election, with 22.2% saying it is likely. 44.4% agreed that a candidate’s stance on sustainability is important to them. This gave me great hope, as votes supporting the Colorado Water Plan would require state officials to be elected that support a sustainable agenda.
Finally, 50% of respondents agreed that government-level change can be made through social media, and 66.7% believed that government-level change can be made through the power of their vote. The remaining 33.3% said “uncertain” to this. No one said “no” to their vote not making an impact. This leads me to believe that these youth feel motivated to make their voice heard through social media or their vote. If they are not 100% motivated, I believe some are undetermined enough to influence their opinion. Considering that my survey respondents are likely to post and use hashtags regarding issues they care about, the majority are registered to vote, are likely to vote in a state election, as well as care about environmental issues, I believe that a social media campaign highlighting an important environmental and political topic has the potential to make an impact.
I feel confident in my plan considering the aesthetic nature, defined hashtag, and easy-to-understand Instagram page. I believe that my posts are straight to the point and encourage making a difference through voting, reaching out to senators, and spreading the word. The young people I surveyed believe in making political statements on social media and are active voters. Ott and Mack state that due to interpellation, we internalize our culture’s values. This means that as we continue to live in the world around us, we may not be as unique as we realize. We are constantly subconsciously forming to our culture’s norms. Currently, our society values social media. The world of media is constantly evolving and changing. We must learn to keep up with this evolution, grow with it rather than fight against it. The future of political movement lies in social media, it’s where the youth of America are listening, as well as using their voice. In a poem called “The inner net” by David Bowden, he states that “Fire can be used for warmth or destruction”. He said this in reference to the internet, as this encompasses social media, I found this quote relevant. Social media has negative effects. It creates false images of people, encourages materialism and consumerism. The poet states “humans are most disconnected when we are most connected online”. I believe that when the youth come together in a moment of political awareness and activism, this idea of social media being negative dissolves. Standing up for a cause, being an active member of our political system, and spreading awareness through the power of social media is using the fire of the internet for warmth rather than destruction.
Ott, B. L., & Mack, R. L. (2020). Critical media studies: An introduction. John Wiley & Sons.
Atcheson, K. (2019, July 26). Colorado’s Water Plan is Making a Splash. Retrieved July 22, 2020, from https://conservationco.org/2015/11/19/blog-colorados-water-plan-is-making-a-splash/
Safeguarding Water. (2020, January 28). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://advocateswest.org/safeguarding-water
The Colorado Water Plan: What You Need to Know – Conservation CO. (2020, February 29). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://conservationco.org/2020/02/27/blog-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-colorado-water-plan/
Water Quality: Colorado Water Knowledge: Colorado State University. (n.d.). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://waterknowledge.colostate.edu/hydrology/water-quality/
Bowden, David (2012). “The Inner Net” – Are We Moving towards a Hyper Connected or Disconnected World? Retrieved July 23, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph8HqYrrBfM