Tuesday, June 19, 2012

How to Get Your Message Out

"The Things to do are: the things that need doing, that you see need to be done, and that no one else seems to see need to be done." - R. Buckminster Fuller
 The cheapest and easiest way to get a message out to a whole lot of people is to paint a bunch of signs and put them up on freeways.
(Signs posted in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley, Sacramento and Marin)


The Melting North

These signs were made with about a dozen bike boxes, an overhead projector, duct tape, and about thirteen dollars worth of paint.
All of them fit into the back of my Prius.
While large signs on overpasses make for good photographs, they tend to come down much sooner than smaller signs placed along the peripheries. On the plus side, the people who take them down are rarely motivated to move them very far, so you get to reuse them a lot.  The sign above stayed up into the evening, but was down and torn in half when I came by the next morning.
It was torn so neatly though that instead of taping it back together, I just posted the two halves on a different overpass. Posting method: place cardboard against fence, stretch a couple of bungees across, duct-tape top corners, walk away.
Here's how it looked from a distance.

Having signs of different sizes allows you to hit targets of opportunity along the way.  Anything you can see while driving is a place you can put a sign that'll get read. The more difficult it is to reach, the longer it'll stay up. With a hammer, nails, spring clamps and bungee cords, you can hang a sign on pretty much anything in seconds.




Again, it's the signs placed alongside the freeways that do the heavy lifting: they stay up for days or weeks rather than hours.

Signs placed on hillsides next to flyaway ramps stay up forever.
I do love how they look on overpasses though.


The right to post political speech in the public arena is one of the most protected rights we have. Since January 1st I've put 510 signs up on freeways without any hassles from authorities. During the Bush administration I put up something like 5,000 of them. 
I have never been arrested.

6 comments:

Redwoodhippie said...

Good work, Thank you for doing all this. I have held banners on freeways however have not left my banners or any signs behind. You are being creatively expressive and that is what we need to wake up those who still do not smell the permafrost. Peace and hugs and civil liberties for all.

End of Silence said...

Scarlet,
You are keeping VERY busy. I second everything Redwoodhippie said. With one exception -- You inspired me to actually hang some signs.

Shawn Spencer said...

Wow. That is a ton of signs and leg work to get the word out. But you are definitely reaching an enormous amount of people.

ThatDeborahGirl said...

Where I live, we put up signs for different political candidates and the police had the city come and take them down saying they were impeding something or other. I guess mowing the grass.

Anonymous said...

This is a very effective way of getting out to people and is almost genius. I drive by at least three of your signs a day and all the people i am riding with notice and question what the signs mean. Many times I have explained to people what they are or to google it and it is very simple to find the answers. Great work!! P.S. I am only 17 years of age, so you are reach my generation as well

Unknown said...

Great strategy! Reach hundreds of thousands of people without organizing thousands of people in a march or spending time in jail when you could be hanging more signs!

My climate change strategy runs tandem to the reduce fossil energy strategy. Reductions won't remove the 200 gigatons of carbon we've already thoughtlessly put in the atmosphere that are causing the droughts and floods and melting and will keep damaging the planet until we remove them. The strategy -- More life. I do carbon farming, primarily by raising grasses, animals and microbes that put carbon in the soil, and also agroforestry.

Check out Sergey Zimov in Siberia. Sergey does wake up and smell the permafrost every day. In fact, he is actually growing MORE permafrost using rewilding, which is similar to, and essentially is, carbon farming.

More life in a hurry. Let's do it!

glenngall