January 08, 2013


Outreach is an essential part of the mission of the Earth Policy Institute (EPI). Our in-house team of two works to get EPI's research into the hands of those who can use it.

Publishing and Book Releases
Our books are the foundation for reaching a global constituency. Thus far our books have been published in 33 languages. Major languages (more than 50 million speakers) include English, Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Hindi, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Marathi (India), Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian. Other languages include Bulgarian, Catalan, Czech, Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Esperanto, Greek, Hungarian, Malayalam, Norwegian, Romanian, Slovenian, Swedish, and Vietnamese for a total of 137 contracts.

Whenever possible Lester Brown likes to launch the various language editions. Early in 2012 he was inducted into the Kyoto Environmental Hall of Fame. While in Japan, he launched the Japanese edition of World on the Edge. From Japan, he flew to Beijing to launch the Chinese edition. In October he launched the Spanish edition in Colombia via video. And in late November, he launched the Dutch and Italian editions of Full Planet, Empty Plates. In addiion to launching books, he spoke at a conference on energy hosted by the New York Times. Harvard University gave him their first Environmental Alumni Award. And the University of Maryland asked him to give the inaugural talk for a new environmental lecture series. He also spoke at the 40th anniversary event for the Club of Rome’s “limits to growth” and at a major food conference in Milan.

Media Outreach
We work closely with the world's major news organizations. Since we opened our doors in May 2001, we have generated over 46,000 news clips, about 17 each weekday. Institute researchers have given some 600 interviews for radio and television, including national and international networks such as ABC, NBC, Bloomberg, the BBC World Service, Voice of America, CNN International, Al Jazeera, CCTV (China), NHK TV (Japan).

This year, we boldly entered the visual world by making a video summary of Full Planet, Empty Plates. This five-minute clip has been posted to the Institute website as well as on the sites for Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, W.W. Norton, and the many blogs where EPI usually posts research. Our international publishers are now beginning to post the video on their sites as well. We also are posting shorter clips on specific subjects from the book.

Plan B Teams
With the original Plan B, over 700 individuals bought a copy, read it, and then became personally engaged, buying 5, 10, 20, or even 50 or more copies for distribution to friends, colleagues, and political leaders. They became EPI’s Plan B Team. The release of Full Planet, Empty Plates swelled the number of team members to some 4,000. Some members purchase copies and then return to purchase more. Ted Turner is the de facto captain with his distribution of some 4,200 copies to the Fortune 500 CEOs, state governors, Congress, university presidents, heads of state, ministers of environment, ministers of energy, ministers of agriculture, heads of the major environmental NGOs, the major media outlets, and, perhaps most importantly, to each of the world’s billionaires.

EPI incorporates Web 2.0 tools into its media outreach and communications marketing strategy to disseminate releases, data, and any information that the research team releases for the public. Included in these tools are blogs, RSS feeds, public and media listservs (containing some 14,321 and 1,813 addresses respectively), networking sites, podcasts, Twitter, and a micro-blogging site. This year also included the successful launch of EPI’s mobile website, designed specifically for mobile devices.

Twitter has become an essential tool for promoting events, releases, and our books. With 10 posts per week on average and around 125 followers added each month, we now have nearly 4,000 followers. Our Facebook Fan Page has also grown to some 6,000 fans. Our s newest social media venture is Pinterest, a virtual bulletin board. On this visual site, we post photos of EPI’s books, graphs that accompany our releases, and videos. We are excited to see what this new venture brings.

Twitter and Facebook are consistently among the top referrals back to our website, along with international Google search engines and EPI’s Wikipedia page. When Googling for issues on which we work, EPI is often at the top of the list due in large measure to the over 275,000 links to our website. As to be expected, our publications and data are a major attraction. On average, EPI’s website has 24,000 unique visitors per day spending about 11 minutes per session.

We live-tweet our press conferences, providing an easily accessible channel for journalists. Prominent reporters and their affiliated news organizations repost EPI content, creating a multiplier effect. Notable reporters include David Roberts of Grist, who posts direct links to EPI’s website regularly, Anca Novacovici of the Huffington Post, and John Vidal of the Guardian. Other notables who retweet and re-post include Daryl Hannah, Sean Ono Lennon, Occupy Wall Street, Earth Business Network, Greenpeace USA, Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, Sustainablog, and Treehugger.

Podcasts of our releases and book chapter introductions generate an average of 280 monthly downloads. The most downloaded podcasts in 2012 were the press teleconference for the release of Full Planet, Empty Plates, and the Update on meat consumption in China, and the Indicator on wind power. (Click here for our newest podcast.)

And last, through our blog, we give readers insight into the Institute beyond its research. For instance, in addition to the blogs on World Water Week and Rio+20, were ones on the completion of EPI’s mobile website and new shopping cart, Lester’s trip to Harvard to receive the first-ever Alumni Environmental Sustainability Award, how some people are working with Plan B, and Matt Roney’s graduation from Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Science degree.

We are grateful that our publications are regularly reposted, reprinted, excerpted, and otherwise distributed. Change requires information and we work to provide carefully researched information in ways that will inspire global change.


Reah Janise Kauffman