Everyday Actions

Video Theme: Everyday Actions Add Up


man holding skateboard 400px.jpg
Using human-powered transportation is one way to reduce pollution
from vehicles. Learn about other ways below and make a video!


You already know that water is vital to our existence. But did you know that we all live in a watershed that drains to a creek, stream, lake, river, and eventually, the ocean? We are all connected by water. Rivers are great life forces that sustain our iconic pacific northwest salmon, trout, and sturgeon, support wildlife and provide people a place to boat, float, splash, fish, and paddle.  They are used for shipping goods and some are even used as a source of drinking water.

As cities and towns grew, they built storm sewer systems to move stormwater off buildings, houses and roads as quickly as possible. Today, water that used to soak into the ground flows across hard surfaces and down storm drains along streets, altering our natural waterways and increasing pollution. Storm drains usually lead directly to the nearest stream, carrying oil, grease, dirt, metals, pesticides, litter and bits of plastic are picked up along the way. This pollution is bad news for the water bodies that we use for recreation. It’s also really bad for the fish and wildlife that need clean, cold water to survive. Imagine how you would feel if someone started dumping dirty water into your bathtub while you were using it!

These days, cities are doing more and more to help by adding vegetated stormwater features like rain gardens that help let water soak into the ground and trap dirt and certain other pollutants  before it drains to waterways, but this still isn’t enough. Everyone has to pitch in and help out, which is where you come in -   creating a video about one of the topics below can teach and inspire others!

  • Your video is a way to teach others about the actions they can take to protect water.
  • Use your creativity to grab viewers’ attention, keep them watching to the end and leave them with an “aha” moment.
  • Consider using action, comedy and/or emotion to help get your point across. 
  • Select a call to action and give your video a cool movie name.

Here’s an example commercial from The River Starts Here campaign to get your creative juices flowing. By the way, the drain in this commercial was protected and cleaned after this commercial was filmed, so please don’t put things in drains in your own film or try to remove a grate because they are heavy and dangerous.

Theme 1: Everyday Actions Add Up

We help protect water by preventing pollutants from mixing with stormwater and getting into storm drains. Choose a clean water action from A, B or C for your video. Include a call to action at the end of your video. Videos must be exactly 25 seconds for the ‘short’ category and 55 seconds for the ‘long’ category.

A. Lower Transportation Impacts

Vehicles create a lot of pollution. Tire wear and brake dust is left on the road from vehicles traveling millions of miles in our community every day. Even washing vehicles can pollute local streams if wash water reaches storm drains.

  • Make a video showcasing walking, biking, bussing, scootering, skateboarding, or rollerblading, etc. to reduce your car trips each week.
  • Brakes and tires are sources of metals and other toxic compounds that wash onto roads and leach out of used tires piled outside. These pollutants cause harm to salmon and other wildlife. Ask for low or copper free brake pads at your next brake replacement. Example car care video.
  • Watch this video demonstrating safe car washing techniques and make your own fun version. Car washes are also a great alternative because they clean and recycle water.

B. Plastic is Pollution - Refuse, Reduce and Reuse

Avoid disposable items, especially plastic. So much of our waste is making it to our oceans and very few plastics are recyclable and only break down into microplastics that harm wildlife. If we bring reusable coffee mugs, bags, water bottles and even durable straws each time we go out, imagine how much plastic we can avoid!

C. Leave No Trace

Show what ‘Leave no trace’ means by demonstrating concepts for safe, healthy and respectful recreation.

  • Stay on designated trails to limit impacts to wildlife and always pick up after your pet.
  • Pack water and food in durable, reusable containers to avoid having trash (leave as much packaging at home as you can). Bring durable bowls, cups, towels instead of paper plates and napkins.
  • Put your fruit peels and snack wrappers back in your pack (put them back in one of your empty reusable lunch containers or bring a small bag to hold them).
  • Pick up after your pet in parks, playgrounds, at the beach, near waterways. Take pet waste bags with you and put them in the trash - don’t leave them on the trail!
  • Bring a bag from home for trash and recycling and take it back with you.
  • Plan for bathroom needs. When camping, bring a trowel to dig an 8” cathole to bury your poop at least 50’ from water bodies. Bring a ziploc labeled for each camper and put your used toilet paper, cotton wipes, and feminine products in it to throw away later. Backcountry hiking in many places now requires GO Anywhere waste kits or WAG bags.

Video Tips

  1. Do not use stock footage and photos--we want to see your own video. Using copyrighted footage, photos or music will disqualify your video!
  2. Use YouTube’s Audio Library to find music or use something you’ve created yourself. Your school district may have audio files you could use, such as Sound FX. DO NOT use copyrighted music or your video will be disqualified. Note: there are many YouTube channels claiming to have royalty/copyright-free music. DO NOT use them as the music copyrights can change later and disqualify your video.
  3. Clean your lens. Film in landscape, or horizontally, so your video is wider than it is tall. Hold your phone with two hands while filming. 
  4. Select your video recording quality settings to high quality, 24 to 30 frames per second, use 60 fps if you plan to slow down the video. Render your edited video to the highest quality as well. Finally, under your YouTube profile, go to settings and select the highest upload quality. 
  5. If using a free video editor, select one that does not watermark and will export to YouTube quality (minimum resolution of 720p). Your school may have video editing software or you can search YouTube for advice on best free mobile phone editors for IOS or Android.
  6. English and other languages:  You may narrate your video in English and use another language as subtitles or narrate in another language and subtitle in English. We encourage cultural perspectives!
  7. Song parodies:  Check out this educational parody of this original Mr. Sandman by the Chordettes for inspiration. Of course, you’d pick a more modern song!

Resources to help you make your best video!

Dig Deeper:

Check out these links to learn more about the topic you choose.

Questions? Contact us.