Many protests and demonstrations don't accomplish much. And that includes the biggest ones—from #OccupyWallStreet to #PeoplesClimate to #ICantBreath.
The problem isn't just clicktivism or lack of "strong ties," as some critics assert. It's that these movements often fail to define an attainable goal and a plan for how to to meet it.
Some smart folks on New York's Upper East Side seem to get it. After losing a battle to have a garbage transfer site built in their community, the nearby residents have established a more achievable goal: Move the ramp to that facility over one block.
If that sounds underwhelming, consider this: Hundreds of garbage trucks will rumble down that ramp daily right past a popular youth sports center known as Asphalt Green. So if NY Mayor Bill de Blasio is as serious about increasing pedestrian safety—particularly child safety—as he claims, then move the ramp already.
This may be just another NIMBY movement, but it's a strategic and well-coordinated one, right down to the campaign's use of social media, video, an online petition and even banner ads in my NYTimes.com feed this morning.
Bonus points for flipping de Blasio's Vision Zero safety slogan into a #ZeroVision hashtag.
My money is on the Friends of Asphalt Green winning this one, so I suggest bookmarking this campaign for future reference. It might just help you win your own protest. Put together enough of these victories, and you just might accomplish something in the world.