Sometimes a single detail springs from the deep, murky well of municipal bureaucracy that momentarily purifies the waters, allowing us to see all the way to the bottom of our civic body.
For instance, when the call came down to create a website to inform Miami-Dade citizens about how to conserve water amid a winter drought, a down economy, and a culture obsessed with green-washing, it's easy to imagine the flow of logic that circulated around the conference table... and eventually spiraled down the drain.
"How about 'Conserve Miami' as a slogan?"
"Too vague, and conserve is a word people will trip over. Let's think about action. What do we want people to actually do?"
"Um, use less water?"
"Great! But let's truncate that into a catchy spondee: 'Use Less.'"
"'Use Less' -- that's it. Call the web people."
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"We have a problem with the "Use Less" phrase. When you put it into the URL without spaces, it looks like 'useless.'"
"Hmm, we can't have that."
"I have a solution. What if we make it like a public affirmation: 'We use less.'"
"Problem solved. Get it online. I want a billboard over I-95 by the end of the week."
And that is how (perhaps) our county came to create a water conservation site called weuseless.miamidade.gov.
But now that the county has done the difficult creative work for us, it's time for us, The People, to spread this message far and wide. I want to see all of you out there wearing "Miamidade.gov: We Useless" T-shirts by Monday morning. As Patrick Henry once said, "I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of T-shirt slogans."