In Istanbul you can help feed stray animals with plastic bottles

I recently read a book that talked about the concept of “emotionally intelligent signage” . Basically, rather than just have a sign that says “line starts here”, the sign could say “don’t worry, this line moves really fast”. Or Instant Knockout another example, rather than “please pick up after your dog”, the sign could say “children play here, please pick up after your dog”. Adding just that extra little bit can make a huge difference to people’s psychology and willingness to participate.

I’ve also heard of studies that say that the best way to get people to conserve energy is not to tell them to do it simply because it’s good for the environment (a fact we all know), but rather to tell them that their neighbours are already doing it and saving money. The social aspect of relating it to their neighbours, and appealing to their desire to save money (rather than just save the environment for the sake of it, not all people are motivated by this), got much better results.

Here I think is another example of this, socially intelligent activism. In Instanbul, where if you recycle a plastic bottle, the machine will release food for a stray dog. While it would still be preferable to move away from plastic bottles entirely, this is one of the best uses I’ve seen of them. But a lot of people can empathize with animals and rather than throwing their bottles away, they can easily see how a small effort of recycling helps.

Istanbul’s 150,000 stray dogs and cats recently got their own vending machines in the Turkish city, and they machines aren’t just encouraging the feeding of homeless animals — they’re also cleaning up the streets. The Smart Recycling Box, invented by Turkish company Pugedon, dispenses food for strays in exchange for recycled plastic bottles.
Here’s how it works: When someone deposits an empty plastic bottle into the machine, food is released in a dish at the bottom. There’s even a water dish attached so users can pour out any remaining water before recycling it.
Turkish officials allowed Pugedon to install the machines under the agreement that the government wouldn’t have to fund them. Instead, the recycled bottles cover the cost of pet food. The Smart Recycling Boxes will provide a steady source of food for animals that often rely on compassionate residents to feed them.
Istanbul’s strays have been a source of contention in recent years. Some residents enjoy the presence of animals so well-adapted to city life that they stop at traffic lights, but others have asked the government to step in.
These complaints led the Turkish government to draft a law that would transport thousands of animals to a “natural habitat parks” far outside the city, which was met with a from animal-loving residents.
I would love to see this get implemented everywhere.

Care to share your thoughts?