“#LetsCleanUpTheLittersphere“, new campaign for Libera project

Coinciding with the International Day of Words, the LIBERA Project (by SEO Birdlife in conjunction with Ecoembes) and Darwin & Verne have recreated the chairs of the RAE, the Royal Spanish Academy, using “basuraleza” (which means garbage dumped in nature, or what has been termed the “littersphere”) to kick off the debate on whether to include this new portmanteau term in the official Spanish dictionary.

If a reality has no name, then it’s as if it doesn’t exist, and as such, cannot be condemned. With this premise, and coinciding with International Day of Words (Tuesday, 23 November), the LIBERA Project from SEO/Birdlife, in conjunction with Ecoembes, highlighted the word “basuraleza” in Spanish (“littersphere”), advocating the need for this term to be recognised and included in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy.

Since its creation four years ago as a Spanish alternative to and expansion of the English language verb “littering”, this word has had over 1,300 spontaneous appearances in the media, crossing borders in the Spanish-speaking world (reaching South America, the United States, France and more), and has been used by big names in literature and publishing. 

And as the term fulfils the main requirement, namely that it is actually being used, our agency has rolled out a campaign to request its inclusion by the Academy.

What better way of starting the debate than by using the very seats of the Academy’s numeraries? Using some pieces of “basuraleza” found on collection rounds, a furniture maker recreated the iconic seats of the RAE to put them out onto the streets, specifically those chairs with letters that spell out the word “basuraleza”. basuraleza.

The campaign was accompanied by a formal petition to the RAE and an activation in Twitter, where a virtual seat of the RAE was created using a videowebsite card. In it, users could be Academy numeraries for a day, choosing the letter of their seat and tweeting their reasons, from A to Z, why “basuraleza” should enter the official dictionary.



A word with an extensive track record

The term has had 1,300 spontaneous mentions by other parties in the media, both audiovisual and the press: El País, El Mundo, El Confidencial, TVE, Antena 3 and Telecinco. It has also spread to all other Spanish-speaking countries, appearing in major media outlets such as Clarín (Argentina) and El Sol de Irapuato (Mexico).

What’s more, some big literary names have recognised the need for it, such as Academy members Antonio Muñoz Molina or the recent winner of the National Literature Prize, José María Merino, while other essayists or politicians have put the term into their opinion pieces, as in the case of Irene Villa, the environmental advocate José Luis Gallego and Esteban González Pons.

In a similar vein, publishers such as Santillana and Hachette have included the word “basuraleza” in their textbooks through related exercises and activities.

The same can be said of societies, associations and organisations such as the Red Cross, the Queen Sofia Foundation, Spain’s Directorate General of Traffic and a plethora of local and regional authorities around the country, which have used it in their own communications and social networks. In fact, Joaquín de los Nietos, the mayor of El Boalo, requested the inclusion of the word in the future waste law during a public appearance in the Spanish parliament.Moreover, the word has spread far and wide over the social networks. Specifically, the term had 134,850,530 potential printouts in 2020 alone. In total, “basuraleza” has been mentioned on Twitter more than 71,000 times and over 20,000 times on Instagram.




Data sheet:

Agency: Darwin & Verne
Advertiser: Proyecto LIBERA, de SEO/BirdLife en alianza con Ecoembes
Product: Organización medioambiental
Client contacts: Sara Güemes, Miriam Caba, Miguel Muñoz
CEO: Alberto Martínez
Accounts team: Ana Fons
Creative Manager: Óscar Moreno
Creative Supervisors: Pablo Caraballo y Gonzalo Calvo
Head of Audiovisual Production: María Jiménez
Audiovisual Production: Andrea Rosenschein
Producer: Bepart
Director: Roberto Ladrón de Guevara
Post-production: Visual Noise – Daniel Romero
Title: “#RecojamosBasuraleza”
Piece: vídeo digital