Planet Forward Submission Guidelines

Planet Forward is a storytelling collaborative dedicated to showcasing innovations in sustainability. We want to hear your stories about innovations and the innovators behind them. We want stories that inspire change, convey best practices, challenge others to do better, bring fame and fortune to the innovators, and move the planet forward.

The best Planet Forward stories – whether a video, a blog, an animation or infographic – explain why an innovation is important, the impact it will have on our world and where the idea comes from. Innovations that can scale up to help a lot of people or improve everyday life and really change the way something is done make especially compelling stories. Having a memorable, colorful or inspiring character at the center of it all helps the community relate – the icing on the cake.

The best ideas that you share with us, as chosen by our editorial staff, experts in the field and our student community, will be featured prominently on Planet Forward’s website and at our events. The best of the best will be featured on our media partners.

Who Can Share Ideas?

Planet Forward accepts submissions from all sorts of people across the globe with all different points of view. You do have to be at least 13 years old to submit, and if you’re under 18 you need to have a parent’s permission.

Before you post, you need to set up your Planet Forward account. That’s as easy as answering a few simple questions about who you are and where you’re coming from. We do this because we’re a community – and we want you to have the best possible chance to share your story with as many people as possible.

We also want to be transparent, so if you’re posting for a company, make sure that’s clearly reflected in your account information and in your submission. In any case, make sure we can all see who you are – fill out your profile information, let us know where you’re coming from, and let the community see exactly who is responsible for your great work.

What Can I Share?

We’re looking for stories about innovations and inventions that can, move the planet forward. You can share stories about yourself, what you’ve seen or done in your travels, or what your friends, family, professors, people in the community are doing. Show us the amazing new devices, ideas, policies or actions that are making a difference. Introduce us to the inventor. The idea here is to showcase an innovation that others can learn from, and maybe do themselves, or contribute to. We’re looking for ideas, not political commentary, editorials or rants. We’re about solutions here.

The most effective stories always have a great explanation of what the innovation is, an exploration of the character or characters behind it, and a well-reasoned, detailed and supported main point. Remember, this is your story to move the planet forward – your opportunity to explain it to the community. Make them care!

Remember, though, Planet Forward is not the place for advertisements or infomercials. You’re not selling a product or a service; idea submissions that are clearly commercial will not be posted. We are anxious to know what you’re working on, though. So make your story informational, not promotional. Tell us how something works, what’s new about it, how it can make a difference. Explain but don’t hype it.

How Can I Share My Idea?

We’re interested in well thought-out, reasoned ideas about innovation, whatever form they may take. We want you to be creative, to show the community something we’ve never seen before. You can tell us about innovations many ways:

  • Video: This is the bread and butter of Planet Forward, and one of the most engaging ways to express a concept online. Upload your idea to YouTube or Vimeo, and then submit to our site with some text that helps community members understand what they’re going to see.
  • Written Articles: Good old-fashioned writing can be a great way to present an idea if you can’t do a video. Try to include a still image to spruce up the page and draw eyeballs, and lay out your concept clearly and concisely. Try to keep it under 600 words – that’s about as much as the average person is willing to read in one article online. If you want to do something more creative, you can include some charts or graphs.
  • Graphics: Got some Photoshop skills and an innovation that works best as a diagram or infographic? You can absolutely submit that as your idea – just make sure to source all your information.
  • Audio: Do you have a podcast? Did you get a great interview with a researcher on your campus? Upload the audio to YouTube or Vimeo and submit just like a video.

What Should I Double-Check Before I Submit?

Before submitting your idea, there are a few guidelines that you need to make sure it follows. If you violate these guidelines, we can not publish your idea on Planet Forward.

  • Accuracy matters. Make sure you double-check and cite any facts in your submission.
  • Be original. Any content you share needs to be your own. Make sure you’re not plagiarizing by copying and pasting from other sites or publications or by using information without giving credit.
  • Respect copyright. We respect the rights of copyright holders and expect you to do so as well. Don’t include in your submission material that is protected by copyright law unless you have explicit permission from the copyright holder.
  • Use music wisely. Did you record that music by yourself or with your band? Unless it’s your own or you have explicit permission to use it, you can’t just put any music in your video. There’s tons of royalty-free music out there – it’s in in your editing software, and you can find more online. You can’t just take a top 40 hit and put it in the video, though.
  • Be civil. We cannot accept libelous, obscene or otherwise illegal material. Besides, we’re about good ideas moving forward. If you really dislike an idea or concept, tell us about a better alternative. It’s the way to a more enlightened discussion.
  • Respect privacy. Don’t use hidden cameras or record conversations without the permission of all involved. Make sure the people you interview and film know you’re putting this online, and get a release either on camera or on paper.
  • Be responsible. Bear in mind that you are legally responsible for what you submit.

Planet Forward reserves the right to remove a submission for any reason. For any questions about how to share an idea, contact us.