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Through ongoing, short, funny, shareable videos, we engage viewers with climate news, science, and empower them with easy actions.



Don’t Just Sit There - Do Something! is a creative video project about climate change aimed at a general audience. Through an ongoing series of short, funny episodes, we break down the complex subject of climate science into digestible nuggets, discuss the latest climate news, and provide easy actions viewers can take - with the goal of making climate information accessible and empowering. With 19 episodes since 2012, Climate CoLab support will help us by providing critical operational support in the next stage of project development.

The series is a creation of nonprofit Communitopia, an organization that is straddling the lines between education, advocacy, and entertainment. We are accomplishing our 3-word mission, "Making Green Mainstream," by harnessing the power of new media and humor to convey climate information to the American audience in a compelling way.

Instead of excoriating the American public for not acting to stop climate change, we recognize that only roughly half accept the existence of man-made climate instability, and 75% of Americans desire more information. [Leiserowitz et al.] Our series is a more inclusive approach to climate education that also invites people to consider the reasons climate action is important to them (better health, local impacts, or cost savings, for example). We keep our videos light-hearted, because laughing with people and promoting optimism is not only more fun, but because it is also, importantly, a more productive way to have a conversation about tough issues. [Roser-Renouf et al.]

In addition, every episode includes easy actions that viewers can take, often in partnership with local or national organizations, to make a difference either as an individual consumer, or at a larger level of civic engagement. We plan to produce no less than 8 videos in 2015, including a music video parody (now an annual tradition!). Operational support would go to personnel and equipment costs for video production and publicity.

Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change

What actions do you propose?

Every episode of the Don't Just Sit There - Do Something! series includes easy actions that viewers can take to make a difference either as an individual consumer, or at a larger level of civic engagement.

Some examples of the actions we've recommended include making public comments in support of climate rules from EPA, checking up on your legislators' environmental records, and writing members of Congress - in addition to consumer level actions such as checking tire pressure, setting your A/C or heat to reasonable levels, or turning down your hot water heater. For a complete list of the actions we have suggested, please see our Episode Guide.

Who will take these actions?

Consumers are the target audience and the actors, who will then provide a signal, in the form of both advocacy actions and public opinion, to policymakers.

Where will these actions be taken?

The target audience of the Don't Just Sit There - Do Something! series is people of high school age and beyond, living in the United States.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

Exact emissions reductions are difficult to quantify. If Don't Just Sit There - Do Something! is successful in its goal of changing the climate conversation to one where citizens feel engaged and empowered to tackle this difficult issue, vast reductions in carbon pollution are possible. Our YouTube channel has ~44,000 views; so far, we can count about 6500 clicks on our action links. We would like to grow both numbers substantially.

What are other key benefits?

The climate movement has not taken full advantage of the propagation of ideas through society through the medium of short video. The challenges of making climate change into compelling video of this format stem from the complex, abstract concepts and dramatic negative consequences intrinsic to the topic. For sustained attention, a subject needs to be approachable and tractable.

If our goals are achieved, the conversation in the U.S. about climate change specifically and sustainability in general will become very different. This would have a broad effect on the overall trajectory of a wide range of policies concerning energy and the environment.

What are the proposal’s costs?

The economic costs of this type of awareness/advocacy campaign are indirect. Direct costs include our operating budget; indirect costs of climate action are, according to at least one recent study, balanced by the savings from avoiding the costs of climate inaction. [Akbar et al.]

Time line

The Don't Just Sit There - Do Something! project is an awareness campaign, and as such, is intended to be short term, (5-15 years). Videos will continue across the next several years, promoting action and inviting engagement, until appropriate steps are taken at the policy level to meet the challenge of climate change with the level of response demanded by the science.

Related proposals



Leiserowitz, A., Smith, N. & Marlon, J.R. (2010) Americans’ Knowledge of Climate Change. Yale University. New Haven, CT: Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

Connie Roser-Renouf, Edward W. Maibach, Anthony Leiserowitz, and Xiaoquan Zhao (2014) The genesis of climate change activism: from key beliefs to political action. Climatic Change. Volume 125, Issue 2, pp 163-178.

Akbar, Sameer; Kleiman, Gary; Menon, Surabi; Segafredo, Laura. 2014. Main report. Vol. 1 of Climate-smart development : adding up the benefits of actions that help build prosperity, end poverty and combat climate change. Washington, DC : World Bank Group.