Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Kids promote the program. Vendors selling green products automatically give discounts to parents and rebates to PTAs for family purchases..



The new components - When a family purchases existing energy or water saving products from a hardware or big box store, they swipe their GreenActionCard™.  The magnetic strip on the card automatically gives the purchaser a discount and sends a rebate to the school issuing the card.  Or the family can purchase online at a discount using GreenActionApp™ and their school gets a similar rebate.

Schools can start on their own or they can invite us in to deliver our Climate Change is Elementary program to build up demand.  Schools can make money from actions by families, without handling products or making sales.  Rebates happen automatically so families can pass out GreenActionCards (or the link to our app) to neighbors or relatives in other states and still get credit for their own school.  

The Existing Component - Climate Change is Elementary (CCIE) is an established & tested, self-supporting Family Education and action program that starts with a positive and non-scary one-day school visit including:

  • Teachers meeting in the AM brings entire faculty on board;
  • A different fun and age-appropriate class for each grade level in the gym or cafeteria using movement, music, games and colorful slides to learn about one critter & one part of the World.  
  • All school assembly at the end of the school day to put the whole Planet in perspective, talk about the "clean and green future" and promote Family Night that evening from 7-8 PM.
  • Well-attended Family Night - kids share with parents what they have learned and  everyone fills out and promises to follow a Green Action Checklist of actions to "go green."  Parents form a Green Team that night.  


The new program introduces our highly motivated CCIE graduates to existing vendors of Green products.

Motors for the program include:

  • Love of families for children;
  • Persuasive power of educated kids;
  • Desire to reduce utility bills;
  • Desire of PTAs/schools for money;
  • Need for teachers to cover this difficult subject;
  • Customer acquisition needs of vendors.

Category of action

Youth Leadership on Climate Change

What actions do you propose?

This program is infinitely scalable.  PTAs already gladly make a contribution of $1,500 for the Climate Change is Elementary (CCIE) visit because they see value in the information and the fund-raising potential.  CCIE coupled with GreenActionCard™ should have an immediate measurable impact on the carbon and water footprints of families & communities.  Cost to start any one school is tiny.  Returns can be huge as families take routine actions to save money and reduce energy and water use, like buying solar PV, energy saving cars, lightbulbs or appliances.

Culture Change - This program will accelerate the transformation from centralized fossil fuel energy to distributed renewable energy taking place over the next few decades.  It will help to change the culture regarding energy production & water conservation by helping children & parents to change habits.  One of our partners is Go Green Today and using their website, families will get constant reinforcement for their green decisions.

We'll eventually build a closed social network for every participating classroom where participants can go to post their wins for others to see, earn badges for actions, accumulate score with a built in carbon calculator, win prizes, and check off their Green Action Checklist.    Our wire frame at Youth to the Rescue uses the badges from Eco-Heroes.

Elementary children will know what parents pay for energy and water, how much their family saves by taking promised actions, and how much they are earning for their PTA.  Eventually most adults will use a GreenActionCard™ in their wallet, a mini-card on their keychain, or an app on their phone, constantly looking for ways to earn rebates for their school, and discounts for themselves.

Policy Changes - Changes in policy and curriculum will flow from this program as the culture begins to shift toward families taking action in coordination with schools and vendors.  

Vendor Receptivity - For our test schools in Montgomery County Maryland we approached these vendors of energy saving products and received written assurance that they could provide rebates to schools for purchases by families.

Online and local vendors of existing energy and water saving consumer products and services will use our program and the word will spread.  We have what vendors need most, motivated customers.  Vendors that join our program soonest will grow fastest as families "pile on" for the sake of children and schools.  We are not setting up a separate system.  We are simply issuing loyalty cards for use within the existing system.

From Local Vendors to Big Box Stores - It is anticipated that major retailers of energy and water saving products and services - "big box" hardware chains and most solar installers - will want to get on board as families move in a "green" direction.  Virtual and brick and mortar stores can systematize and promote rebates.  Every time a consumer purchases a product or service that is energy or water saving, from a vast list we can help generate and promote, their school will get a rebate.  We can post on line and distribute in print a shoppers guide with products from the Green Action Checklist.  One aisle in each store can be dedicated to Green Action items, or the store can identify those items with a special sticker on the shelving, making shopping easier.  We are making appointments now to visit Home Depot and Lowes HQs this Fall.

Rebates and discounts can happen automatically on line using the  GreenActionCard or app.  In the absence of the card just give the clerk your school phone number.    Any store selling energy & water saving products can participate and so can online stores like  In addition to schools, rebates can flow to scouting organizations, Boys and Girls Clubs and home school organizations that apply to issue their own cards.

Schools - Curriculum will change to accommodate the fact that families want children to learn this information in a positive and optimistic way, not through fear.  Parents, educators and vendors will all put pressure on school systems to incorporate Climate Solution Education in the State Standards and the Common Core curriculum.

Teacher Training - Colleges will help teachers prepare for this program by offering Environmental Education classes to Education majors, and advanced degrees in the interface between K-12 Education and Environmental Education.  We are available to attend educational conferences to explain the program and enlist school systems in implementation.

PTA at the National Level - We are positioning our program to be the first major foray into "going green" for the national PTA, however it must come "up the chain of command" from individual schools asking for the national organization to adopt this program.  Once this becomes a national PTA initiative, every school with a PTA will have the option of participation.

District Endorsement - With budgets tight at the district level, this is an attractive system to get the schools to "go green" at no expense to tax payers.  The intergenerational transfer is directly from me to my kids' school.  We are not asking the general tax base to pay for this transformation, but they will gain from it as schools get solar arrays and new HVAC systems at no cost to tax payers.

State and National Level Rebates and Tax Breaks - Once people see how the private sector can mobilize effectively to grow the renewable sector without government subsidies or support, and how this is a way to transition painlessly away from fossil fuels, government agencies at all levels can endorse and support the program.

Evaluation - Data can be easily generated with this program.  Measures are straightforward and most data are collected automatically by presenters, schools or vendors:

  • How many schools are visited with the program?
  • How many families fill out Green Action Checklists?
  • How many families join  Go Green Today?
  • What actions do these families take with vendors (sales data)?
  • How much is the rebate to each school?
  • What is the cost to start and operate these programs?
  • What is the impact on carbon and water footprints?


Replication beyond our program.  CCIE does not need to get to every school in the country.  Once the on line component is in place and operational and big box stores and installers of solar PV and companies selling electric cars are involved, schools will see the benefit to their schools of the knowledge base, parent involvement, discounts and rebates, and opportunities for education, and will begin to teach this program themselves using their own teachers.  We will foster this by emulating Elon Musk and giving away our CCIE teaching materials and techniques to those who want to replicate the program without the benefit of a visit by a trained CCIE Presenter.  We will make videos of all our instructional units available on line so educators around the World can use what we have produced and enhance our program.  The ultimate goal must not be lost sight of - to rapidly reduce the carbon and water footprints of families, neighborhoods, states and countries.  Making a living is a beneficial side effect of doing a good job.

Use of media, social media and press for promotion -  Video will be available explaining the program in simple terms.  Our website will present testimonials about the program.  Media will love that we are working with kids, that the program is fun as well as informational, and that it involves kids and parents working together toward a desirable goal for families, communities & the Planet, and that it is a private sector initiative.  Every time we hold a local program in a school or conduct training for new Presenters the press will be notified so TV crews can see something positive in the schools.  We will work with EcoKids  to create a game to reinforce participation and show how someone can "win" by reducing the carbon and water footprints for their family and for their community. We will contract for PR and for web development as our top priorities.

Replication in other countries - We have active invitations to visit and start programs in Germany, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and Trinidad and Tobago.  Most have similar educational systems and vendors, some do not.  Educators are interested in having training in their countries and fitting the GreenActionCard/App into their purchasing systems. We are working on the production of a "do it yourself" instructional program that can be used internationally.  Ultimately it will be up to our colleagues in other countries to adapt this program to their systems.

Clean and Green in 2115 - We have written and are getting illustrated a children's coloring and activity book entitled Clean and Green in 2115. This book is in "comic book" format and replicates the Green Action Checklist, assigning one page to each item on the list.  It gives families a tangible reminder of the evening we met at their school and will either be given to them by a sponsor, or can be bought for a fair price, helping to further support the Presenter.  The book has in it all the references a family needs to become super-literate in terms of knowledge about how and why to take action and where to obtain products and services.  It rejects the negative premise, "Here is how bad it will be when we do everything wrong," and endorses the positive premise, "Here is how great it will be when we do everything right."  The draft front and back covers can be found here and here.

Changes and revisions - This is not a "cookie cutter" approach.  The CCIE program is flexible.  Presenters internationally and in the US are encouraged and empowered to create and master new instructional modules, find and use locally relevant slides, train others to deliver the program and certify them.  They are instructed to leave the slides behind in the schools, and to figure out ways to make the program self-replicating and to pay themselves for their hard work and expertise.  As new ideas blossom and new technologies are developed, Presenters are free to become experts in these areas and to modify their work accordingly, sharing new ideas with other Presenters.

Speaking engagements - Dave Finnigan is a Certified Speaking Professional with National Speakers Association and is available to speak at educational and vendor conferences to explain how this program can build a bridge between the educational establishment, which needs the information, and the renewable energy industry that needs motivated customers.  If appropriate we will pay for booth space at these conferences.

Pilot Program - In Fall 2014 we will undertake a pilot program in several states, testing how the established Climate Change is Elementary program can be connected to the recently designed and evolving GreenActionCard™ and Go Green Today components.  

Getting involved - We have immense tech needs starting with development and testing of the GreenActionCard/App, connection to existing web stores where parents can get sizable discounts and schools can get rebates. For web components we need strategic planning, project management, web technology & architecture, information acquisition & handling, graphic & user interface design, site production & protection. Teaching needs - We want to have a trained Climate Change is Elementary Presenter for every part of the US, and other countries as well.  We are actively looking for tech help, for  potential Presenters and for pilot schools, where presenter training can take place.  

We also need investors - The investment to take this program to market will be $100,000 from the first round of Angel investors.  That will get us started with the GreenActionApp™ and it will allow us to print and test the GreenActionCards™ in one or two communities using a hardware chain that agrees to be part of the pilot.  We can also print our first press run of Clean and Green in 2115, to help recoup the investment.

Who will take these actions?

Presenter Training - Dave Finnigan has already trained 23 Presenters to deliver the one-day CCIE program in FL, MA, MD, PA, NJ, DC and VA and plans to train hundreds more.  Potential trainees have set up these programs.

When our Presenters make a presentation in a school they will direct parents and teachers to our app, and distribute GreenActionCards that don't identify the family, only the school.  Families use cards at participating stores to obtain special discounts and earn rebates for their school.  

To train Presenters to cover a region of the country, we deliver a two day demonstration program for trainees.  On Day 1 they job shadow all day, through Family Night in the evening.  On Day 2 we meet all day and help the trainees understand how to get booked, how to present the program, how to get paid, and how to insure that schools get rebates when families make purchases, either on line or at stores.

When ready, trainees deliver free programs in exchange for letters of recommendation & critique from educators and parents.  When ready to get paid professionally, they send us a video of their presentation & letters of recommendation.  Upon approval they are authorized to deliver programs, use the CCIE name and ask for a contribution of around $1,500.  They establish a non profit project under our parent 501c3 foundation, United Charitable Programs (UCP).

All donations by schools go into the Presenter's account at UCP. 28 % comes out  for administration, accounting, bookkeeping, reports, and legal, and our national promotional campaign.  We use the promotional funds to go to national Principals', PTA and Environmental Education conferences to speak, rent a booth, and represent all local and state Presenters.

For the GreenActionCard/App we will handle the rebates from stores and online vendors, and about 20% of the rebate is retained to pay for our services.  On a $20 purchase our portion might be 40¢ but for a $20,000 solar array it may be $400.

What are other key benefits?

Aside from reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and acceleration of the transition to renewable energy, this program has the potential to foster an entire generation of young people who do not question the science of global warming and who are truly environmentalists for all the right reasons.  The connection to green industry means millions of youngsters will see that there are job opportunities in the green category and some will continue their education on that pathway.

Our graduates will eventually be the scientists and educators who come up with technology programs to renew forests, soil, water and air in the wake of current destruction.  Growing up in a world damaged by our inattention to environmental matters, they will be the generation that undoes the damage.  

Our major goal is to move the conversation beyond mere awareness and on to decisive positive action for that 1/3 of the population currently least engaged, young children and their parents.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

Self-financing in schools - 25 schools have happily contributed $1,500 for our one-day CCIE program, because of the many benefits for students, teachers, administration, parents and community.  Where there is no PTA, Title 1 grants love our program because we bring so many parents to school in the evening.  So this program has been self-financing from the start in every geographical area where it has been introduced.  The cost to get stores and chains involved will be the cost to develop our online presence and the cost to develop, print and distribute GreenActionCards through schools to families.  The start-up cost in any one school is already paid by the $1,500 investment in us, which earns that school an income stream for years.  

Start-up Costs 2014 - $10,000 seed money will go to creation of the prototype GreenActionCard, testing in stores, online and in schools, and development of a promotional video for schools, vendors and investors.  

First Round Costs 2015 -

  • Attend 5 trade shows & help start 5 schools in 5 markets with CCIE, training 100 presenters to deliver programs in the NW, SW, SE, NE, Midwest ($10,000);
  • Upgrade the rebate program for scalability ($20,000); 
  • Design and test a kid-friendly closed social network for each classroom ($20,000);
  • Finish and publish the first press run of the book, Clean and Green in 2115 ($30,000); 
  • Create an instructional video series of the entire program and web site to use in e-training ($20,000). 


For $100,000, from a Kickstarter campaign or investors, we could get the program tested in several US states by January 2016 and be prepared for a nationwide roll-out.   

We will make $1,500 per school plus 20% of the rebates from sales.  Vendors basically rebate the cost of customer acquisition through us.  The country will save fossil fuel and medical costs because of the transition to renewables. 

We might pay to convert from a not for profit project to a B Corporation with stockholders if it makes sense to raise equity capital.

Time line

Short Term - The immediate goal is to raise funds to pay for development and testing of the GreenActionCard™ and the online store.  Because every school can fund itself, and because they will see immediate benefits this program will be available in schools nationwide within 5-15 years, initiated in 4 ways:

  1. Training CCIE Presenters by visiting their states;
  2. Trainees coming to Florida for training;
  3. Trainees learning online or from previously trained Presenters;
  4. Starting programs using a school's own teachers/parents.


In the medium term this program will be extended nationwide by adoption by state departments of education of our program methods, materials and goals into core curriculum and state science standards.  In this period also the program will expand worldwide in developed countries first.  As the cost of renewable energy falls and the cost of fossil fuels climbs, even presently oil rich countries will adopt this program or a locally designed equivalent, using the energy of children to persuade their elders to "do the right thing" by converting to more sustainable energy and water use.  Students who went through our program will be graduating from college in related industries and spreading the word everywhere.

In the long term - Within 50 to 100 years almost every person who ever went to school will feel the effects of our program.  Every school building in the Developed World will be LEED certified and covered by a solar array, using the sun to power their hot water system and with wind energy backup wherever feasible.  All of this energy conservation will be paid for by the efforts of local families who have helped their schools earn "green" while helping themselves go green.  All new home and school construction will be zero energy by then, powered by locally generated clean energy.  At that point we can end our retrofit and construction programs and shift our focus to getting existing greenhouse gases out of the air and the oceans.

Related proposals

Climate CoLab proposals that could be associated with ours:


These proposals could all be joint ventures complementing what we plan to do and enhance the work of our Green Teams in the schools, work with vendors of "green" products and services, and the rebate program to schools.  Together we will create a highly educated and motivated young population of potential consumers and a comprehensive system for helping modify behaviors by tying these consumers to vendors of energy and water saving products and services.


1 - No scientific studies yet on our program.  Here is Mention in the popular press:

2 - Videos include this, this  and most recently this

3 - We have benefited greatly from the Startup Orlando program, from the UCF Venture Lab, from association with the Business Incubation Program at UCF and counsel of several members of the start-up community of Central Florida who have taken a personal interest in our success.  Most recently we have agreed to a joint venture with the UCF Research and Innovation for Social Enterprise Lab RAISE, which is new and aggressively looking for projects combining technology and social entrepreneurship.

4 - Our program can be organized like Upromise, where families can earn credit for education for their kids. 

5 - Other examples of similar programs are Boxtops 4 Education  and 1% for the Planet

6 - There are many examples of preferred business partner or Loyalty cards that work with all the vendors we have on our list of potential vendors.  For instance Sherwin Williams has a discount card that builders can use at to get 10% to 20% off at Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware, True Value, Sears, and stand-alone paint stores.  So we are not inventing a new system, just taking advantage of an existing system.

7 - Vendors where these discount/rebate cards may be honored include not only brick and mortar stores, but green e-merchants like Buy Green and other online stores.

8 - We are creating a joint venture with Go Green Today about using their platform to encourage our families to stay on track on their Climate Action Plans.  We have also started discussion with The Center for Green Schools and their parent organization, The US Green Building Council, and the Green School Alliance and The Green School Network all of whom we feel can assist us in our search for schools that are ready for our program, and who we can assist to expand their networks.   

9.  Programs that will be integrated with CCIE include, but are not limited to: The Global Warming Express and Future Flash! Climate Challenge and Earthman Blues Project

10.  We will continue to get our Presenters for the CCIE program from among the following:  Graduates of Climate Reality Project, Members of Citizens Climate Lobby, Members of, Members of IDEAS for us, Members of SSREC, recruits from Powershift

11.  The "Theme Song" of our program will continue to be Sing for the Climate 

12.  We will continue to get our school bookings through exhibiting at individual state PTA conventions and separate state and national Elementary Principal Conventions

13. We feel that it is time to move beyond mere awareness and to climb the well-worn culture change ladder to success.