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Pitch

Fun and easy to use App to engage youth in effort to raise awareness about climate change solutions.


Description

Summary

Addressing climate change will require individual actions and changes in behavior.  With no national and global policy in place yet, individual actions may make the difference in whether we move forward and make changes in time to avoid catastrophic effects from warming.  In order to empower individual action, we are creating easy to use web and app tools that provide complete and easy to follow information on individual actions people can take to make a difference.  We are working with a student team and believe that one of the most important avenues of adoption and use of our program will be inspired by youth using the app and encouraging adults to take action.


Category of action

Youth Leadership on Climate Change


What actions do you propose?

Individual actions are critical to addressing climate change.  In the U.S. we have contributed the most to climate change over the course of time and we still continue to have one of the highest contributions per capita.  We have a responsibility to change our course and take action to lower our impact.  According to the Yale project on Climate Change Communication 70% of Americans believe climate change is happening and should be addressed, but most don't know what the solutions are and what they can do. 

We are creating a program that includes easy to use web and app tools that provide easy to follow information on climate change, solutions and what actions individuals can take to make a difference.  The program is based on the latest research on climate change, emissions reductions calculations, communication on climate change and behavior change.

The program has two main projects - a community program designed to be adopted in a specific city or community and a general program that anyone across the U.S. can use.  The basic tools in the program include a way to calculate and track emissions, complete and easy to follow information on each action, a dashboard to track progress and a community component where neighbors can share ideas and resources on actions.  The program includes businesses for a full community effort.  It also includes some friendly neighborhood and individual competition to make it fun.  Finally, the program also includes information on actions individuals can take to encourage community and policy efforts such as increasing local renewable energy, expanding bike lanes and writing letters to legislators calling for strong climate policy.  All actions chosen will be up to the user.

There will be over 50 possible individual actions included in the program, basically the most common actions to lower carbon emissions.  Examples of actions include:  buying more efficient appliances, installing a programmable thermostat, chose green power from local utility (where available), telecommuting, carpooling, buying an electric/hybrid/more efficient gas vehicle, insulating your house, reducing/offsetting airline travel, etc.

To make the program fun, there will be points and competition where users and compare their progress to other users and average footprints in their neighborhood and community/region.  Users will be compared to similar sized households when possible to provide accurate comparisons.

Youth Program - we are working with a team of students to design a program for youth to get involved and help encourage participation.  They are planning to have youth volunteers help to increase participation with a contest that includes scholarships and prizes.  We believe that the youth program will be the largest contributor to the adoption and success of the program.

We have a sample site with an example of our basic community program at www.goco2freepa.org.  We are currently seeking funding to build the site including a graphics designer to improve the presentation and look of the site.  Our goal is to launch the community program in early 2015.


Who will take these actions?

Anyone can use the program and take actions.  The primary focus will be U.S. users.  If users in other countries would like to adopt the program, we will work with them to modify the data to fit their regions. 


What are other key benefits?

In addition to the basic actions the program also includes a community component that connects users to share ideas and resources on actions.  This creates community and helps increase and spread the dialog on climate change solutions as well as creates community resilience.


What are the proposal’s costs?


Program costs:  We estimate it will cost approximately $150,000 to build the community program for initial launch over the next 9 months.  We will require and additional $150,000 in 2015 to build the general program and continue to develop the site.

Individual actions:  Most of the individual actions will save people money.  Some have a small increase in cost, but are optional so will only be completed at the choice of the user of the program.


Time line

Timeline:

2014:  Build community program for launch early 2015

2015:  Launch community program, build individual site

2016:  Continue to update and expand community and individual programs, work to engage communities in adoption

2017 and forward:  Continue to expand and develop the program to reach the broadest audience and the highest rate of action adoption.  Expand the community component of the program connection people across communities who are interested in taking action beyond individual actions and foster community wide efforts to help move strong climate policies forward.

 


Related proposals

I just heard about this contest yesterday and have not had a chance to look through the website yet!  I will add something here as soon as I have a chance to review.


References

Our main reference is from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication:

http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/

We are using additional resources on communicating on climate, climate science, emissions calculations and behavior change models which were not referenced specifically here.