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Pitch

USES uses latest web 2.0 and media to make boring climate issues attractive for the next generation and to guide them to act properly


Description

Summary

Climate communication failed for 40 years to reach the hearts and minds of the broad public - the youth especially - why?
There are several reasons:
Scientists are preaching to the choir - only the already interested 5% listen to their pie charts and bar graphs and doomsday scenarios - the other 95% stay behind their much more interesting video games or smart phones (a)
"Big oil, coal and agro" infiltrate politics and school systems to stop climate action and information (f)
People think they are too small - they can not change a global system - not in the good and not in the bad direction
It is easier to believe professional deniers than admitting you are part of the problem and that you can do something!
Even climate experts don't have the choice because there is not the (product) information available that is needed - we need a guide for a sustainable and healthy life (d)
So those who would need and want more information don't hear it or can't act

The information, motivation and sustainable navigation is core of USES.
The development of IT has opened new possibilities to communicate. These are technologies that the young people grow up with. This is the Generation that can be educated using the same technology they are using about 8 hours a day - and they can influence their often resistant parents!
USES is a holistic approach, 100% transparent, independent and is a breakthrough to end Business As Usual using the power of the next generation.

USES uses all the high tech tools like social/mobile/cloud/Big Data to educate, motivate and navigate the people through the maze of greenwashing and denial.

USES is focusing on the two largest obstacles in two parts:
Part I is using professional entertainment, prizes, intrinsic motivation (friends...) to make the environmental issues aware and offer solutions to adopt for everyone.
Part II is providing a holistic sustainability shopping navigation system which will guide you to the products with lowest impact - personalized.


Category of action

Youth Leadership on Climate Change


What actions do you propose?

There are hundreds of possible ways to mitigate climate change or energy waste and GHG reductions respectively. Even without much investment or with a short pay back period most of these could be turned into reality by everyone - but only few know about that. And only few people really know even the basic backgrounds of our problems and their interconnectedness.

So it is absolutely essential to empower the broad public in terms of these issues. But nearly no one would listen to a climate scientist's lecture or read one of thousands of internet sites about global warming and ocean acidification. For most people this is boring stuff and they switch off - and normally switch on their TV or play station.

So we have to use these media and make it more compelling to listen to climate topics than playing World Of Warcraft or watching Harry Potter !
This can only be achieved by using the same forces - entertainment and high prizes - that the young people use.

Movies that combine thrill, fun and action with environmental aspects open the people to learn about these issues. But just a movie is too static. After a month they forgot the essentials.
But the combination of movies, games and (inter)action via IT like pervasive games and augmented reality opens new ways to make the issues compelling enough for the younger generation to get addicted to world changing.
(For the older generation USES I could be slightly changed and works as well for them - with less gamification and slightly different content).

Saving money by watching the little tricks of energy saving presented by Harry potter or for the younger children by Curious George should be a good start but the offer of a jackpot prize for good participation will convince even the hardest deniers to watch the USES program.

USES is universal - and can focus global threats and solutions as well as local community action. USES offers the possibility for local NGOs to reach out for the local, up to now often too passive citizens.


Further more we have the problem that even those who are informed and willing to change do not have the chance to choose in their daily life. We can not see which product has the highest carbon footprint or the largest water depletion impact or which holiday trip is the best choice in terms of environmental impact. In doubt, most people will take the cheapest.

So it is essential to present the footprints of the products - individually tested and certified by neutral laboratories - in an easy to use way.
Without cumbersome scanning or typing codes, without the maze of hundreds of irrelevant "natural" labels - without the chance of greenwashing of bad products and services and without the inflexibility of printing new labels on the box (products and footprints vary fast and some are even time-dependent (esp. food (apples...)) !).

This system guides the USES user to the best products.

USES is a holistic system, meaning it combines the information and education with motivation in part I and offers the missing but necessary product information and the navigation system in part II.
It connects consumers with retailers and search engines, includes social networks with real friends and their community.
The shopping system is designed to be adjusted personally:
Products containing allergens can be avoided as well as e.g. food, disliked by your children. Any search via PC at home or mobile at the shop in front of a shelf will show the best products ranked first at the PC - or marked as green in a shelf respectively.
Via the interconnectedness of retailers the customer will see if a product is much cheaper or perhaps more healthy or more sustainable in another shop.
Especially the young generation is already partly aware that there are problems for our planet and humanity and for their health that could be mitigated by the right choices - but resigned - or simply believe the greenwash claims of companies.
Giving them a tool for their smartphone (or other IT devices like Google Glass), combining with augmented reality, fun and action while shopping will create a new shopping experience guiding consumers the way to sustainability.
This ranking will put a high pressure on "Business As Usual" companies" because if their products are bad for the planet or the people no one will find it and these will be listed out soon.
A summary as a DIY video about USES for the next generation - esp. in combination with The B-Team and other environmentalists - can be found here: (it is not for public broadcasting - only for MIT and jury !) http://ow.ly/zJQMc

Future:
Each product has an individual CO2e (GHG) score that will be transferred during shopping and so can be used to prepare a carbon trading system - first as a game later in an international agreement as reality.


Who will take these actions?

application for action:
USES is a tool for the whole world. For all who want to get entertained, those who like to win, those who like to save money and of course those who want to make the earth a better place.
USES is made for all who buy stuff - food, consumer products, electric appliances, cars or even buildings.

USES can be expanded to any education which means it's possible for all children and students to get educated in any topic.
It combines (mostly boring) MOOCs (open online courses) with fun and action. This can become a perfect means to help schools and colleges to make teaching fun !

USES is a megaphone for scientists and NOGs who want to get a better outreach to the public.

development:
USES is supposed to be developed by a consortium of different stakeholders:
Scientists and NGOS are responsible for the content. That will be transformed by film producers like James Cameron into irresistible entertainment.
Sustainable retailers and companies will pay for the system and the testing by independent laboratories which will generate lots of new green jobs.
USES I has to be adapted to certain country specifications and has to be translated but basically works everywhere. This will be done by crowdsourcing.


USES II will also be a global product.
Companies have to become partners of USES as they won't be found by the system any more. These (rather sustainable) products will be analyzed independently, paid by the corporations.
This will be in cooperation with already labeling trustworthy seals.
Parts of the testing will be done via crowd (-> Wiki).

USES is an individually - in cooperation with the University of Lübeck - developed platform. It will become an open system to use for free for everyone. The efforts of the system installation and product tests will be paid by the companies and retailers.


What are other key benefits?

- Educating the young generation, using their "language" (smartphones, video games, TV and prizes as well as peer pressure) to make climate and environmental issues interesting and easy to understand and to turn the available information into action.

- Teaching them, and via the youth also the parents, what can be done and what effect it will have on their life and on their purse.

- USES II will give IT savvy consumers power to choose the best product and so ending Business As Usual

USES is UNIVERSAL:
USES I can be used for any issue and any education.

The simple, 5 criteria, new universal labeling system can be used for any product - from soap to cookies, from cars to buildings to address environment, health, ethics, quality and price

USES II will combine sustainability with better shopping (saving money, getting discounts) making it a MUST for everyone to use!

USES is a win win win system - for planet, people and partners (retailers, sustainable companies and scientists/NGOs)


What are the proposal’s costs?

USES I and II are developed as a first prototype with our University and needs optimization and a larger data base.

About $100.000 will be needed to develop this prototype into a fully working Beta Test version to test at the partner's headquarters/test facilities.

The whole system will be huge - like all the problems it will mitigate:
from climate to water, from soil to food, from resources to obesity... -
and so will be the investments.
But it will be all self repaying after a first investment of approx. $10 million by external partners - industry and foundations.
The money from selling the system to search engines and anonymous Big Data to interested companies will generate enough revenue to pay for the entertainment and create even revenue for the implementation of the CO2 trading system and future sustainability projects.


Time line

The development took 3 years up to now - including the first working augmented reality prototype.
The Beta version of the basic platform including testing and bug fixing will need about 6-8 months.
Most time will need the entertainment and the product data collection where the crowd might come to action. Approximately 6 additional months will be minimum to get the shopping navigation system and first months of entertainment running - depending on the available money.
After the launch probably in 2016 USES will need about a year to have most IT users as participants (one "Harry Potter and the Curse of Mankind" would be enough to gain attention of an audience of >100million) and have taught them the basics "what to do".
Climate change mitigating effects should be visible soon after:

Some actions presented in USES I will have immediate effects (like "put a lid on the cooking pot") and some (relative) short like 1-5 years (like the famous light bulb replacing).
More investment related measures like wall insulation or heating replacement and solar collectors or PV will have "a longer short term effect" of 5-15 years.

USES II will have a very fast effect - if at least 20% of the supermarket products are tested, the USES system offers so many advantages that most will use that to shop. A fast shift away from Business As Usual products towards sustainable products can be achieved.

The global carbon trading might start after a 5 year test phase as a game - if the UN will endorse the system.

All  USES effects will be fully established after 15 years and keep running until we have created an abundant planet for all.


Related proposals

USES is a universal platform that will educate (esp. young) people about ways to change the game.

There are several approaches to educate climate and even several to
make people buy more sustainable products but to get a breakthrough it needs a bolder and holistic approach like USES I+II.


USES  has some correlations with:

Go CO2 Free - App to engage individual action
and
Global University for Climate Innovation and Invention
and
Dangers to the environment a required course in education

iCarbon shows you how to lower your personal carbon footprint
and
Normative: Scan your purchase, visualize your impact
and
Virtual Carbon-Shelving
and
The Product Passport:...

USES is a platform for projects like

Climate Stories Project
and
Creating responsible consumption habits...

where they would find the space they need to reach millions.

Because USES is an optimal platform for a global multi system transition approach helping other projects we also apply for the global plan contest.

 


References


a)  "Overall, the American public’s opinion and beliefs about climate change haven’t changed a whole lot,"
says Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication.

b) "I think that my colleagues and I are becoming increasingly frustrated with having to repeat the same information again and again, and again and again and again—and not just year after year, but decade after decade," Hayhoe says

 c) "People need to feel efficacious about climate change—what can they do, in their everyday lives, to help climate change?" Nisbet explains.

a) ... c) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/talking-about-climate-change-how-weve-failed-and-how-we-can-fix-it-180951070

d) 48 % of European consumers are confused by the stream of environmental information they receive. This also affects their readiness to make green purchases. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/eussd/smgp/



e) Die WB schlagen daher ein „Dachlabelkonzept“ zur Steigerung der Effektivität des Food-Label-ling vor.
(the scientific committee recommends a unified labeling system to improve food labeling effectivity)
Politikstrategie Food Labelling 2011
Wissenschaftlichen Beiräte für Verbraucher- und Ernährungspolitik sowie
Agrarpolitik des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung, Landwirtschaft und Verbraucherschutz

(f) Push To Require Climate Denial Instruction In Schools
http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/01/11259/alec-model-bill-behind-push-require-climate-denial-instruction-schools