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Climate Action Ramps Platform builds just-right connectivity among climate actors to mobilize large-scale actions and amplified advocacy



Judges!  Please review message for what has been revised, including the name of the platform replacing Make Boulder Cool.

Our aim is to leverage the gains made by global climate movement and enable the movement to touch down where the actions ought to be; at the level of streets, buildings, offices, hospitals, schools, government agencies, homes, and the like.

We have begun to develop an online platform called Climate Action Ramps.  It enables individuals and entities in diverse city sectors to support one another, and take measurable actions that are pegged to climate response goals in creating 100% renewable energy by 2050 (see Ref.1) and city resiliency.

The platform will support the following:

  • Enable individuals, teams, and business sectors to combine their forces and build multi-dimensional advocacy.
  • Enable  diverese experts to create curated content.  It will enable people, interest groups, and diverse sectors get just-in-time and well-vheted guidance
  • Build custom community around the user and cultivates user’s personal ‘staying power’ for committed action.
  • Track actions and assign points to users.  The points are not equivalent to monitoring currency, they wiill be valuable in gaining customers, rewards, introductions, references, endorsements, college admissions, employee recognition, corporate social responsibility PR, and more.
  • Allow community members to set up initiatives, events, campaigns, and activities.  When launched in different parts of the world, the platform will enable distant participants to communicate, support, and consult with one another.
  • Allow for to/from communication with local and outside champions in order to amplify advocacy and gain expert guidance


When the platform is adopted and well-utilized in other cities around the world, it holds tremendous power of building concerted climate change action.  Boulder is best poised to co-create and launch.


What actions do you propose?

Note to Judges - This version of the proposal has following changes.  

  1. A contributor has been added.  He has expertise in ecommerce development and has confidence that the proposed platform is doable.  We are developing the concepts and components to invite open-source development.  This will keep the costs down to minimum.  We believe this addresses judges concerns for it being costly (which it will not be, as our platform will use existing tools that are already available for communication, social-media, scheduling events, various apps, and so on).  Moreover, our open-source framework will efficiently enable inputs from diverse parties.  This addresses judges; concerns as well.
  2. Note that we are calling thie platform we are developing as Climate Action Ramps.  However, the origiinal proposal's title is Make Boulder Cool.  
  3. We propose to let Make Boulder Cool (or whatever the Boulder community wants to name) be an initiative that is supported by our platform Climate Action Ramps. 


Section 1: OUR BASIS

Two relatively recent developments are significant to address two-sided climate change challenge – 1) lower carbon significantly, and 2) build resilient cities and regions for weathering adverse climate impacts. 

These two developments have raised the perches from which the climate change movement can better see the direction and take concerted and targeted actions

One development is a recent publication, referred to as 100% WWS (wind, water/hydroelectric, solar) by Jacobson, et al of Stanford University (ref.1).  It lays out state-by-state roadmaps for implementing 100% WWS from existing technologies and energy efficiency by 2050.   Further, the team shows that their proposed 100% WWS roadmap fairs much better on jobs, health, and economics than business-as-usual scenario. “The main barriers to getting to 100 percent clean energy are social and political, not technical or economic” Jacobson told the members of Congress and ambassadors from countries participating in the negotiations during a forum in Washington, DC in November 2015 (ref.2).  

The second is the growth of city resilience building movement.  It is at early stage but various organizations, such as 100 Resilience Cities ARUP, and others have suitable frameworks, tools, and a dearth of experience that many thousands of cities can utilize.  (ref 3)

We are taking these two forerunners of climate change movement as our starting point.  Our aim is to facilitate translating these highly technical and complex topics in suitable and actionable formats that diverse types of actors can use. 


Section 2: Zooming into the future

The following future visioning may help the Boulder community to see what our co-created platform can do at Boulder.

Zooming into the future at Boulder in the year 2020

It is year 2020.  People  refer to “Climate Action Ramps: Boulder” as just the Ramps.  It has been fully operational in the city for a number of years.  Thousands of people in Boulder are members of the Ramps. So are hundreds of companies, institutions, community groups, NGOs, farmer’s market stall owners, schools, city agencies.  School students in approved teams are also active members.  There are other cities around the world with their respective Climate Action Ramps Platform and they are interlinked with one another. 

Today is a beautiful early summer morning and you and thousands of bikers, walkers, and bus-riders are going to work.  You recall how some bikers in Boulder had started Bike-to-work campaign at the beginning of the Platform launch back in late 2016.  By now this campaign includes all forms of climate-friendly means of transportation. You have been a very recent convert.  You are loving it – on most days.

You park your bike and scan your cell phone over a bar-coded sticker on the rack.  Bingo!  You and your employer just got Climate Points.  You check the Ramp’s dashboard. The ticker rolling fairly rapidly – showing miles logged since this morning and the gallons saved.  The speed of the ticker gets faster as more and more bikers are parking their bikes and scanning in their ride on the Ramps App. 

You feel connected and purposeful to do your part and know that others too are doing their part.  Everyone’s efforts count. Many thousands have been added since the Ramps went into effect at Boulder. 

You stop at the deli before heading to your office.  You pull out your coffee mug from your backpack.  The cashier rings up the order and you swipe your phone app Take-Your-Mug.   Bingo!  Both you and the deli accrue points in your respective Climate Action Ramps accounts.  The Ramps has all such apps to measure actions towards reducing carbon and waste and increasing city resilience.

For some reason, you glance at your receipt.  You see $5.30 saved.  What?  How can that be?  You examine closely.  Ah, you never noticed until now that ever since you joined the Take-Your-Mug campaign, you have been getting a small discount from the merchants.  This was the total savings from all instances when you had taken your own mug and your own water bottles.  You realize that many other cafes, delis and such also are on the Ramps program.  Why would they not?  It saves them a nice bundle of cash and time of purchasing and stocking the disposable wares and for paying for trash hauling.

You are curious.  You look at the Take-Your-Mug ticker on the Climate Action Ramps dashboard.  The ticker is also moving pretty rapidly this morning, showing large numbers of people who have used their own mugs and saved the trash, landfill space, and GHGs.   

You know that the point is not about accruing Climate Points for the self.  Sure it is nice to get some discounts because of the Climate Points.  The point is that the Climate Points remind everyone that they are a part of a big movement.  Every time you accrue Climate Points, you are reminded that your small actions add up and they matter.  

You also recall how people are using Climate Points accrued on their Ramps account for jobs, college entrance, gaining access to guidance of experts and more. 

Your thoughts are interrupted as you just receive a tweet from the Ramps.  It perks your interest.  It is from a team called "Stash $ - Not Trash".  The tweet urges people to attend an on-line panel discussion next Tuesday evening.  It will be followed by city council deliberations where people’s on-line participation will make the biggest difference.

You read  the news blurb about this Stash$-Not Trash team and how through the Ramps they were able to  connect with Product Stewardship Institute’s (PSI), as well as Consensus Building Institute, both in Boston.  These two institutes will be on the panel discussions in Boulder’s trash related reforms.

You tag this topic to be of interest on your Ramps App.  As soon as you indicate this topic to be of interest, your own personal Action Ramp now includes a few resources to bring you up to speed.  This event is synchronized in your calendar.  You also see that your boss and many others are also interested in this topic.  Cool.  Boulder rocks!

Later in the day your office-mate tells people that his daughter’s 7th grade class has been introduced by the Ramps to a 7th grade class in Surat, India.  Today the kids are doing a google hangout, as they have been doing for some time now.  Today’s topic is to learn about how recent years flooding in Surat and in Boulder caused the damage and how residents and the city municipalities responded.  The students will ‘show-and-tell’ stories and photos and You Tubes from their respective cities.  Next month, the kids will be doing problem-solving unit.  They will be doing joint brain storming about what strategies will work to alert the residents in the flood-prone areas of the city.  They will also have a joint unit on what first responders do, and what type of training they get. 

As you cycle back home in the evening, you have plenty to reflect.  You see that the Ramps has been used by all sorts of community connect with one another.  People from around the world have begun to know one another, care for one another’s issues, offer insights, share with one another the resources of intellectual, experiential, spiritual, cultural, and also financial kinds. 

You recall how in 2016, Boulder community and the Ramps developers worked together under the initiative of Make Boulder Cool.  In 2017, you and so many others participated in the Teach-iins offered through the Ramps.  The Teach-ins were to bring the 100% WWS and City Resilience awareness, concerted action, and massive advocacy.  Life in 2020 looks a whole lot different and there is much hope in the city.

You are cycling past a church.  The message board on the lawn reads: Creation Care Forum group meets Sunday.  Topic – Climate change through the lens of the Bible.  You are filled with hope. 

You sense that we are walking together now, the way what Buddhists call ‘sangha’ (followers of dharma).  You recall your Indian neighbor’s quote from Gandhi “…in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.”  Truth never leaves us alone.  It pursues us and sets us back on the right course.  Cool breeze sooths as you peddle your way home.


Section 3: Way forward

Climate change challenge requires a huge array of ‘moving parts’ all gathering and amplifying the collective action.  The best metaphor that can describe roughly what we are proposing to create is the music machine as featured in the following link.Wintergatan - Marble Machine (music instrument sing 2000 marbles)


Above sketched future vision is just to share some of what the Ramps can do.  At its core, the Ramps offers structure, templates, and tools. This allows diverse stakeholders to create and curate content.  It also allows all participants to take action, get support, and join hands for concerted action and advocacy.  

This platform can be possible by inviting an open-source development from diverse set of contributors.  This will enable us to develop it cost-effectively and in technologically robust manner. 

In addition to the technology open-source teams, the platform development will also include participation of ‘end-user’ teams, a team of social-media and communication contributors, and a team of business and logistic contributors. 

We propose that for the City of Boulder and its active climate actors to be the leader consider engaging with us in the following ways:

1.      Provide inputs and feedback during platform development stage.

2.      Make introductions with others in Boulder and outside Boulder.

3.      We will pick a topic (initiative) that is doable, causes noticeable impact, and is relatively safe first project that would be launched as a pilot at Boulder.

For high-level interface sketch see .

Who will take these actions?

Our team of Climate Action Ramps will be the anchor in developing this platform and will invite others in our core anchor team. 

Such a platform is best undertaken through open-source participation of contributors.  For the immediate, we will take one or two manageable climate actions and create a working alpha prototype.  We will also create a structured approach for open-source technology development

The platform’s shell will be developed first.  The platform's interface design and development will need to be guided by the inputs from key actors from diverse sectors. 

·        Open-source development – eg. MIT Colab

·        Social Media Researchers and Experts – eg. Profl Aaker at Stanford Uni.

·        Environmental and climate movements organizations – eg. Aavaz, The Climate Reality Project, Sierra Club

·        City Resilience – eg. Boulder’s City Resilience Officer, and others of 100 Resilience Cities

·        Boulder’s city agencies - We will need to meet with them a few times to share about the project and learn about their needs, thoughts, and suggestions.    

·        Renewable energy – eg. Prof. Jacobson group at Stanford Uni., Sunshot initiative at NREL

·        City agencies – eg. Boulder’s roads and municipality services

·        Legal advisers – eg. Legal experts experienced with such platforms

·        Non-expert users – eg. Bikers, homemakers, school teachers, store managers

Note that the above list is not complete but it is meant to illustrate the types of entities’ and people’s inputs for the platform design, development, launch, and large-scale adoption.  We anticipate that a few meetings with the above groups will be sufficient. 


What are the key challenges?

Major obstacles and strategies to overcome them:

·        Poorly designed open-source participation forum can be a major obstacle.   We request seasoned expert to guide us in strategizing, and providing us with as needed guidance.  The experts would be in open-source IT development and in on-line social media collaborative development fields.

·        Project does not have the right incubation milieu could be another obstacle.  Right resources, tools, and committed champions are necessary for the project teams to complete the project.  We request these.

 We don’t expect major obstacles beyond that.  

What are the key benefits?

1.      CLIMATE MOVEMENT AT STREET LEVEL: The platform creates climate-connectivity among people’s own personal, social, cultural, and work life in one’s city. Actions undertaken through the Ramps will become more and more visible.. 

2.      LARGE-SCALE ACTION BY PEOPLE AND INSTITUTIONS: It is never straightforward for people or businesses and institutions to make complicated decisions.  They require ample nudging from all dimensions – intellectual, emotional, social, economic, cultural, and spiritual.    Our platform recognizes the need to provide just-in-time information, just-in-time encouragement, and just-right type of nudges by people who matter.  Celebrations, recognition are also important aspects of the platform.

3.      BUILD LARGE AND MULTI-DIMENSIONAL ADVOCACY: The platform offers powerful way to build up large-scale advocacy at local level across cities and regions around the world.  It enables the local climate communities to learn from others with similar struggles or precedents.  They will be able to bolster the climate cause by reaching out to experts and institutions wherever they may be. 

4.      EFFICIENT AND TARGETED EXPERT GUIDANCE: Our platform will significantly reduce ‘noise’ and improve ‘signal’ to help companies, institutions, and government agencies around the world with right expert guidance, knowledge of best practices, and ability to interact with others.  Our platform helps them to better explore their options and navigate complex decision-making.  Simply pushing a list of directories is not helpful.  The experts enrolled on the Climate Action Ramps platform will have their own internal forums and they will generate trusted and consensus-generated curated content.  The platform will ‘push’ such well-curated content and interactivity to the users on the platform when the user’s interests match with the topic of curated content.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

As to the judge’s concerns for costs - As mentioned elsewhere open-source development makes costs a non-issue. It also removes the burden of project away from the Boulder climate community actors who created this contest.  

Costs during project development stage – Costs of open-source participation from contributors (connected on-line) will be a very low cost and yet robust solution. 

The platform tools are third party tools freely available on the internet.  There may be some web hosting fees, which can be avoided if MIT includes this platform on MIT’s servers.

Most meetings can be done through skype or google hangouts.  However, if and when travel costs are necessary for going to MIT or to Boulder, they may be under $5,000 for two people to visit 3 times (not sure if these trips may be necessary).   

Costs once the platform is operational: During the early stage of platform’s concept development, our open-source business team’s charter will be to create a way to make the platform ‘self-sustaining’ economically. They will come up whether or not to charge businesses a small membership fees, or get revenues from the generated aggregated data; the revenues will be folded back into promoting advocacy for renewable energy, ecological regeneration, and so on.


Time line

Year 2016 - 2017:

Develop and launch pilot iniitative at Boulder. Pick an initiative that enables people to make small behavioral changes but makes big visible impact and brings the community to rally with one another.  Pick also one of the WWS energy technology (such as CSP or Solar PV) and create an on-line Teach-ins and concerted advocacy.

Year 2018 to 2025

Roll out all of the WWS roadmap technologies and many initiatives related to city resilience building.  Simultaneously iincrease expert content development for enablikng global energy industrial sectors of WWS.  Boulder is best poised for this.

Related proposals



Note: Some of the following references are cited in the body of the proposal.  Others have informed the underpinnings of this proposal.

Ref 1: 100% Renewable energy roadmap reference : 100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States

Ref 2. Ecowatch quoting Jacobson

 City Resilience Framework resources:




Dragonfly Model –

Book --

First chapter of Dragonfly book  -

 Eight Forms of Capital -

 Collective Impact, John Kania & Mark Kramer