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ClimateX by Team MITACAL

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Jacob Hollander

Nov 20, 2015
05:27

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Are you serious about having a great impact and influence real change, or is this about maintaining control and having your name personally stamped on it? I mean the project itself is right in line with what is really needed (accessible science education) however I don't think this is something that's going to catch on and you should borrow a page or several from Bill Nye and Neil Degrasse Tyson when it comes to educating the masses about science. 

Not to be overly critical, but I'm asking this as an entertainment professional who happens to be a COO of an Aircraft manufacturer, why would you create a whole new platform with no built in audience to educate people about science when the goal is having a major impact on climate change? Seems like a slow and laborious way of doing things and not particularly cost effective, just my opinion.


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Nov 21, 2015
10:48

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Hey Jake, how did you uncover our plot to take over science education and dominate the universe? We don't want to stop there either, since climate justice isn't only about communicating science but also about changing policy and behavior and to offer green alternatives to conventional careers. We believe we have the right tools to do so. Send us a message if you want to know more. 


Steve Pittman

Dec 7, 2015
11:08

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I am astonished at how polarized the climate change debate has become.

On the one hand, we have those who deny that the climate is warming at all.  Get the book "Climate Change: The Facts" from your local library (please don't buy it and thereby support its publisher) and consider how it will affect readers who don't know any better.  The book cites an astonishing number of bogus "facts", not the least of which is the assertion that "... there has been no increase in global atmospheric temperature over the past seventeen years."

On the other hand, we have global warming zealots who believe that all humans should impoverish themselves to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  The reality is that even if carbon dioxide emissions were reduced to zero tomorrow, it would take decades  (if not centuries) for climate to return to its pre-anthropocene state.  Not that such an outcome is desirable.  Without inadvertent human intervention, the Earth's climate would be well on its way into the next ice age by now.  Read "Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum" for more details.

In groping for a synthesis that would bring opposing sides together, the first step is to acknowledge that joining one side or the other will not help the situation.

I have a number of acquaintances who sincerely believe that global warming is a hoax.  I have found that no amount of rational debate can change someone's mind about a topic as emotionally charged as global warming.  The only thing that changes someone's mind is allowing them to do the talking and asking good questions using their language.

I am supporting the ClimateX proposal because I am cautiously optimistic that it will cause large numbers of people (not just MIT staff, students, and alumni) to engage in a reality-based national debate regarding climate change and allow their minds to be changed by the process, allowing a national consensus to emerge.

 

Just to be clear on where I currently stand in the debate, I believe prudent steps are appropriate to reduce CO2 emissions over a period of decades and modest investments (less than $10 billion/year) are appropriate to prepare to geoengineer Earth's climate if a crisis erupts. The White House Climate Action Plan does propose to reduce CO2 emissions over a period of decades, precisely the kind of prudent change with a low economic impact appropriate to reduce the risk of catastrophic consequences.  See David Kieth's talk for one geoengineering proposal which I believe has merit.

 


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Dec 8, 2015
05:15

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@oneskywalker, thanks for your thoughtful response. This is exactly the kind of dialog we need. Do take a look at the other Team MITACAL proposals and spread the word amongst your friends and colleagues. 


Curt Newton

Dec 11, 2015
01:20

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I would offer to this plan: MIT OpenCourseWare has published a tremendous amount of MIT course content on climate change.  See this list of 40+ course highlights. This content is openly shared with the world under a Creative Commons license, so everyone is free to download, remix, adapt and redistribute - including repurposing in a collection like the ClimateX layer.  Happy to talk more about this.


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Dec 16, 2015
05:44

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Great suggestion, @newcurtains - could we talk offline about this?


Filip Za???ny

Mar 15, 2016
06:55

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Making your plan possible you would need to build efficient network or application. In order to make it secure or efficient I suggest to take a look at the Ethereum Project. 


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Mar 15, 2016
07:17

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Thanks for the suggestion, Filip. 


Alison Halderman

Mar 19, 2016
03:43

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Hi...I REALLY like adding the career assist to the existing edX resources. So you would be helping those already educated, orchoosing to be educated about climate then move into positions to do more about it. Or at least that is how I read your proposal.

Starting with MIT alumni, using and adding to existing mentoring/guidance systems for alumni, right? Immediately made me want to go to MIT! (PS I am not an alumni or student). Then I got suggestions that the thinking is to expand this to those self educating through edX as resources allow, creating a larger "Climate Corps" than MIT alumni only. Is that a goal or hope?

I have a comment or possibly an addition. Since I am not a student or alumni, I might have missed something about the overall culture at MIT, but I was thinking that even at MIT there is probably a percentage not that interested in addressing climate change. I started inventing a survey to identify not only which alumni respond to "climate change" or "global warming", but also to tease out what are the priorities of each alumni and how do those overlap with changes that lower carbon emissions or sequester it? Renewables, for example, lend themselves well to increasing independence from government/ utility structures and lower living or business costs, which are often values held dearly by climate deniers.

Honestly, almost longer to talk about such than "show" a draft...this also tied in with some thinking and tweaking I had re my Ecofiction Challenge project, and how it attracts and appeals even climate deniers in part (truly), how I can reframe the language and questions to engage a wider audience.

So re my project, instead of inviting people to write fiction set in "the sustainable (Boston, Eugene, Ohio?) of your dreams" ( you write stories set in your own self defined community, whether a street, town, church, school or city)..I would start by asking "what changes would improve the quality of life for you, your family and your community?" and  go on from there....my idea being that it may often be very successful in empowering and engaging even people who don't even return the survey, but do think differently as a result of reading and thinking about the questions.

Thanks for thinking about this. Let me know if I read the proposal correctly, and your thoughts re an initial or introductory survey as part of your platform.

Alison Halderman, Eugene OR 

PS I'll probably finish composing my idea for a survey and submit it as a proposal to get people looking at it/ hopefully get feedback. Priority is currently running my local version of the Ecofiction Challenge plus all the international networking happening with three countries participating and running their own. Will slow down after Earth Day, or maybe I'll finish a draft survey before more submissions come in. Already we are floating some other projects to follow and build on that network being created by this annual challenge.

 


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Mar 20, 2016
08:46

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Hi Alison,

Thanks for your thoughtful comments. You are spot on. 

"the thinking is to expand this to those self educating through edX as resources allow, creating a larger "Climate Corps" than MIT alumni only. Is that a goal or hope?"

That's exactly our goal. Thanks for sharing your idea to include an initial survey; I very much like the framing around "what kind of life would you like to live?"

best,

Rajesh


Paul Dryfoos

Mar 29, 2016
01:40

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Rajesh - The ClimateX proposal goes right at one of the core challenges of human response to climate change - how do we use network tools to accelerate the pace of learning and dissemination to accelerate innovation and bring solutions to scale? New Climate Magazine is proposing to use mass media to this end, so there is a clear commonality of purpose. Citizen's Climate Lobby recently put up Citizen's Climate University, a MOOC focused on general climate literacy and developing expertise in political advocacy.

http://citizensclimateeducation.org/tools/citizens-climate-university/

An interesting corollary to your work. I wish you success with this proposal. It is much needed.


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Mar 29, 2016
02:50

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Thanks for your comment Paul. We would love to talk offline. 


Kingshuk Dasgupta

Apr 1, 2016
12:48

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Rajesh, this is a great idea and wish you the best. Have you considered how climate science and its study can take into account and learn from specific practices that indigenous communities have been involved with over the years. Typically, these have not been in the mainstream discourse in academia but the real direct impact of climate change has been in the lives of indigenous communities across the planet. Some cross-pollination efforts in both directions, would, IMO be a very useful goal for your project.


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Apr 1, 2016
12:35

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Kingshuk, great comment. Indeed, there's a crying need for crowdsourcing (with respect and without appropriating) knowledge from indigenous cultures around the world. Sadly, many of them are now climate/ecological refugees. 


Niraikalai Vijay

Apr 19, 2016
06:03

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It is an interesting proposal for harnessing the power of MIT Alumni.

I saw the two points under the headline titled

"Actions in this area would also be focused on enhancing recruiting of MIT students by verifiably green companies, by: "

Then following thought came. I just felt like adding as a comment. But following needs in-depth technical expertise. So I don't know whether it is feasible to provide as a on-line option.

One of the point that may be useful is to add a course track on how existing oil & gas companies can play a role in creating green careers in their industry itself. May be by designing/upgrading GHG efficiency in the plant and also methods for better CCS (Carbon Capture & Storage).

 


Hemant Wagh

Apr 20, 2016
04:40

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Will ClimateX be accessible to leity...??!!


Rajesh Kasturirangan

Apr 20, 2016
07:40

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Hemant, much of our content will be openly available to the world. 

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