New Climate Magazine: Learning to live on a changing planet by New Climate Magazine
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Jul 14, 2015
We appreciate the judges' comments encouraging us to investigate the very best partners who will help us to scale New Climate Magazine and ensure its success. One of our key purposes for participating in the Climate CoLab is to interact with potential partners and build collaborative relationships supportive of the magazine's goals. We would certainly welcome input from the judges as to specific potential partners and assistance with relationship development. We have made several changes to the proposal to clarify and strengthen the presentation. A specific concern that we would like to highlight: One of our readers who has a great deal of experience working with climate action organizations has noted a "missing middle" in who shows up for climate action. Active participants tend to be under 30 or over 60. Those in the middle are understandably preoccupied with family and career responsibilities. New Climate will engage the "missing middle" through editorial focus and distribution. Our content is intended for a mature and thoughtful audience. The challenge is articulating engagement opportunities that seem approachable and manageable for people with time and attention constraints, and framing climate action as an essential family/parental responsibility. Regarding distribution, We think we are in the right place to reach the "missing middle"- checkout counters, and the community organizations such as faith organizations, PTOs and local climate action coalitions with whom we intend to partner.
Sep 9, 2015
Summation of Learning and Connecting through the CoLab
The New Climate Magazine proposal team would like to summarize the learning and connecting we have realized through our engagement in the CoLab process. Interaction with other CoLab participants has already proven invaluable to the development of a new kind of magazine for the next million climate leaders and activists. We decided to submit our vision for New Climate Magazine after working on it in whiteboard sessions for more than a year. We were ready to take the next step: engaging through the CoLab’s collective intelligence platform - a unique opportunity to engage with other creative thinkers.
We were not disappointed. Dozens of readers offered insights that have helped advance our thinking. Several thought leaders with deep experience in relevant disciplines and endeavors have agreed to be ongoing advisors as we proceed toward a full prototype of the magazine. Here are the key insights we would like to share with the judges, advisors and staff of the Shifting Attitudes and Behavior contest:
New Climate Magazine is designed for a specific audience: people who realize that climate change is a problem but are not yet engaged in the necessary human response.
Our starting point is the 40% of Americans adults who report being alarmed or concerned about climate change (Yale/George Mason surveys). This translates to about 100 million people. Our goal is to reach and engage at least 1% of this cohort through the physical magazine and associated social media, advertising, collaborations with climate action organizations, and online outreach.
Commenters helped us realize that we had not articulated this audience well enough. We responded at the time but have since further refined our thinking:
New Climate empowers and mobilizes the concerned yet disengaged. This nascent wave of leaders and activists is diverse: scientists, teachers, parents, activists, clergy, students, community organizers, and businesspeople. They are you and your neighbors, friends, and family. They are adults with children and careers who care about climate change but have competing priorities in their lives. We believe that given information, insights, tools, hope, and inspiration, these concerned citizens will be ready to take more personal responsibility for climate change and to be part of designing a sustainable future, whether they act locally or on the world stage, in their families, communities, industries, and political sphere.
Once we begin the next phase of project development, we will do an in-depth market analysis. We look forward to sharing thinking with the climate communication experts at George Mason, Yale, and elsewhere on how to segment, reach, and engage this audience.
How New Climate Magazine is different:
Several commenters noted that there are already way too many climate magazines, blogs, websites, journals, etc. One reader, a faculty member at a leading university and a former public official, emailed this comment (elided):
"It is an interesting concept and it has potential to garner an audience. My only suggestion is that you spend more time identifying your audience. People in my position are overwhelmed by reading material…. I have cancelled subscriptions to terrific journals and magazines ... You need to ask, what is the magazine that my reader will discard in order to read this magazine. Why focus on a new magazine rather than a new blog or internet publication?"
Our response (elided):
You put your finger on one of our greatest challenges…. You are probably not representative of our primary audience, which is people who are concerned about climate change in a nagging back-of-the-mind kind of way, but not really engaged in the issue. That's why we're focusing on lively design, point-of-sale distribution, human potential as it relates to climate change, and specific actions that individuals can take to engage with collective actions . . . We think, and have gotten some feedback, that what we've laid out is a bit different from what's already out there.
We are very deliberately focusing on print as our cornerstone medium precisely because information overload has become endemic with on-line media. I don't think we could capture the intended audience and hold their attention for more than five minutes online…. There is some good research out there pointing to the advantages of print for attention and cognition.
This exchange captures much of how we view the unique position of New Climate Magazine as an antidote to the daily bombardment of information.
The specific areas of differentiation:
Comments from potential collaborators, informants and supporters:
The New Climate project team decided to participate in CoLab as a means of vetting our ideas and connecting with a broad cross-section of relevant experts and thought leaders. We have been very pleased with the result and appreciate both the input and the offers of collaboration. Here is some of the relevant input:
Dr. Howard Frumkin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, IPCC co-author, and former Special Assistant to the CDC Director for Climate Change and Health.
"When I started reading your email I was doubtful. What, another new climate organization? Another magazine? But after reading your note and the web page, I’m sold. I’m a magazine reader and subscriber, and this is definitely one I’d read. I think others will too, lots of others. I don’t know of anything like it. We need to get the ideas out there, and I think this will be a big step forward in doing so.
New Climate Magazine is a brilliant idea. As a health scientist I'm aware that we need both solid data and compelling ways to reach people. This is how we've made progress on many public health fronts, from smoking cessation to seat belt use to HIV prevention. We need to do it for climate change--perhaps the major public health challenge of this century. The combination of attractive design, succinct messaging and savvy placement can be a game-changer. I look forward to seeing the magazine!"
Susanne Moser, PhD, is an internationally recognized expert on adaptation to climate change, vulnerability, resilience, climate change communication, social change, decision support and the interaction between scientists, policy-makers and the public. Her article “Getting Real About It: Meeting the Psychological and Social Demands of a World in Distress” was an early and powerful inspiration for this project.
"It's not a small challenge to be real about the facts about climate change and all they imply, AND stay focused on a hopeful, practical, encouraging note! So kudos to you, just for starters, just for trying. It is maybe the greatest need for all of us to stay constructively engaged on climate change. If your efforts succeed, this may become the most needed journal in the history of humankind!"
Grady McGonagill is an organizational consultant specializing in building capacity for learning and change. He has mentored many organizations in leadership development and developing a culture of learning and coaching, and is a dedicated climate activist. He is co-author of several books on learning organizations.
"New Climate’s vision of reaching the “next million” leaders seem to me just right. … we need to inspire and support people who already know there’s a problem but haven’t yet taken a step to engage.... The magazine will address the importance of a cultural transformation, while showing how our actions as individuals can bring that about. As a specialist in organizational behavior and individual transformation, I can attest that New Climate’s empowerment model is quite robust. I’m eager to see the results!"
Ellen Moyer, PhD, is an environmental engineer with more than 30 years of experience and an environmental journalist/blogger. Recent articles cover culture, demographics, and climate change.
"I’m excited by the concept of New Climate Magazine, especially its constructive tone…. Climate change presents an unprecedented opportunity to bring humans of all ages and cultures together in a way that has never been seen before. I hope New Climate Magazine will facilitate this."
Project advisory group:
Collaboration with leaders of thought and action from the diverse disciplines relevant to climate mobilization is absolutely critical to this project. We have reached out to several old and new colleagues to advise us through the six-month prototype and business development phase described in the proposal. Advisors will share their ideas, help build linkages with other organizations, and review draft planning documents and content.
To date, the following people have agreed to serve as project advisors:
Dr. Howard Frumkin (bio in previous section)
Grady McGonagill (bio in previous section)
Dr. Mark Trexler has advised clients around the world on climate change risk and risk management for more than 25 years. He is the founder of ClimateWeb, a knowledge management database of climate change information, incorporating relevant knowledge across the behavioral, social, and physical sciences using advanced mind mapping and visualization tools.
Vanessa Rule is founder and organizing director of Mothers Out Front, an activist organization that has grown from a small group of mothers discussing climate change to a regional network of hundreds of organizers working toward clean energy.
Julie Michaels is a seasoned magazine editor. She was a founding editor of New England Monthly and has had significant editing responsibilities at the Boston Globe, including Sunday op-ed page, associate editor of the Sunday magazine, and redesign of several special sections.
Reverend Margaret Bullit-Jones is an Episcopal priest, writer, retreat leader, and climate activist. She serves as "missioner for creation care" in the diocese of Western Massachusetts, where she seeks to inspire and support a wave of religious activism in and beyond the diocese that will address the climate crisis and deepen reverence for God’s creation.
We are grateful to these amazing people for engaging with the project and offering their expertise and insights. We will continue to build our advisory group as the project progresses.
Scope of our CoLab proposal:
This proposal is to fund the development of a working prototype of the magazine, build a network of experts and supporters, and develop a comprehensive business plan. The time frame for this process is approximately six months from the go date. Details in the original proposal.
What we need to move the project forward:
The CoLab proposal for New Climate Magazine identifies a need for approximately $150,000 of seed funding for the prototyping phase described above. The proposal team is prepared to serve as the core project management, networking, and creative team. However, this is a big idea that can only work with a great deal of collaboration with individuals and organizations whose vision and goals mesh with ours. The project will need:
We have already made progress in developing some of these important collaborative relationships and look forward to expanding these horizons as the project moves forward. The judges’ designation as a project winner would enhance our credibility and open doors as we pursue development of the strongest possible collaborative network. We'll need nothing less to engage a million new climate activists.