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Jacob Hollander

Dec 7, 2015
07:40

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Can Boulder be Carbon neutral? Maybe. Is this contest all about making Boulder itself better? No. Is this proposal something that would inspire collaboration on a national if not global scale? I don't think so, and I don't mean to be nitpicky but it's not about having some awesome online platform that works really well and looks nice, it's about ability to forge real world strategic alliances.


Finn Woelm

Dec 12, 2015
04:19

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Hey Jacob,

Thank you for taking the time to read this proposal! You bring up good points. I want to provide a few thoughts:

Can Boulder be carbon neutral?
Hopefully! As was just reiterated over the COP21 discussions, it is absolutely crucial that we achieve global carbon neutrality within the second half of this century (at the latest!) [1]. If we want to achieve global carbon neutrality, it more or less implies that we also have to achieve carbon neutrality within countries, states, and communities. In my experience, the Boulder community cares a lot about climate change and awareness of climate change is greater than in most other places I have been to (probably due to the approximately 100 climate-focused organizations and 3,000 climate scientists that find their home here [2]). This high level of awareness is paired with high financial affluence [3]. So if carbon neutrality can be achieved somewhere, wouldn't it be here?
But you are absolutely right: Attaining carbon neutrality is not easy, as this article discusses in some more detail — that is exactly why I believe it is so crucial to get all of us, the community, engaged.

Is this contest all about making Boulder itself better?
Clear 'no'! While it is primarily about "fostering climate collaboration in Boulder" (as the title of the contest states), it is also about proposing a model that can be adopted by other communities around the world [4]. One of Boulder's key goals in climate mitigation efforts is to become a ... .That is why this proposal is about prototyping a platform for community engagement that is individualized to the local context of Boulder, but that — if successful — can be scaled to other communities nationally and internationally [5].

Is this proposal something that would inspire collaboration on a national if not global scale?
This proposal (as it is at the moment) is not about inspiring national or global collaboration. Rather it is about empowering communities to become leaders of climate action rather than having to "wait" for their governments to step up the efforts. But when you say "it's not about having some awesome online platform that works really well and looks nice" you are exactly right: It's not about creating yet another app or platform that costs multiple thousand dollars to develop and then ends up slowly decaying in some dark corner of the Internet. It's about leveraging real impact. It's impossible to predict whether or not a platform for community engagement will inspire collaboration and lead to carbon emission reductions but I think we can take a few key steps to increase the likelihood: collaborating with existing organizations, community feedback ("market analysis") and rapid prototyping, engaging the community in the development to foster a very strong sense of community ownership, and making the platform fun, interactive, and rewarding to name just a few.

Those are just a few thoughts. I would love to hear more in-depth, constructive feedback, if you are open to it. I would also love to talk about your proposal and see how we might be able to support each other's work. If you want, let's have a Skype or phone call. Just send me a private message.

All the best to you from Boulder,
Finn :)

References:
[1] United Nations Conference on Climate Change (2015). Why 2°C?. Retrieved from http://www.cop21.gouv.fr/en/why-2c/
Levin, K., Morgan, J., & Song, J. (2015, December 11). COP21 Q&A: What is GHG emissions neutrality in the context of the Paris agreement?. World Resources Institute. Retrieved from http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/12/cop21-qa-what-ghg-emissions-neutrality-context-paris-agreement
[2] Fostering Climate Collaboration in Boulder, CO 2016
[3] Harden, M. (2012, February 15). Boulder among most affluent U.S. cities; Denver ranks high. Denver Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2012/02/15/boulder-among-most-affluent-us.html
[4] See "Key Issues" of "Fostering Climate Collaboration in Boulder, CO 2016".
[5] See the "Timeline" for this proposal. Other members of the Alliance for Carbon Neutral Cities (ACNC) would probably be ideal targets for scaling.


Finn Woelm

Dec 12, 2015
04:00

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Ooops, I forgot half a sentence in my comment above :)

Under "Is this contest all about making Boulder itself better?", I started writing "One of Boulder's key goals in climate mitigation efforts is to become a ...". The whole sentence is supposed to be this: "One of Boulder's key goals in climate mitigation efforts is to become a 'world leader in [...] emissions reductions programs [...] and inspire [...] other communities to participate in reducing carbon emissions and stabilizing the climate.'"

The origin of that quote is under "Vision" on page 4 of Boulder's Climate Commitment (Draft October 2015).


Jacob Hollander

Dec 20, 2015
07:05

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I just don't think that is a realistic or tangible goal, nor is it the best way to fight climate change. What are you going to do when people from surrounding cities want to go hiking or go to a festival or something in Boulder?

I think the underlying problem is that Boulder itself is trying to influence too much and what needs to happen is you need to work on building strategic alliances with other communities, especially those that don't share your views.

Carbon Neutral sounds great on paper, but practically speaking this would mean developing carbon sinks while still using fossil fuels.

Better way to address the issue on the whole: climate change is not the problem it is a symptom. The problem is pollution, and it's becoming more difficult to battle it because of ideological differences. 


Jacob Hollander

Dec 20, 2015
07:01

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How to say this eloquently, if you can't work hand in hand with Colorado Springs, this won't work at all.


Jacob Hollander

Dec 20, 2015
07:01

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How to say this eloquently, if you can't work hand in hand with Colorado Springs, this won't work at all.


Daniel Jubelirer

Jan 28, 2016
01:46

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Hey I think this is great! Very well thought out. We use Loomio at Earth Guardians and it is a very good platform. We can connect you to the founder of it if that would be helpful at some point in developing this. I think this platform could work well with the living soils carbon sequestration project that Russell and I are writing a proposal for now. 

I am definitely excited to collaborate with you on this at Naropa and beyond! 

-Daniel

 

 

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