Use positive messages and small incentives to mobilize citizens and private/government organizations to combat climate change.
The participation of our “Mobilize Now” team in this CoLab contest is an example of grassroots mobilization to overcome the problem of climate change. A long and growing list of other grassroots mobilizations appears in Appendix A in the “References” section, below.
At the level of schools and community organizations, the grassroots plan described here is already underway. See Make Climate A Top Priority for Action by Every US Citizen and Organization.
This plan describes a movement that rewards citizens at every level for discussing, committing to solutions, and taking action to fight climate change. This movement is as seriously dedicated and energized as mobilizing for a World War.
Phase One of the mobilization adopts the strategy described in Award-winning CoLab proposal "Unleash the energy of millions by making climate action simple, relevant and fun" (2015). That proposal describes an Internet/social-media-powered design for how numerous "low-hanging-fruit" activities can be scaled and combined into a global plan for combating climate change through coordinated efforts of environmentally minded citizens and organizations.
Phase Two of this plan will develop in a time-frame that builds on the grassroots accomplishments of Phase One. Governments and large businesses will follow the lead of millions of people who join together to demand that suppliers of water, energy, and food do so responsibly and sustainably. If the people lead, the leaders will follow. Phase Two activities will generally take place at a time later than Phase One activities, but that is not necessarily the case.
Though this plan is global in scope, it is not grandiose or complicated. Rather, all actions, including organizing, are focused on low-hanging fruit at the local level – actions that (a) take little or no money, (b) are easy to understand and carry out, and (c) can produce relatively rapid results.
The movement uses the "bottom up" power of new electronic media, not the "top down" approach of mass media. This is not to say that mass media will not be used when appropriate opportunities arise. However, access to communication through mass media will not be relied upon for a movement that relies fundamentally upon the power of person-to-person relationships.
A set of specific actions to be taken is central to our overall plan, but each community has an opportunity to select for emphasis a subset of actions that match its local needs, interests, and resources. Thus, the actions described in this plan have been or will be implemented from the start with a different mix of emphasis from one community to another and from one nation to another.
Below, in a section describing how different actions fit together, 24 grassroots actions are listed along with links to where the actions are described in detail. Brief descriptions are also presented in Appendices B and C, under the References section below.
We predict that within the next five years, devastating effects from climate change will result in a changed political atmosphere worldwide. Grassroots engagement can put pressure on nations’ governments, confronted with these catastrophic environmental and geopolitical changes, to (a) stop providing subsidies to fossil-fuel industries and (b) divert those subsidies toward development of renewable energy sources. Thus, funds will become available to implement the proposals listed below for the various regions of the Earth.
If grassroots efforts can succeed in diverting government funds away from fossil-fuel subsidies, those funds will be available for more environmentally sustainable energy projects. One such project is an “Energy Island” plan that is described at Energy from Oceans Replaces Energy from Fossil Fuels and Impact on Emissions of CO2 from Deploying Energy Islands. The Energy Island plan, in conjunction with actions already underway, will result in carbon dioxide emissions being reduced to zero or near zero.
Which plan do you select for China?China: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Which plan do you select for India?India: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Which plan do you select for the United States?US Plan: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Which plan do you select for Europe?Europe: Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Which plan do you select for other developing countries?Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
Which plan do you select for other developed countries?Chemosynthetic Management of the Water/Energy/Nutrient Nexus (WENN)
What additional cross-regional proposals are included in your plan, if any?
"Make Climate A Top Priority for Action by Every US Citizen and Organization" is a proposal that includes grassroots action steps which can be carried out by citizens for little or no cost. The actions taken will be coordinated, encouraged, and rewarded by the SaveOhno website. The actions are
2. Religious & civic organizations, service clubs, youth groups, professional societies, municipal & county governments, & business organizations will all be asked to do their part to create a green future.
4. Vehicles transition to electric & are charged from ubiquitous and affordable solar, wind and small hydro energy generation at the household & community level, removed- from-grid dependence, with battery backup for homes and communities.
6. Photosynthesis, absorption, & sequestering of CO2 are enhanced by planting fast growing crops, trees & industrial hemp to absorb greenhouse gases.
8. Advocacy for a “No Foam Zone” throughout the US
11. Community composting - Every community could have a biodigester.
12. Reduce GHGs by encouraging less meat consumption.
13. Awareness of future climate change effects are heightened by participation in a futuristic storytelling game.
More complex and capital-intensive actions are described below under the "Phase Two" rubric.
How do the regional and cross-sectoral plans above fit together?
Key to the success of this global plan is actively engaging millions of people in a coordinated and comprehensive environmental movement that spans all regions and sectors. Those millions of people can be engaged because they are already getting messages from organizations that are likely to be cooperative in recommending people to SaveOhno.org – a highly innovative and unique website that is supportive of the goals of all genuine environmental organizations (see Appendix A). Early successes of the SaveOhno website show
1) Environmental organizations will be willing to direct their members to a website that encourages visitors to engage in petition-signing, where that simple activity is a fun experience that also earns rewards. There is early evidence that engagement with the site can be successful in moving people from (a) vague concern about the environment and feeling confused and not very hopeful much can be accomplished to (b) actively becoming involved in not just petition signing but also, increasingly, to more extensive activism: pledging changes in consumer behavior, boycotts, buycotts, political campaigns, protests, rallies, lobbying, donating, volunteering, etc.
2) Because development of the SaveOhno website has been accomplished with minimal costs, it is possible that it can be extended to empower a worldwide movement without depending on massive capital investment.
3) SaveOhno has attracted positive attention and support from not only grassroots organizations like Sustainable Wellesley but also well-known and well-respected organizations like MIT. It has attracted funding support from a donor.
The grass-roots, bottom-up approach of Phase One will be complemented by top-down approaches that are demanded by millions of citizens worldwide. The expression of those demands will be enabled and coordinated through the SaveOhno website.
Capital-intensive actions will be undertaken during Phase Two in response to strong advocacy and support of the grass-roots movement created in Phase One. Phase Two activities will generally take place at a time later than Phase One activities, but that is not necessarily the case.
The goal of Phase Two activities is to add to Phase One activities whatever capital-intensive actions are needed to provide sufficient energy, water, and food to people in environmentally responsible and sustainable ways. Regional proposals that could help meet those goals were selected above. However, those regional proposals might not be needed if (a) the cross-regional proposals Make Climate A Top Priority for Action by Every US Citizen and Organization and Energy Island are implemented on a global scale and (b) the SaveOhno platform is used.
Readers wanting further information about regional proposals can follow the links provided here. Key elements of the regional plans are also described here in Appendix C, under References.
Cross-regionally, a proposed "Energy Island" could fill a gap in world electricity production so enough energy from renewable energy sources will be available that emissions of greenhouse gases from electricity production will go to zero or near zero by 2040. Phase Two funding for the Energy Island proposal is described at Energy from Oceans Replaces Energy from Fossil Fuels and Impact on Emissions of CO2 from Deploying Energy Islands. Basically, funding needed for Energy Island will come from redirecting subsidies that now go toward fossil fuels.
Other funding sources that can be tapped during Phase Two include revenues from carbon taxes, grants from governments and foundations, and green bonds. Certain action proposals might involve providing a product or service that can be sold so as to make the action self-sustaining.
Below are capital-intensive actions that are part of the designated cross-regional proposal, Make Climate A Top Priority for Action by Every US Citizen and Organization. Additional details about actions are presented in Appendix B.
1. Energy production - "Energy from Oceans Replaces Energy from Fossil Fuels"
2. Mass Transit – Masdar City is one great example that would work in urban areas. Pressure will be put on the automotive industry to transition to solar and electric power. See also Transportation Plan for a low-carbon city, which uses electric mass transit and personal vehicles.
5. Minimizing waste that goes in dumps and oceans – Emphasize that the manufacturing industry make their packaging multi-use, reducing not only the type but also the amount of trash generated.
6. Construction Industry - Construction and related projects need to be held accountable for waste.
7. Carbon Pricing - We choose to partner with two Carbon pricing proposals Sweeten the Carb on Deal and The Little Engine That Could: Revenue Neutral Carbon Fee and Dividend, hoping one or both will become politically feasible.
8. Shipping/Transportation – Shipping emissions can be greatly reduced with a levy on emissions.
9. Industry - The goal of the CoLab proposal for USICA is to accelerate innovation and widespread use of new technologies that will allow industry members to grow sustainably.
10. Find a way to make money by "mining" the plastic already in mid-ocean gyres and in land fills.
11. We endorse the proposed feasibility study and pilot programs for a global digital currency rewards system currently described as Global 4C, Complementary Currencies for Climate Change (http://www.global4c.org). The plan is to create an administrative system over the Internet to manage a new stateless world currency that rewards all types of greenhouse emissions reductions and sequestration with digital issuance of the currency.
Explanation of the emissions scenario calculated in the Impact tab
Under the Impact tab is a graph indicating a robust fall in CO2 emissions from now until 2100. That decline is the projected result of implementing the multiple proposals described above. Reflected in the graph is a dramatic reduction in emissions that will result from implementing the Energy Island proposal that is described above and in the 2015 CoLab Proposal Workspace at "Energy from Oceans Replaces Energy from Fossil Fuels."
Emissions of CO2 from generating electricity will go to zero by 2040 if all the proposals are implemented, including the ambitious Energy Island proposal. That proposal could be funded by redirecting subsidies that presently go toward promoting the continued use of fossil fuels as a source of energy. Details about how Energy Islands will be funded and deployed can be found at the 2015 CoLab Workspace "Impact on Emissions of CO2 from Deploying Energy Islands."
Here are some important facts that influenced the settings we adopted to create the graph under the Impact tab:
- Commitment to adoption of renewable energies, as has been done in Germany, has been shown to be consistent with moderate rises in GDP.
- Fertility rates decrease when women are allowed access to education, economic opportunities, and contraception.
- Land use and agricultural reform can lead to markedly lower greenhouse gas levels.
- Fossil fuels can be replaced without resort to nuclear sources of energy – sources of energy that are characterized by (a) problems regarding disposal of wastes and (b) concerns of citizens regarding safe use.
What are the plan’s key benefits?
1. Schools become focus for community change. All generations work together for common goals
2. Civic organizations unite around this challenge
3. Energy production becomes locally/regionally owned
4. Food production becomes much more local
5. Farms transition to organic saving soil and water
6. Ocean acidification is slowed or reversed
7. Fresh water is more available
8. Cars no longer burn fossil fuels = cleaner air
9. Overland freight and mass transit become cleaner
10. People regain connection to nature
11. CO2 is pulled from the air by trees
12. Homes/offices get warmed/cooled at low cost
13. Illness drops with less chemicals in air/water
14. Garbage gyres in oceans lessened
15. Construction waste goes down
16. Cost of carbon rises. Money distributed fairly
17. Shipping becomes less polluting
18. Manufacturing technology becomes eco-friendly
19. Emissions from burning fossil fuels to generate electricity are reduced to zero or near zero.
20. Biodiversity is protected.
21. Reduced meat consumption results in lower emissions of greenhouse gases.
22. Participants in storytelling about climate change become more acutely aware of future effects from climate change.
23. Increase in global temperature is held to no more than 2 degrees C.
What are the plan’s costs?
The overwhelmingly most costly action proposed here is also the action that is most needed to achieve the goal of stopping global warming by using clean, renewable sources of energy to replace burning of fossil fuels for energy. That goal can be achieved if $14 trillion in subsidies to the fossil fuels industry during the next 25 years is redirected toward development of renewables.
All of the other costs involved in this proposal will easily be paid for with less than what would be a rounding error for the cost of converting to renewables – and that cost is already in the budget of nations around the world, but (insanely) it is still going toward subsidies for fossil fuels.
Budgets for the other actions proposed here to be taken are miniscule in comparison with $14 trillion. Based on projections from figures shown at proposals "Make Climate A Top Priority for Action by Every US Citizen and Organization" and "Unleash the energy of millions by making climate action simple, relevant and fun," the following estimates are calculated costs for the grassroots efforts to be undertaken worldwide during the next 25 years:
1) Salaries of workers (though most work will be done by volunteers) ….. $10,000,000
2) Costs for work spaces (though most work will take place in the community) ….. $10,000,000
3) Costs for operations, including technical development, infrastructure and support …... $10,000,000
The above costs can be covered by donations, membership fees, and grants.
What are the key challenges to enacting this plan?
Realize this is not an academic exercise. We must mobilize as a society as we did for World Wars. This is not costly. It involves (a) logical planning and clear communication, (b) getting commitment to undertake necessary transitions from every level in society -- from individuals and households to county, state and federal governments, and (c) rewarding positive actions at every level. Much of this will take place using the internet and face-to-face meetings because the commercial media do not see it in their interest to change.
Most of the proposals in this plan are either profitable, free, or low cost; and for the few proposals where there are expenses, the new technology that is being purchased is less expensive than the old technology and does not require constant purchase of fuel stock. Changes in government regulations are not required at first because most of the actions come from the private sector. As the change sweeps the country, regulations will change as opposition to the new paradigm fades.
SaveOhno is ready to go. The site is live and users and partners are engaged. The timescale for implementation is very short with 10,000 users by the end of 2015, 100,000 by the end of 2016, and 3 million by the end of 2017.
Parallel efforts to mobilize grassroots actions are already occurring, with varying strengths and needs:
1. Schools now transitioning toward increased emphasis on environmental curriculum
2. Civic leaders rapidly evolving
3. Energy transformation occurring state by state. Advocacy intensifies for redirecting subsidies away from fossil fuels and toward renewables.
4. Local food production already developing rapidly
5. Rural transformation to organic/renewable has begun
6. Ocean farming started but needs investment capital
7. Advocacy for desalination in drought areas becomes more prominent
8. Tesla pushing vehicle electrification
9. Mass transit getting started and needs investment
10. Solar sales doubling every few years
11. Tree planting needs push
12. Geothermal needs push
13. Laws needed to ban chemicals. Push is needed to overcome industry resistance.
14. Recycling needs push
15. Building industry needs regulation for transformation
16. Carbon pricing requires change of government for enactment
17. Levy on emissions for shipping far off
18. Innovation in manufacturing needs help
Appendix A -- International Environmental Organizations
(Adapted from Wikipedia)
Appendix B – Details of Proposed Activities
Civic Organizations, Phase One and Phase Two
Energy Production ("Energy from Oceans Replaces Energy from Fossil Fuels"), Phase Two
Ocean Farming, Phase Two
Desalination, Phase Two
Electric Personal Vehicles and Home Electrification, Phase One and Phase Two
Mass Transit, Phase Two
Community Action, Phase One
Photosynthesis, Phase One
Geothermal Energy, Phase One and Phase Two
Controlling Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries, Phase Two
Minimizing Waste, Phase One and Phase Two
Construction Industry, Phase One and Phase Two
Carbon Pricing, Phase One
Shipping and Transportation, Phase One
Industry, Phase Two
Fossil Fuel Divestment, Phase One
Community Composting, Phase one and Phase Two
Reducing Plastic Pollution, Phase One and Phase Two
Digital Currency, Phase Two
Reducing the Carbon "Foodprint," Phase One
Heightening Awareness about Future Effects of Climate Change, Phase One
Appendix C – Description of Referenced Regional Proposals
Regional proposals for this global plan are considered supplementary because the very comprehensive cross-regional proposals adopted are judged by the Mobilize Now team to be sufficient to overcome the problem of climate change. That said, the regional proposals that are referenced in our global plan contain powerful ideas that might be needed for a complete solution. Therefore, we present below information about key ideas from the regional proposals – ideas that might be found useful in one or more of the world’s regions.
WENN (Useful hyperlink that is annotated below: nutricline)
Ocean Biomass and Biofuels (Useful hyperlinks that are annotated below: REDUCTION OF CARBON DIOXIDE COUPLED WITH THE OXYHYDROGEN REACTION IN ALGAE, NASA/OMEGA Project)
Funding (Useful hyperlinks that are annotated below: The Green Climate Fund, Green Bond Principles 2014: Voluntary Process Guidelines for Issuing Green Bonds, World Bank Green Bond. Homeland Security Grants, Transforming the Traditional Municipal Bond Market to Finance Environment-Friendly Green Projects, Conservation Bonds: Take Green Financing to the Next Level, Climate Bond Initiative,The wheels of climate finance are turning: the Green Climate Fund (GCF) will soon start distributing funds through 7 institutions, Major International Research Initiative Launched to Improve Food Security for Developing Countries - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Large-scale Aquaponics Project - Optimized Food and Water Management, Cities for Climate Protection program, Clean Trillion)