New Climate Magazine: Learning to live on a changing planet by New Climate Magazine
New Climate empowers the next wave of climate leaders. It engages them in learning and co-creating a new relationship to our world.
Climate change is the symptom, not the problem. The problem is that we have not yet learned how to live in balance with our planet.
New Climate Magazine approaches climate change as an opportunity for humanity to get civilization right. We need a million new local, national, and global climate leaders to drive this revolution. New Climate cultivates and empowers them with information, insights, tools, hope, and inspiration.
This next wave of leaders is diverse: scientists, teachers, parents, activists, clergy, students, community organizers, and businesspeople, all unified by the desire to take more personal responsibility for climate change. They are you, your neighbors, friends and family. They are adults with families and careers who care about climate change but have competing priorities in their lives. New Climate connects this audience with climate change as a central reality of our lives, not some abstract scary concept inhabiting the periphery of our consciousness.
New Climate is a media brand centered on a quarterly print magazine—a showcase of human potential that holds up leading-edge thinking and doing in the realms of technological innovation, politics, systems thinking, and personal, community, and organizational empowerment.
- Trusted information on climate policy and science
- A vision of transformation, chronicling the global revolution now in progress
- Vivid stories of role models and revolutionaries
- The best thinking on how we learn and change
- A holistic perspective, encompassing the emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs and questions posed by climate change
- Guidance on specific individual and collective actions so readers can act on their concerns in tangible, meaningful ways
We favor print because research indicates that it has neurological and emotional advantages for learning and comprehension (1), and because we are not waiting for our readers to find us on the Internet. We’re going to them through social media and at retail checkouts.
What actions do you propose?
We propose the creation of an inspiring quarterly magazine that stands for a new vision of humanity. New Climate Magazine takes the emerging movement for climate solutions to new audiences in new ways. It addresses this question for the reader: “How can I take personal responsibility for responding to the challenges that climate change presents to humanity?”
While half of Americans believe we have a problem (2), most do not personally act. Many have not grasped the urgency of our predicament. Others feel overwhelmed or helpless.
New Climate Magazine aims to counter that by offering readers the information, insights, tools, hope and inspiration they need to become empowered agents of change.
The magazine will be the focal point of a new media brand—advertising, social media, web, live and video storytelling—that serves as a learning, inspiration and empowerment tool for millions of concerned citizens. (See “Related Proposals,” below.)
New Climate stands for a hopeful vision of humanity as a learning species, capable of conscious evolution in the face of planetary boundaries. It is visionary and optimistic, yet practical and unflinching in its honesty. Sobering and inspiring at once. New Climate is a trusted source for climate policy and the deeper questions of human potential so critical to getting this right. It provides a roadmap for personal and group empowerment, and it explains specific actions that readers can take to be a part of designing and attaining a balanced world.
Why do we need New Climate Magazine? Aren’t there enough environmental magazines, scientific journals and climate blogs already? Yes, there are plenty of fantastic resources. But when we reviewed the best of these, we did not find the kind of focus that we believe is needed to promote clarity, overcome inaction, and support empowerment.
We also found little attention to some of the deeper questions of human potential that are essential considerations for this existential challenge (see “Core Editorial Questions,” below). On the contrary, we found a proliferation of information that overloaded our minds with insights about climate science, climate solutions, climate activism, climate politics, local action, global action, etc. Wonderful insights, but little clarity about how to use the information in an empowering way.
New Climate is not just another environmental or policy magazine. It is a human potential magazine that celebrates humanity as a learning species. It combines best-of original content and reprints vetted by a diverse editorial board of people deeply engaged in science, sustainability, agriculture, energy production and distribution, policy, activism, learning and innovation, psychology, spirituality, and human development. We publish contributions by some of the most talented and experienced communicators in the world—journalists, advertising creatives, filmmakers, artists, and poets.
We think of New Climate as an empowerment resource embedded in a beautiful and engaging magazine.
It’s well established that the human brain is hardwired to think and learn through storytelling, and that storytelling engages more of the brain, is more memorable, and is more persuasive than a just-the-facts approach. Narrative theorists posit—and research supports—a universal story structure. This “dramatic arc” comprises a "hero's journey" of rising tension, difficulties to overcome, and transformation. The most compelling films, speeches, and presentations (e.g. the most popular TED talks) follow a similar formula (3, 4, 5).
New Climate taps into the stories of the most compelling thinkers, leaders, and doers currently focused on climate change and the broader challenges of survival on earth. It presents the storyline overtly, with beautifully photographed articles in narrative form, but also subtly, via the editorial mix and the very structure of the magazine.
Each issue addresses the dark reality of the status quo, the challenges we face, the steps we can take as a world society, and the transformed future that is attainable if we act now. The contrast between what is and what could be heightens the desire for change. In a sense, the reader becomes the hero by committing to climate action.
An explicit model of empowerment guides New Climate’s structure and content. Climate change is an unprecedented societal challenge, calling on the best of humanity at all levels of social organization. Individual and group empowerment for this kind of existential challenge requires:
- Acknowledgement of reality—our vision must be of the world we live in, not the world we wish we lived in
- A sense of community to encourage engagement, support co-learning and provide an impetus for collective action
- A source of inspiration and guidance—vivid examples of people demonstrating exemplary leadership, generosity, innovation, and social organization
- Guidance for emotional preparation and building of leadership skills
- Awareness and understanding of specific opportunities for taking individual and collective action
- Support and reinforcement for sustaining commitment and making individual and collective action more effective
- Celebration of successes and tools for persevering in the face of challenges
New Climate addresses these building blocks of empowerment in every issue.
CORE EDITORIAL QUESTIONS
New Climate frames climate change and the quest for solutions as a pivotal evolutionary challenge, because that’s what it is. No other species has ever pushed the global ecosystem toward collapse, but no other species has the potential for conscious evolution.
The question is, can the acceleration of technological innovation and the rapid emergence of global connectivity fuel an unprecedented evolutionary response to climate change and other critical planetary challenges? We believe the answer is yes. But it won’t just happen. We need to gain a deep understanding of what’s involved in this kind of conscious change. This perspective drives our editorial focus:
- How does the “learning species” that created the conditions for climate change use its evolutionary powers to create solutions?
- What tools can we use to overcome the psychological, cognitive, political, economic, and technological barriers to creating a sustainable and resilient post-carbon world community, and how do we use them?
- What policies should we pursue to mitigate and adapt to climate change?
- What do leadership, community, and activism mean, and how do they develop at this historic moment?
- How can individuals, families, organizations, and communities become empowered as leaders and doers in a constructive response to climate change?
CORE EDITORIAL THEMES
New Climate is organized around a set of themes manifested as editorial departments and features. These themes carry the narrative arc of storytelling and empowerment that makes this magazine a distinctive resource for emerging climate leaders.
New Paradigm: Tinkering around the edges won’t do. To survive—and further, to thrive—we need deep systemic change. We address this with a standing column at the front of the magazine.
Reality: Without dwelling on it, we continually present the scientific consensus on the broad and disturbing picture as it evolves. A standing column summarizes the most recent research and revelations.
How-to: We report on, explain, and explore solutions, such as building resilient communities, sustainable economic models, carbon pricing, scalable decarbonization strategies, technological innovation, grassroots and electoral political strategies. This "Doing the Future" department is the primary focus of the magazine.
Learning: What do we know, and what are we learning, about learning itself, effective communication, facing down fear, how to innovate, and how we commit to action?
Role models: People, communities, organizations, and projects that are already taking humanity to the next level. They are leading the way toward sustainability and resilience. Standing column: "Profile"
Action: We are a resource for information that helps readers to identify meaningful responses and become involved as leaders and doers ushering in a new era. A "To-do List" offers best-of opportunities to make a difference.
We have displayed cover copy for the first four issues to illustrate how these themes will be presented to readers. ( These covers are working drafts for the purpose of presenting the magazine concept to the CoLab community.)
THE PRACTICAL STUFF: Editorial Content, Production, Distribution, Funding
The authors of this proposal are developing a conceptual framework for an inspiring and empowering magazine that will be irresistible to consumers where they already are: at checkout counters, at meetings, at schools and community organizations, at rallies and in living rooms.
A core team of talented and experienced publication professionals will handle editorial development, design, production, and distribution. We will tap into the wisdom and dynamism of the most compelling thought leaders working on climate change and on the leading edges of how humans learn, innovate, and consciously evolve.
Our first enrollment opportunity is to engage these thought leaders as idea generators, editorial board members, and editorial contributors. With its 200 advisors, 30,000 members and 300,000 visitors, the Climate CoLab provides a unique opportunity to share our vision with these thought leaders and interact with them around potential collaborations and synergies.
New Climate will highlight great content wherever we find it. We are fans of many fine journals and blogs. Through our particular focus and structure, we hope to bring some of this strong and relevant content to an audience that might otherwise miss out, and to frame it in a way that makes it more accessible and relevant. We hope to attract original and reprinted contributions by some of the most talented and experienced communicators in the world—journalists, advertising creatives, filmmakers, artists, poets, and political visionaries.
Distribution is typically a challenge for a start-up magazine. We are confident that we can secure prominent placement from key retailers. Our offer to retailers is that the beauty and positive focus of the magazine will reflect positively on them. Just one square foot of prominent display space is a uniquely effective and highly visible demonstration of community service. In this way, the retailers become a part of this very important endeavor. Imagine seeing one of New Climate’s beautiful and compelling covers right at eye level at the checkout counter of a natural foods store, coffee shop, or bookseller. In addition, we will work with community leaders, business leaders, clergy, activists, and academics to share the magazine with their members, customers, and students. We will enroll thousands of distribution points and distribute millions of copies.
Advertising, web-based content, and social media will be important conduits as well. By actively networking through the Climate CoLab and with dozens of other activist and citizen engagement networks worldwide, we will develop content partnerships and the means to distribute our content to millions more emerging climate activists and leaders.
Funding. New Climate is a large idea that will require significant, ongoing financial support to supplement subscription and sales revenues. It is our goal to demonstrate the magazine’s potential reach and impact to philanthropists, foundations, and crowdsourcing communities. The proposal team includes experienced grant writers and in-person presenters who have the capacity to make a compelling case to potential funders, underwriters, and distributors.
Who will take these actions?
The four members of the proposal team will be responsible for development of the New Climate prototype and business plan. One of our early priorities will be enrollment of a strong editorial board to inform and guide the enterprise. Introducing the proposal team:
Mitch Anthony is a principal and chief strategist at the branding and communications firm Clarity. An independent communications consultant since 1982, Mitch has built and developed corporate and product branding programs for such clients as Bloomberg Television, VH1, Church World Service, Microsoft, Lightlife Foods, Reebok, Avid Technology, and FX Networks. A skilled facilitator, team builder, and presenter, he also runs workshops on branding for entrepreneurs.
Paul Dryfoos is a management consultant and public policy analyst. He served as Massachusetts deputy state budget director under Governors Dukakis and Weld. He was research director for the UMass Energy Education Center, which developed and administered the nation’s first statewide residential energy audit program. His consulting practice has helped large and small mission-driven organizations obtain millions of dollars of government and philanthropic funds.
Laura MacKay is a principal and chief copywriter at Clarity. Laura has been writing and editing professionally for 25 years, shifting from journalism to copyediting, eventually heading the copy desk at Disney’s (now Meredith's) FamilyFun Magazine, and finally to copywriting. She is past editor of BuildingEnergy, the Northeast Sustainable Energy Association’s member magazine. She cowrote the recently released book Addiction Is the Symptom with Dr. Rosemary Brown.
Laura Radwell is a graphic designer and artist with executive-level experience in marketing and brand management. Her design firm Radwell Communication by Design has been recognized with multiple industry awards. She is a principal and creative director at Clarity.
Where will these actions be taken?
We envision New Climate as national and international in its geographic scope, in terms of both content and distribution.
During the prototyping phase of the project there is no need for dedicated office space. The project team is experienced with managing complex projects using web-based collaboration software such as Basecamp, join-me.com, and Skype, and will rely on these proven tools.
The whole team will gather for learning and planning retreats as needed. These retreats will be organized around information sharing, idea development, and team building.
How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?
What are other key benefits?
We get people talking. Facing climate change head on is the first step. New Climate breaks the silence. Our marketing campaigns will encourage people to talk about climate change with their friends and family.
Americans trust a number of sources of information about global warming, including scientists, family and friends, and TV weather reporters, says the YPCCC. Yet only 40 percent say they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month, and only 19 percent hear about it at least once a week. Only 16 percent hear anyone they know talk about it at least once a month, and only 4 percent hear others talking about it at least once a week (8). Just one in three say they discuss it at least occasionally with friends or family (9).
We move the conversation. By pairing a broad systems perspective with specific actions that people can take, New Climate moves the conversation—and the action—into new territory.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Creating a high-quality magazine with national and international distribution, and an associated communications ecosystem of on-line content and advertising campaigns, is a complex and costly undertaking.
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.
During this project phase we will:
- Refine editorial content and structure
- Refine the design concept
- Develop a mock-up or comp of the magazine that is suitable for pitching
- Build a pro-forma that identifies cost structure of the launch and first 36 months of operation
- Identify and recruit a team of advisors, including prominent activists, scientists, writers, and creatives
- Identify and recruit core editorial and design crew
- Identify and recruit potential contributing editors
- Develop preliminary editorial and production processes
- Develop our (nonprofit) business model
- Establish primary social media accounts—Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
- Promote, via social media, the development process
We are seeking $150K in seed funding to accomplish this initial phase.
We anticipate completing the development phase within 6 months. We would like to publish beginning in January 2016, contingent on obtaining the resources needed to launch a serious prototype, work plan and network of advisors, supporters and distribution partners.
Month 1: Plan editorial for mock-up issue
Months 2-3: Write, or secure permissions for, editorial content
Month 4: First-draft design concept
Month 5: Second-draft design concept
Month 6: Produce finished mock-up
New Climate is not just a magazine. It is a full-on media brand, because only something far-reaching can make a real difference. Building on the core identify and editorial focus, the magazine will be supported and complemented by:
- A website and a mobile app that connect you to the people, organizations, ideas, and technologies at the forefront of human progress.
- An international advertising campaign. With billboards, posters, mobile ads, radio spots, print ads, and native ads, TalkAboutClimateChange.org will move people to talk to friends and family about climate change—and then go to New Climate Magazine to do something about it.
- An ongoing series of media events, e.g. guerrilla advertising.
- Shareable films, posters, e-pamphlets, podcasts … We envision magazine content repurposed and reinterpreted by such media artists as Radio Lab, Jenny Holtzer, David Byrne, Banksy, and Sarah Silverman.
1. "The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens," Scientific American, April 2013
2. According to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication 2013 survey, half of Americans say they are “somewhat” or “very” worried about global warming, and one in four would support nonviolent civil disobedience against corporate or government activities that worsen it. (http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/Climate-Beliefs-November-2013/)
3. "How Stories Change the Brain," Paul J. Zack, PhD, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University. http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_stories_change_brain
4. “The Secrets of Storytelling: Why We Love a Good Yarn,” Jeremy Hsu, Scientific American Mind, 18 September 2008.http://www.westonschools.org/westonschools/file/storytelling.pdf
5. See communication specialist Nancy Duarte’s book Resonatehttp://www.duarte.com/book/resonate
6. “Minority Rules: Scientists Discover Tipping Point for the Spread of Ideas.” http://news.rpi.edu/luwakkey/2902#sthash.nBHSQvmw.dpufRensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Social Cognitive Networks Academic Research Center (http://news.rpi.edu/luwakkey/2902).
7. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication 2013 survey. (http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/Climate-Beliefs-November-2013/)
8. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, March 2015 survey (http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/Global-Warming-CCAM-March-2015/).
9. Yale Project on Climate Change Communication 2013 survey (http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/article/Climate-Beliefs-November-2013/).