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National replicable tech platform for individuals and all sectors that addresses the perceptual barriers and provides new tools for action.



The platform is built and viewable only by request. Below are some of the big picture influences: 

1. Maximizing climate change action impact lies in establishing action as a natural component in every part of our lives, not just 1 more thing to do. 

2. We experience perceptual barriers and a sense of powerlessness around them. All sectors have barriers to action. People can't always see these barriers - it's like fish not experiencing water.  Technology is likely the only way to overcome them.

Here are some macro-level or systemic barriers to action:

  • context for action
  • action support system
  • tools for action


3. Here are some of the personal-level barriers to action:

  1. We are overwhelmed by the complexity & the quantity of problems. Platform simplifies, guides & supports so we can each do our share.
  2. We cannot see what others are doing. Platform exposes action in ways to see your impact and the difference your actions make. You can see the bucket and the drops being added to it.
  3. People feel powerless to influence others to take action.  Platform is essentially an 'influence system'. 
  4. Balancing present & future needs favors the present. It's important to think of action within the context of a person's life given that much of our individual resources are used to just maintain or achieve a decent standard of living that what's left of our time and energy must be  used carefully. Platform provides life-improving benefits in the present that encourage actions that benefit the future. 
  5. Think global, act local.  Platform enables both thereby increasing the degree of overall efficacy.


4. Shifting attitudes & behaviors involves addressing both the macro and personal components: 

  1.  Address the perceptual barriers we experience in taking action.
  2. Create a new context that gets people facing in the same direction.
  3. Enable and support mass participation.
  4. People need tools to make the changes.    
  5. Provide people with support to make the changes. 


This proposal will cover all of these components.  

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

NOTE: This IP belongs to Hélène Julien and is protected by law. 


Integrating action into all areas of our lives so that action becomes a simple part of the fabric of life and we become people who just naturally take care of our planet.  Getting a mass of people to face the same direction becomes the result of visibly spreading action in the following ways:

  1. Engaging people in action across as many roles we play in life as possible (homeowner, employee, experts, business owner, investor, parent, teacher, elected official, environmental advocate, etc.)
  2. Engaging all sectors (government, business & non-profits) in action
  3. Varying messaging about action across worldviews
    1. Blue – life is a test:  ex God-loving Trump followers
    2. Orange – individualists : life is a game:  ex Trump
    3. Green – humanity is a family: tree huggers
    4. Yellow – life is a system: believing in inter-connectedness of all life



The context is structured as a national platform with 3 components where each category of participant e.g. individuals, governments, businesses & both environmental & other non-profits are able & empowered to:



It's critical this all be in one central place on a per-country basis. Once 2 or more countries have platforms, an international section will be added so people can begin to see change at that level.


Like any platform, getting it started is the hardest part. The method chosen to achieve this is to use a city-first model that involves cities joining the platform and providing emergency notifications via email, text and calls.  You can combine any of these for any number of phone numbers and emails. One account can provide notifications to spouses, children, babysitter provided they're all for the same zip/postal code.  

When an individual signs up to receive the emergency notifications, they must provide their address including zip/postal code. They are then automatically entered to a neighborhood group based on that zip/postal code. Emergency notifications can be tailored by the government depending on their needs to go to a single zip/postal code, a group of them based on the first digits or to all of the members of all of the neighborhoods in their jurisdiction.

Cities already connect emergency services and provide it to the media. Providing it directly to individuals can have an impact and potentially save lives. Have you ever felt like you're the last person to hear the news about something important? Being the last to hear is not a good idea with emergency matters.

I believe that this is the easiest way to grow mass participation in Enviro Commons. With safety and security being a foundational element of Mazlo's needs hierarchy, it's nearly automatic human want. If you disagree, ask around.  

Engagement isn't expected to be an automatic thing in a neighborhood or any type of functionality on the platform. One of the most important influence techniques will be to send each individual a weekly email to inform and influence engagement.  See Weekly Email section below for more details (shown after functionality).  A lot of the information on the platform can be useful to people so it's possible to say which piece will draw people in the most.


The platform has 4 Dashboards:

  1. Individuals 
  2. Government
  3. Organization
  4. ENGO  (environmental non-profits)



The 4 Dashboards are comprised as follows:


People sign up for emergency notifications from their governments & are automatically added to a neighborhood group based on their zip/postal code. Four areas for action by individuals:

  1. Neighborhoods for connection & collaboration
  2. Personal Actions page with actions tools to help people reduce energy use, increase sustainability & save money
  3. Personal Well-Being page with a survey for people to assess their well-being & results and courses/information to improve their lives. 
  4. Circles - groups for connecting & collaborating on issues
  5. Expert Profiles - with proof of expertise in an environment-related area: their name gets a special extra something so wherever they participate their words may carry more weight.


The Dashboard page also offers other functionality such as news, statistics, trends, etc.


Governments pay a monthly fee for a profile that enables them to add posts, events and polls on their profile & in the following 3 areas (gov selects if for people of 1 neighborhood, a group or all):

  1. Send out emergency notifications by text, email and phone
  2. Add content to neighborhood groups
  3. Add content to the actions section
  4. Add content to the well-being section


The Dashboard page includes search functionality, as well as the Open Ideas section that enables people to create ideas for any government in the country that has a profile on the platform. People can also visit individual government profiles to learn all kinds of things about the government's commitment and efforts in areas related to climate change.


  1. @Work Chapters for sharing ideas based on roles such as Network Managers, Libraries, Office Managers, Business Owners, etc or location- based sustainability groups.
  2. Free Business Profiles that show what they're doing
  3. Free Non environmental non-profits Profiles that show what they're doing
  4. Paid Organization Sustainability Plans for them to do their share.  Ideal for small and medium businesses as well as larger ones to support their staff across many locations to do their share for the organization's sustainability. 
  5. Free Organization Sustainability Plans for all non-profit organizations.  They can include 3 components: organization sustainability actions, personal actions and community collaboration tools. Ideal for religious and educational organizations and clubs.
  6. Another future income stream that supports climate action. (Not shared information)



  1. Free ENGO Profiles with proof of status.
  2. They can create content such as projects, news, project results, organization results, newsletters, organization financial statistics and more.
  3. The Dashboard page provides random projects, organizations, news, etc with every page load so people learn about many organizations and projects. 


The purpose of this model for the ENGO Dashboard is to deliver more than our current silo structure does where people only know about organizations and projects big enough to have marketing budgets. People can also search based on location and topic.



As mentioned above, engagement isn't going to be automatic just because they joined the platform and were automatically added to a neighborhood group.  Each individual will receive a weekly email that will contain several things such as:

  • Information on other ways to support their security such as emergency planning at the neighborhood and personal levels through the Emergency Preparedness Personal Action
  • Digest of their neighborhood updates for them to learn about their neighbors and neighborhood (if they're brand new neighbors) and other content such as events, wiki (for a neighborhood history perhaps!), posts, etc.  Maybe learn about a walking group, household jobs such as mowing, snow removal, etc.
  • Circles and @Work Chapters in your physical areas as well as keep up-to-date on content in your groups
  • ENGOs with projects in their areas - learn and keep up-to-date
  • Local businesses' profiles - learn
  • Governments can create events, polls and posts specifically for weekly emails in addition to selecting posts in other parts of the website
  • Digest of their governments' (municipal, province/state) Open Ideas
  • Enviro Commons will post platform growth statistics that can overt time influence people to be a part of something bigger than themselves
  • Emergency notifications are repeated here
  • Platform News
  • Highlighted user stories
  • Any content on the site you have chosen to follow 




It's worth noting that there was a time - in particular during the TV era of the 1970-2000 that it was believed that people were passive consumers of entertainment and not overly creative.  However, given the opportunities that became present since the 1990's w- particularly with the web, it is now believed that people are creators.  This is obvious by the huge growth in content creation on the web, explosion in groups on Meetup  and the increase in new companies and self-employment.  People want to create, participate and connect.

How much impact this has on participation on Enviro Commons in unknown therefore some influence is being built into it to support its growth.

As mentioned previously, the platform is in a sense an influence system.  Most of it is built in to the platform itself   and some is leadership driven. Bwlow are some of the influence 'tactics' built into to the platform. Please note that none of them are negative pressure in any way but occur naturally through social psychology aspects of groups:

  1. Platform provides a focus & Measures change
  2. Platform encourages vital behaviors by:
    1. Creating a sense of solidarity and sharing a responsibility within a country based on their share as published by the UN I believe. Calculations for each country’s share is x decrease which equates to x in tons of energy.  Each person’s share involves making choices that add up to 15% decrease. Actions cover many areas such as:
      1. Building
      2. Transportation
      3. Food
      4. Purchasing adjustments
    2. Helping people discuss important topics including the "undiscussables" such as “why should I do my share, when...".  The platform could use the Personal Dashboard's Enviro Commons'  blog feature for such topics. Also invite guest bloggers to contribute.
    3. Platform engages all 6 sources of influence
      1. Personal motivation – make the undesirable desirable - ex: a moral quest, stories, experiences, use gaming to make it a quest
      2. Helps people do what they can’t – surpass their limits – ex: mindsets, skills, emotional skills
      3. Provides encouragement – harness peer pressure
        1. The power of seeing someone else take action
        2. Seeing someone else sacrifice
        3. Engage opinion and formal leaders
        4. Make the "undiscussable" discussable
      4. Provides assistance
        1. When we can’t succeed on our own (groups). we can use some support
        2. Blind spots (networking generates ideas)
        3. Solidarity – create it to counteract the tragedy of the commons
      5. Changes the economy (of inaction)
        1. Remove the barriers (we use it like a currency to enable inaction)
        2. Incentives (it's cool)
        3. Reward behaviors and results (there's value in creating community connections  - particularly in situations of natural disasters, socializing, friendships, etc.)
        4. Impetus that fear creates as we experience more disasters (timing)
      6. Change the environment – remove the barriers to action, comparison between countries’ results, be transparent about data & results



Who will take these actions?

The Enviro Commons platform is a user-generated content model. Individuals and organizations maintain their own profiles and content. 

Enviro Commons' role is as follows:  

Enviro Commons would need a head office for business and technology functions and a professional services team that would be responsible for growing the platform worldwide as well as replicating and customizing it for countries.  

The growth plan used by the professional services team might be to work with 2-3 cities in a country to set up the platform with them and market it to their citizens.  The team would create a complete set of materials for other cities to set up their profile themselves and market to their citizens once they've signed up for the monthly software-as-a-service (SaaS). The cost of Government Profiles depends on its' population and average income of the citizens in the city.

Enviro Commons head office would create shared content such as webinars and videos to help organizations engage their employees, videos that amuse and encourage individuals to take action, videos to be run in meetings in neighborhood groups for them to collaborate and support one another on action, host webinars with expert speakers across @Work Chapters and videos for use by governments to run in large community meetings to kick start engagement.


Enviro Commons would employ a team in each country to support engagement of all participation in that country.  The team would handle the moderation of content and issues related to its' user base with the help of a shared database of solutions.  For example - how to deal with warring neighbors or ideas on how to kick start action in a neighborhood where nothing is happening. In addition, the national team would use all of the available materials such as videos and webinars provided by head office to help engagement.


How the waves of action flow:

So the first wave is governments providing emergency notifications through the Enviro Commons system and then those people being added to neighborhood groups. They start small and grow through adoption and influence techniques.

Groups begin to pop up in other areas and people join. Leadership grows.

Sustainability groups pop up at work because businesses feel they need to create profiles to stay in competition and they need to do their share.

People check out the ideas for their governments and soon they are curious on a regular basis.

People do the well-being survey and see ways to improve their lives. They also learn how to use the platform to do so.

People look up what companies are doing and they use the information for employment, buying and investment decisions.

People check out ENGOs and learn more about their projects because they can actually join & stay connected online. They can compare ENGOs and projects as well and learn about other organizations/projects they didn't know existed because of how the ENGO Dashboard refreshes content with every view. 

Where will these actions be taken?

As a national and replicable platform, it can be adapted to any country that sees it has value to them. The push for growth can come from individuals wanting their governments to adopt it as well as governments that want it.

To start I would begin with Canada for several reasons.

  • It's 1/10 the size of the US and therefore a little easier to handle the first time around.
  • The acceptance of the problems around climate change is higher in Canada than the US.
  • Greater disparity in worldviews in the US than Canada.
  • Politics are not as highly charged as is currently the case in the US.
  • Adoption in the US might be higher if 'keeping up with the Jones' effect were an influence factor.


The platform isn't limited to specific geographic areas however the priority is to establish it in countries that have the greatest impact on climate change.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.

No country selected

Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?


Adaptation would be greatly impacted through collaboration in neighborhood groups and sustainability actions. The well-being section can incorporate adaptation strategies as well. Even if people don't participate in the group, they still receive weekly emails with updates on their neighborhood, government content as well as statistics on results and more.     

 The Personal Actions section enables people to see the actual energy impact that their actions have such as the kilowatt savings of 1 light bulb, lowering the temperature on a water heater, etc.  They are able to quantify the total of their actions and translate it into dollar savings. Governments can also provide actual average energy usage based on zip/postal code to compare and goals to encourage.

For organizations, sustainability plans are part of stage 2 & are like 'neighborhood groups' for business.  (They have posts, polls, events, documents & wikis content) They would select their actions based on 'action sets' such as a 'restaurant set' or small office type business & customize the actions & the project management processes around the plan to meet their needs. They can engage all of their staff in their plan.  This is a way to engage the small to medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations that don't need robust and detailed plans. The fact is that there are a lot more small under-served businesses.

If you think one step beyond this sustainability plan and create a 'religious organization action set', add personal actions combine the 'community' functionality inherent to neighborhood groups, you create a way to engage Americans who are religious. The pope and other religious leaders are pushing for action and the plan provides a way for congregations to connect as a community with common goals, take personal action as well as collaborate on the sustainability of their organization. 3 wins in 1!  

This combines adaptation, emissions reductions and increased well-being.  There isn't space to show all the possibilities here but here's another:  large organizations can use it to push their sustainability actions to branches and geographic office locations.

Because the platform is an influence system, the focus switches to organizations showing what they are doing for people and planet through their profiles and content. It's not about their products but the value they bring to society.  The fact that a mass of people would have access to this perspective could have a huge impact on business sustainability and GHG emissions. 

There's another important indirect influence and that is that of the development of leadership. @Work Chapters are designed to expand knowledge of business sustainability through groups. Circles grow action around specific environmental issues. In both cases, these groups are the place to grow the leadership of experts, non-experts and environmental non-profit leaders. Collaboration impacts adaptation and GHG reductions through the sharing of knowledge.

What are other key benefits?

An important benefit would be an increase in the sense of personal power people experience to change the world. Because the underlying conversation is 'People and Planet First', the 99% have a greater ability to impact the world by helping them make better choices about businesses, governments and their own actions. This is simply empowerment.

The platform connects what may seem to some people as disparate pieces together because we're complex and we live in a complex world. We have to deal with our well-being, social goals, GHG reductions,  environmental action, sustainability changes, adaptation, open government so we know what's happening in our world, helping our employers engage in reduction action and continuous innovation and support non-profit organizations that tackle environmental issues that are dear to us  Dealing with them separately can lead  people to action as a bunch of to-dos in a big list.  The platform hopes to connect all of the disjointed pieces in a way so that things can flow together and be felt throughout every area of our lives in the way we live them. 

Consider this situation:  People in a region are experiencing a natural disaster.  They can use their online neighborhood connections, their free online non-profit church community (or other groups) and their work organization group to help each other find shelter, support, information.  Do people have this now?    Not only that, governments can get information to people directly through their neighborhood group as well as through the emergency notification system.  This becomes an extension to existing support networks that relies less on governments and more on each other.  As more and more disasters occur around the world, this will become even more important. It's the equivalent to giving people a 'fishing rod' to better help themselves.



What are the proposal’s projected costs?


A lot of the platform has been built therefore the costs to complete it aren't that high.  


I estimate that a team of 5 people could get it off the ground and run it for the first country within a couple of months.

The biggest challenge is acquiring government participation.  Because each government must purchase a profile, there would be an immediate influx of cash at the time of launch. For future countries, there would be a separate professional services team for customization, training, co-marketing, etc. The cost could potentially be borne by the federal government of a country that wishes to have this software for its' citizens or it could be included in the monthly profile cost. Because of word-of-mouth and the globalization of the media the cost of the next country would be lower.  

Overall, I believe the platform could break even within 18 months.


At this time, financial backing is required to continue the project. Because it's a social enterprise, a grant that supports the 'social' aspect would be ideal but venture funding is more likely. Government connections and business support are critical as well.

In terms of steps taken to date, I've found that few organizations are able to support this project within their 'scope'.  

So far I haven't been successful in creating the collaboration necessary to make this project happen.



Here a few: 

  • A flow between online and off-line action needs to be established. It's not enough to commit to doing something on your Personal Actions page so a support system needs to be there to help that happen.  Technology can enable this is a number of ways. Neighborhood groups can support action through Special Action Meetings that use videos.  The national support team would also so be instrumental in engagement support. 
  • Content moderation is also an important component of engagement support. Problems will crop up between users. I would like to employ a social psychologist to help devise techniques for the national teams to use and get involved as needed.
  • Platform security is another important challenge. Neighbors are easily able to flag people where the address is wrong, the number doesn't exist on the street or the person doesn't live at that address in order to protect themselves. Only a small amount of identifiable content is available to protect people.
  • Platform security risk is an ongoing concern & would require specialists.
  • Some people see Facebook as a competitor.  If you look at the business, non-profit and government perspectives, Facebook organization profiles are a 'push' of products, services and information to the public.  It's not sustainability-specific.  



The first 15 years would involve helping as many cities adopt the platform as possible.  Cities are the natural first step in launching within a country because: 

  1. Cities already connect emergency services and provide it to the media.  
  2. Cities are already committed to carbon reductions but most are doing it through infrastructure and sustainability projects. Few want to go into the weeds and deal directly with people so the platform handles that and the reduction numbers count towards the city's goals. 
  3. Many cities are already providing information on well-being so the platform extends their capability to support people in improving their lives. 
  4. Human issues are a growing component of cities' and society's load and the platform provides new capabilities to address them through neighborhood and community engagement. 
  5. Open ideas in an open forum enables good ideas to cross and grow much faster. It's also a cheaper alternative along with controlling their own polls in neighborhoods to get feedback directly from the public.



The goal would be to expand the platform to many countries as quickly as possible to create a strong base of action. It would not work for just one government to set things up for themselves because they cannot address the barriers to the proper scale. According to studies on the perceived degree of the efficacy of initiatives, this factor has dogged environmental initiatives all over the world and reduced their ability to affect change.  Within each country, the impact would begin immediately and adaptation and community engagement would grow over time.  GHG emissions would start a little slower, rise as it expands over the sectors and influence grows.

In the medium and longer terms the rate of change would decrease but GHG reductions would continue to increase with new technology adoption. At some point in the future the goal changes to faster adoption rate of better technologies and getting that information out faster and to more people.  

The fact is that individuals and organizations reach a level where change drops off and picks up only with subsequent outside inputs like technological changes, moves, vehicle and appliance replacements, etc. 

Certain parts of the site would continue to grow - neighborhood connections, Circles' work on issues would continue forever, people always need to stay on top of things with @Work Chapters, governments and people will always have Open Ideas to discuss, etc.


1. A mobile version of the platform will be created.

2. The government perspective is that they are getting a suite of services that help them connect to their citizens in ways that Facebook doesn't and probably never would. Governments receive services that can help them achieve their GHG reduction targets by supporting the citizens & organizations in their jurisdiction. 

3. The business perspective is to show customers, investors & employees their commitment to sustainability through a free profile. 

About the author(s)

This has been a solo project developed over years.  Research on every sector, social psychology, environmental issues, technology and much more has occurred to bring this project to the point it's at today.  

In terms of sector research, I looked at previous projects, research studies,1000s of websites and dissected it all into 4 things:  what has worked in the past, what doesn't, what's missing and what can be improved.  The platform combines the results of all of this. It was recently rebuilt to take advantage of newer technology but development has stopped - hopefully temporarily because I feel the time has come for outside support.

I'm Canadian, born, raised and live in Toronto. I'm from a French-Canadian background and have a bilingualism certificate as well although I'm rusty as I don't use French much.  I'm willing to move anywhere and establish Enviro Commons' home base where I get support.

I've been working in IT since 1993 as a developer, product and project manager. I've also got considerable experience in marketing, business, sales and accounting. In the last 4 years I've taken courses in entrepreneurship in order to learn how to run the business.

I have a degree in Economics as well as about 40 IT related courses, completed the PMP training and I'm Scrum certified as well. Please visit my LinkedIn profile for more details:

Enviro Commons began as a desire to find a way for us to work together to solve the human aspects around climate change. It's been the most complex and challenging work I've ever done.  It has cost me a lot of money and time but it's been a labor of love. 

Related Proposals

The world needs a solution that can hold and support smaller projects without compromising their existence like competitions and the lack of external support do.  Also, we need to make it easier for people to find them, engage in them and support them financially. We kill off leaders before they even have a chance. Where it comes to climate change, we can't afford to continue making this error. 

Enviro Commons is a solution that provides a context and support system for these projects to flourish:

The Circles and @Work Chapters functionality are designed to provide a public place for people to find projects like many of those here on MIT Climate Colab and engage in them.

@Work Chapters do the same for industry-wide or location-based sustainability change.  When you join a group on a topic of interest to you, it's like stepping into a room where you can view all of the history on the action taken until that time, participate by following the action, add your thoughts and ideas to various discussion threads, participate and create events, etc.

Also, the publicness of  Circles and @Work Chapters helps them grow in ways that offline projects do not have because the types of functionality like events, wikis and discussions. The greatest benefit is that they can be found more easily and build their group membership.

Another benefit is how it can extend the ENGO sector's ability to connect directly with the public based on their projects simply by connecting a Circle or @Work Chapter to their organization's projects.

Another benefit is the growth of leadership and the ability to support them more easily. There's nothing more that kills off leadership than lack of support and making them work so incredibly hard for every little bit of success they achieve.

The advantage the Enviro Commons model has over the MIT Climate Colab's competitive model is that Enviro Commons enables ALL projects to go forward and find participants & supporters - which is ultimately the prize every project wants and needs.  




Contact info:  416 460-0914 



None of the functionality of the platform is there by chance. When viewed as a 'solution system with inputs and outputs' going in and out of it, each piece of functionality attempts to match the responsibility the players have for their share. All participants need to see the outputs and they all need to create their inputs based on their role within the system.  However, the key piece to the way the solution system works is that it puts individuals at the center; not governments, not non-profit organizations and not businesses. The most important perspective is the personal one and where it conflicts with others - such as governments wanting to overrule, the personal one rules. The platform's bottom-lines perspectives are in order: People, Planet, Purpose & Profit.  

Here are some examples to understand the system-level perspective:  

  • ENGOs' role is to provide inputs in the 'solution system' through their projects.  In the 'problem system', their contribution was miniscule.


  • Individuals' needs and wants are at the core of the 'problem system'.  Their participation in the 'solution system' is not about just decrease energy use but about a responsibility to make smarter and better decisions and more importantly to make organizations and themselves accountable. In the 'solution system' the visibility of results and commitments by organizations - governments and businesses especially plays an important role in individuals doing their share.


  • Not everything needs to be added, nor is it possible to include everything.  For example, governments generally have responsibility for infrastructure changes to big systems like transportation, water treatment and energy delivery.  (depending on the government and country) The governments can reference projects related to these areas in their profile but the public does not generally get involved to a great extent. Enviro Commons provides the governments with the ability to run polls on topics of public interest and a way to gather ideas through the Open Ideas.  
  • Businesses for their part have a responsibility for their environmental impact and generally do not engage the public on their actions. It seems we are more likely to hear about what they're not doing than what they are. In most cases, there is not a lot of information publicly available on their internal actions so it becomes difficult for the public to assess whether they are good for people and planet or not.  
  • Enviro Commons provides opportunities for businesses to share more information and do more for people and planet through the profiles, the Sustainability Plans, the @Work Chapters and one other way that is not discussed here (which can have a very big impact). The goal is to enable the public to be able to better compare businesses on who they are as corporate citizens.