Local low-carbon solutions
Question What can be done at the local level to address climate change?
Contest main page Submit proposals at https://www.climatecolab.org/web/guest/plans/-/plans/contestId/13
Deadline June 15, 2013, at 11:59 Eastern Standard Time
Rules All entrants must agree to the 2012-13 contest rules.
Prizes The contest winners will be invited to present their work at the Crowds and Climate Conference at MIT November 6-7, 2013, and at the event, a $10,000 Grand Prize will be awarded to one of the contest winners
- Green Power Community Challenge
- It's My Environment Video Project
- Youth Sustainability Challenge
- America's Home Energy Education Challenge
Guidelines from the contest Advisor and Fellow #
Citizens around the world are taking action at the local level to address climate change and build a more sustainable world. For example, in the Transition Movement, a network of communities around the world are working to achieve energy security, climate resilience, and economic stability. In so-called 'Transition Towns' throughout the world, small groups of concerned citizens are thinking of innovative ways to engage their communities to build solutions to the problem of climate change and to address other sustainability challenges. The efforts of this movement demonstrate the potential of local, grassroots approaches.
Other communities are pursuing similar efforts through such initiatives as the Global Ecovillage Network or Green Power Community Partnerships (the latter are organized under a program sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
Some recent examples of communities taking low-carbon action are:
- Publishing a magazine informing citizens on how to eat locally and sustainably
- Working on mapping safe bike routes and promoting a 'Bike to School Day'
- Creating a community garden and seed bank
- Hosting screenings of films and documentaries to spread environmental awareness
- Launching community-led home weatherization programs
- Hosting community 'town hall' meetings to create a city adaptation plan
- Developing a program that saves households on average $886 yearly on energy bills and reduces their emissions by 1.4 tons of CO2
Key issues #
Many local-level low-carbon initiatives have been highly successful, but clearly there is value in new, innovative approaches to encourage individuals to make low-carbon choices and to spur initiatives with local businesses. Some of the most important local-level issues are:
- Educating citizens and raising awareness. Even among people who consider themselves knowledgeable on environmental issues, many misconceptions exist about the most effective approaches to sustainability. Raising awareness can be one of the most difficult things to do successfully, but it is an important steps towards communities embracing sustainable practices.
- Engaging a community in collective action. The real power of a community is unleashed when many community members are engaged and collaborating on a project together. But meaningful community projects require leadership and initiative. Even in communities that care about sustainability issues, people often don't know exactly what projects are the most worthwhile and would actively engage their peers.
- Identifying business niches. Communities that care about climate issues have the power to support local businesses that represent the community's values. As more and more concerned citizens realize the impacts of their consumer behavior and make purchases with sustainability goals in mind, the demand for new, innovative small-business models increases. The rise of local 'farm-share' programs is just one example of a locally oriented business niche gaining steam. The potential of other similar business models is great.
Contest focus #
The contest asks what can be done to establish low-carbon solutions at the local level. It is worth noting that local-level communities throughout the world differ tremendously. If your proposal is specific to a particular region of the world, please indicate this in the geographic focus section of the proposal.
Judges and prizes #
Carolyne Stayton, Co-founder and Executive Director of Transition US
Bob Daniel, Geoscientist
Debi Baker, Member of Transition San Lorenzo Valley
Barbara Matessa, Member of Transition San Lorenzo Valley
In addition to any contest-specific prizes or events planned by the Advisor and Fellow, all teams that prepare winning proposals will be invited to present their work at in person or virtually at an event at MIT to be held in mid-2013, where all the winners from 2012-13 Climate CoLab contests will be featured. The Climate CoLab staff plan to invite a range of policymakers, business executives and investors and NGO officials to this MIT event.
If you'd like to suggest a new reference, please send a message to Erik Duhaime firstname.lastname@example.org