Communicating Climate Crisis Issues

Communicating Climate Crisis Issues
Vancouver ChangeCamp 2010
Facilitator: E. Harrison

How to create an ‘aha’ moment for everyone so that we can create change in time for it to have a meaningful impact on changing climate?

  • It’s about (re)framing the message in a way that’s relevant for people as well as addressing what makes sense.
  • People don’t want to be told what to do with their lives.
  • Communicating around climate change can focus on health issues and renewable energy.
  • Need tool emphasizing positive impact on env & climate. Like reverse carbon footprint counter.
  • How can we use/build apps to demonstrate the complexities and externalizations of the issues?
  • What would app look like that takes action beyond individual behavior change to societal level?

Questions to ask (forum idea ) to help facilitate ‘aha’ moment:

  • How much do you spend on insurance per year? Very low probability of a lot of the disasters actually happening yet a very high probability of climate crisis.
  • Why spend thousands on insurance and only hundreds on sustainability/climate issues?

Answer:  It’s a lot to do with the immediacy/speed of disaster – one will destroy the biz instantly and one will only have impact much later.

The Empathic Civilisation by RSA Animate and Jeremy Rifkin, Interesting projects surfacing now around positive visions for a sustainable future.

Apps 4 Climate Change

At 2010 Vancouver ChangeCamp, the Apps for Climate Action Contest challenge organizers discussed how Canadian software developers are raising awareness of climate change and inspiring action to reduce carbon pollution using data in new applications for the web and mobile devices.

Apps for Climate Action is a great opportunity to:

  • meet Vancouver developers and collaborate on projects
  • get advice from SAP engineers on data visualization and web services access
  • see new Sustainability solutions from SAP
  • CODE!

We want to provide a space for developers to meet, get questions answered, find collaborators for projects and build some great apps

Session notes

  • location based data, climate impacts – ie water, showing people where there water is coming from, levels
  • if we’re measuring our energy consumption based on energy used here / carbon footprint is different if you use entire lifecycle
  • we’re not using the energy here, but we’re still responsible
  • not valid measure, consumables
  • ie. tobacco, breweries, dairies
  • simple data explorer to be able to visualize
  • upcoming: trash collection/ carbon offset purchasing
  • demonstrating value
  • ghg componant into pedometer
  • showing how things build up
  • take away overwhelming problem that paralyzes
  • comparison / competition as motivator
  • positive carbon footprint calculator (needs new term) to be positive “eco contribution”
  • having emotional connection was the key to meaning
  • MLS economic calculator – will cost you “x” in gas if you life here and “x(x)” after the carbon tax goes up

Are we willing to reflect complexity of issue in applications, uncover external impacts, true global, cultural impacts, reintroduce these?

Annie Leonard

  • the story of stuff
  • the story of cap and trade
  • the story of bottled water
  • funny, visual, an 8 year old can follow this story
  • was to reach out and involved those with lesser interest via existing gov. channels
  • other motivators – monetary, educational, etc etc

Apps for collective choices

  • policies
  • community organization
  • big business
  • spud – local incentive by contest
  • supporting policy changes
  • policy explorer


Why it matters

Why does technology matter?

  • Extends our reach – time and space
  • The audience is there, and people are talking
  • We can tell stories that spread
  • We can aggregate, sort and search input and information like never before
  • We can build community


  • Digital divide is real – skills as well as access
  • Technology helps build buzz – but it’s true deliberative power is limited
  • Online engagement has to be carefully positioned – it has to make sense as a channel
  • Data and records management

Energy Efficiency & Sustainability (Emotional & Effort)

At Vancouver ChangeCamp 2010 Ben facilitated at great conversation about Emotional sustainability. Here are some highlights:

  • accepting people and not being threatened by differences
  • Is this about joy and happiness? Most people put on the happy face but are not genuinely happy, especially through a work day, so it is not a surprise problems arise.”
  • “happiness” defined – are we supposed to be “happy” all the time? / the happiness myth
  • “tribal models – support, love, intimate”
  • “a lot of non-profits, organizations, are forced to create unfair expectations, overloaded at work, not able to create connections there, forced to generate relationships after work during personal time, which compromises personal relationships.”

We come together because we have a common thread – but we don’t knit ourselves together.

  • “eco/ humanitarian/ non-profit/ orgs – battling own inner demon, tendency to take on huge feelings of responsibility, working on such important work on such a huge problem and feeling the need to be the one who fixes it all”
  • “building friend group relationships, co-workers vs. family friends / co-workers + family friends
  • “choice recognition, respect, connection to something bigger, challenge.”
  • “knowing that you have the choice of participating, makes much more enjoyable than feeling obligated. obligation might turn you off of something you have a genuine interest in.”
  • “knowing where the task will lead – doing drudge work can still be satisfying if you see a benefit it goes down the road.
  • “spaghetti experiment” unpaid > paid / kids > adults

A sense of common purpose – burnout is from lack of results or things to show for your work, not # of hrs

  • “psychology of gaming – creating sense of being challenged, common purpose, completing levels & constant feedback keeps your going
  • “3M’s culture of failure – the post it note – happy accidents”
  • “meetup groups that charge small fee have much better turnout than free meetups” – giving value (free couch vs. do not take)


Citizen Reporting: Where is it going? | ChangeCamp 2010

In the past, citizens have been an integral part of ensuring a well run society. This has included actively informing government and police services of issues through the use of direct verbal contact and phone (911 and 311). With recent developments in mobile technology enabling more extensive reporting (through the use of cameras, video and audio recording, and customized applications) we are seeing an explosion of citizen reporting tools for mobile devices. These are being developed by social enterprises, for-profit companies and cities themselves. What are the opportunities? Should there be limits? Should citizens be “policing”.
Proposed by Campbell Macdonald, Co-Founder Parking Mobility ,

We survived ChangeCamp

Just a short note to thank everyone for their contributions to the event this year!!

We had a great time full of engaging conversation and inspirational ideas.
It’s very exciting to witness such a variety of dialogue and we would love to foster the continuation of as much conversation as possible.

Please tag your blog entries, Twitter posts and all other online commentary with the hashtag, “VCC2010″. This includes media – Flickr photos, YouTube/Vimeo… EVERYTHING!

Special love goes to our supporters who made the event possible, with an extra-loud shout-out to the volunteers who joined the organizing committee and gave their time on the day of the event.

And let’s not forget our sponsors, without whom the event wouldn’t have happened. Next time you see one of our sponsors please give them a kiss on the cheek for us!

Champion Sponsor:

Advocate Sponsor

Partner Sponsors

If you have feedback on the event, feel free to comment on this post.

Thanks again for participating in this year’s event. We look forward to the stories and outcomes to follow.

All the best,
Vancouver ChangeCamp

Another Successful ‘Un’!

Owly Images

Vancouver ChangeCamp 2010 is winding down. Live posts and tweets were flying to the Wiki as sessions were pitched and people dug into the dialogue. An awesome mix of people and ideas, and great engagement in thoughtful exchange and sharing.

Lots to follow up, and although the day’s event is done, it’s not over! Notes and resources and links and info of all sorts will continue to be added to the Wiki, and that will give us all a collective space to work together on what we started.

Thanks everyone, for a super, exhausting, day. One that gives new meaning to the idea of ‘Open’ space. The one between MY ears has greatly expanded.

Vancouver ChangeCamp: mixing it up with Open Gov West June 11

As we get closer to the Vancouver ChangeCamp unconference day, are you curious about who else is working to promote open government, transparency, and broadening collaboration with citizens? Look no further than…the night before Vancouver ChangeCamp!

Open Gov West Logo

Back in March of this year, in Seattle, local area non-profit Knowledge As Power held a one-day conference called Open Gov West, convening US and Canadian open government advocates to foster progress on open government issues and technology. OGW alumni meeting groups have been starting to continue the conversations. The OGW organizers are also great friends of Vancouver ChangeCamp, so they are kindly holding their June meetup asa joint pre-Vancouver ChangeCamp networking evening!

Where: W2 (151 West Cordova — Google Map)
When: Friday, June 11, starting 7pm.
Who: Any and all Open Gov West or ChangeCamp attendees, or other changemakers interested in technology, open government or citizen-driven collaboration.
RSVP (Admission by Donation)
Cash Bar available, with raffle ticket draws throughout the evening!

This will be a great chance to hear more and learn about other perspectives, initiatives and ideas on why open government is important and how to make it more common, and to learn how others are moving open government forward. Hope to see you there!

If you would like any information about this event, contact the OGW Vancouver Liaison, Karen Quinn Fung (