On July 15, 2018 I got a very clearly laid out email suggesting two actions I can take to #movethedate for climate change. Move the Date is essentially a campaign to get humanity to take action on climate change before August 1 2018, which is Earth Overshoot Day (marks the day when we have used more from nature than our planet can renew in the entire year). This is, of course, everyone’s responsibility. But the distribution of responsibility needs to be differentiated. The World Economic Forum announced that 50% of the world’s carbon emissions are caused by the wealthiest 10%. As someone who is a likely contributor to the 50% carbon emissions, I was excited and ready to learn about some concrete actions I could take.
These were the actions listed:
1) Travel with an eco-sensibility: Use hotels with renewable energy and/or rent electric cars instead of regular cars.
2) Start a population conversation: Download resources to start a population conversation in a way that doesn’t turn people off
Since I am a regular traveller for work, I clicked on #1. On this next page, they explained the importance of eco-sensible travel and how they defined it as renewable energy-based hotels. So I was convinced and ready to see a list of hotels that were eco-sensible. But to my surprise, there was no such list. All you see is a quick poll at the end saying “yes I will travel with an eco-sensibility”. I looked everywhere to find recommendations! Nothing.
So then I started doing my own Google search of eco-friendly hotels, and I got a long list of hotels but there seemed to be a very vague and broad definition of “eco-friendly”. Apparently being “earthquake-safe” counted along with “organic paint”. But for me, I was specifically thinking about hotels that are using renewable energy since that’s how the email was initially framed.
Then I found myself wondering “why is this so hard?” and “if it is this hard, who in their right mind is going to go through the effort to find the right hotel to stay at?”. Maybe my friends and family who are super dedicated to this and will spend hours researching the least carbon-intensive solutions for their lifestyle.
But the majority, including me, just get frustrated and return to our old habits of using Budget Car Rental or Expedia because we are trying to save time and money.
I think there is room for innovation in this space. Here are some ideas for anyone to take and run with:
I would definitely use these services in a heartbeat.
If you got nothing else from this blog, here’s my main point: For all of us working in the social impact space, before we ask a large population of people to change their behaviour, let’s ensure we’ve made it as easy as a few clicks for them to make that change.
The role model for this: ACLU People Power
Here’s a great example of an organisation that has made it SUPER EASY for people to take action. The ACLU’s People Power campaign has made it easy for American citizens to do voter engagement and civic engagement JUST BY TEXTING. Yes, I can vouch for the ease of this program. I’ve been doing it on weekends and weekdays. They sign you up on the platform, and assign you about 140 contacts per shift, AND they even provide you the template. So all you do is send the message to 140 people. They respond, and you again have custom messages to respond. AND they even have built in survey tool to log people’s responses.
With how busy all of our lives are, it needs to be THAT easy in order to get so many people on board. People are ready to take action. They see the world crumbling, but many people don’t know how they can make a difference. For all of us changemakers out there, let’s make sure we continue to have the end user in mind and never forget how nice it is when our lives are made easy by apps like Lyft and Tinder.Back to top of article