The solution is clear: cheaper, renewable energy in a fossil fuel free world. To become part of that solution we must all educate ourselves – along with those who are dear to us – so we can make the right choices.
Here is a booklet which contains inspiration and ideas as to how to get started on this collective as well as personal journey. You are invited to use it to raise awareness and start a conversation about climate change solutions.
The vision our city
Introduction to the visionary story ‘The Solution’
Climate change poses many questions to us, and there is an overflow of information about the impact our carbon emissions have. We hear about the myriad of scientific reports, we see the issues being debated in the papers and on tv. It appears to be such a complicated problem.
This booklet presents a simple vision for what could happen if a city – such as Geelong – decided to stand up and make a difference by saying: “Really, it is not that complicated at all.”
The booklet’s author, Mik Aidt, is a Danish journalist who moved to Geelong with his family in 2013.
“People often ask me: ‘So what can I do?’ This booklet is a response to that question. The story in the booklet provides a very simple answer, which my eight-year-old son Alex helped me to find: speaking with confidence and enthusiasm about that there is a solution. And that it is very simple.”
“It is a matter of finding the way in which we are able to literally speak it into existence – by speaking about it face to face. If we can bring simplicity, optimism and fun into addressing the issues of carbon emissions and climate change, we can create collective action at the kind of substantial level the world urgently needs to see now,” said Mik Aidt at the Sustainability Expo in Geelong Performing Arts Centre where ‘The Solution’ was launched on the 8th of February 2014.
“Scientists and the United Nations tell us we must cut the carbon emissions relatively quickly in order to prevent a global climate catastrophe. Half of Arctic surface ice has already melted. Our politicians, who really ought to be the ones taking action on this, currently aren’t doing what needs to be done. It is absurd to hear the yearly reports about how global carbon emissions keep rising. So, this is where we are at: Citizens and communities need to step in. However we will only step in at the moment when we feel it makes sense because we are part of a greater movement, a collective effort. All the factual and scary information out there doesn’t seem to be doing the trick. It doesn’t get us up from the couch. As a kickstarter we need a simple and positive vision that a great deal of us feel we can subscribe to and would like to become part of. We need artists with imagination and good contact to large groups of fans to help us with communicating this vision. And we need children, because not only are they the ones to take over this world we are leaving to them, they are also good at communicating this kind of vision with striking simplicity, yet allowing room for being playful and abstract.”
“So far the vision, and the booklet itself, has received an overwhelming response,” said the 51-year-old journalist: “Now we’d like to help spreading it as far and wide as we can. For instance, we hope to create a public art/expo event around the solutions-theme in Geelong on 27 April 2014.”
Open for ads: Relevant companies and projects are invited to place an ad in the next edition of the booklet. We are looking for a way to provide schools in our area with 25 free copies each. Printing 250 copies costs around $2,500. If you would like to support or help the project with fundraising ideas, with financial support or distribution services, then we’d love to hear from you at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open source: If you would like to re-publish the booklet in a customized version for your city, then contact us so we can send you the high resolution photos and layout-document. It was produced in InDesign 4.0 on a Mac.
The booklet currently sells as print-on-demand on Lulu.com for AUS $17.00, or £9.00 excluding shipping. It is published by Centre for Climate Safety, Geelong, 2014. 36 pages.
→ You can purchase the book on lulu.com
→ The booklet in PDF-format: www.climatesafety.info/thesolutionpdf
→ Shortcut to this page: www.climatesafety.info/thesolution
→ Geelong media release in PDF-format: TheSolution_MediaRelease01.pdf
“We must continue relentlessly to pursue the solution until that day when the world again is a safe place to live for all living things and beings on this planet. Individuals who are investing wholeheartedly in clean energy and energy efficiency are showing the way. They are the true champions of our time, creating a decentralised energy revolution from the ground up.”
~ Mik Aidt, author of ‘The Solution’ booklet
The snowball-effect of optimism
The doom-and-gloom perspective and fright of the impacts of climate change paralyzes and creates apathy, whereas optimism and a “from the ground up”-approach is much more likely to start the kind of infectious snow-ball-effect which we need to see now. In an abstract way – with photos and a little ‘children’s tale’ – this booklet outlines how the upgoing spiral can be started.
The aim is to help creating that kind of confidence and “we-can-do-this-ourselves”-attitude that can turn the current underground movement of solution-builders into a mainstream movement. To help get the snowball of optimism rolling.
Getting people to invest time and money into initiatives which have a real impact on our atmosphere and reduce lots of carbon emissions can be done without actually having to mention that word ‘climate’ or keep blasting out the frightening doom-and-gloom tipping points which scientists tell us we are quickly approaching.
The idea with the booklet itself is to throw it into ‘creative commons’ circulation with numerous customized, local versions of it – ideally one version per city who embraces it – and then to continuously upgrade it with more pages containing solution-oriented ads, simple guides, hands-on advice, and toolboxes.
→ E-booklet download-link (PDF): www.climatesafety.info/thesolutionpdf
→ The shortcut to this web-page is: www.climatesafety.info/thesolution
“If there is a world here in a hundred years, it’s going to be saved by tens of millions of little things.”
Pete Seeger (1919–2014), in a 2007-interview republished by YES Magazine
Out a similar tangent
We are what we do.org
We Are What We Do is a global movement aimed at inspiring people to use small, everyday actions to help change the world. Founded in London in 2004, the group gathered 50 simple ideas for improving the environment, our health, and our communities to create international bestsellers.
These included the books ‘Change the World for a Fiver’ (published in the United States as ‘Change the World for Ten Bucks’), ‘Change the World 9-5’, ‘Teach Your Granny To Text and Other Ways to Change the World’, ‘31 Ways to Change the World’, along with campaigns in schools, businesses and communities involving educational materials, videos and exhibitions.
Whilst these reached relatively large numbers – ‘Change the World for a Fiver’ sold over 1.5 million copies world wide – evaluation showed an increase in awareness in users, but limited actual behaviour change.
Equally, as explicitly socially positive messages, they had a nominal or negative appeal to the majority of the people who have no existing appetite for social and environmental participation. At the same time, advances in behavioural economics and psychology have shown that everyday human decision making is more profoundly influenced by context, peer behaviour and emotional reactions than by the logical processes which tell us something is ‘the right thing to do’.
As a result, implicitness and facilitation have become crucial principles behind the work of We Are What We Do since around 2007. More about this in the paper ‘The Incidental Effect.’
→ Home page: www.wearewhatwedo.org
“Sustainability storytellers should aim to frame the sustainability challenges and opportunities we face with a light at the end of the tunnel. (…) Our stories should have a clear path—a beginning, a middle, and an ending that demonstrates hope for the future.”
→ The Business of a Better World – 13 November 2013:
Sustainability Storytelling: Creating a Narrative that Matters
Time for cities and business to join forces on climate change
“The battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities. Cities consume 80% of global resources and produce 75% of carbon emissions, and there could be three billion more city dwellers by 2050.
With $57 trillion in infrastructure investment needed by 2030, most of it in cities, there is a huge opportunity to make our urban environments more sustainable. Fortunately, many cities are ready with forward-thinking leadership that is willing to collaborate and act.
Will that happen? Right now, it’s businesses that deliver the technology, services and financing for infrastructure. But businesses traditionally work with cities late in the planning lifecycle. So there aren’t many opportunities to drive innovation and new solutions, like energy efficient buildings, low-carbon transportation, smart grids and others.
So here’s an idea: what if businesses and cities formed a global leadership group for cities and climate change? To start, the group could develop metrics that compare the relative value-add of infrastructure solutions that lower emissions, raise climate change resilience, or help cities adapt to climate change, so leaders can weigh different investment options.
This is the kind of collaboration that could turn the tide in the climate change battle.”
~ Peter Bakker, head of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, at Davos in January 2014
“It’s not enough to simply be against something. The Solutions Project wants to use science + business + culture to accelerate the transition to 100% renewable energy.”
→ Mother Jones – 3 January 2013:
Mark Ruffalo Wants You to Imagine a 100 Percent Clean Energy Future
The celebrity activist isn’t just against fracking; he wants to turn the conversation to green solutions.
“If you think Mark Ruffalo is just another celeb with an anti-corporate tilt, you’re missing the story. His true passion is promoting a clean energy solution to our climate and water problems, and demonstrating how feasible it is. Today. Like, now.”
→ Inquiring Minds – Climatedesk.org’s podcast on soundcloud.com:
Mark Ruffalo – Our 100 Percent Clean Energy Future
In this podcast, Mark Ruffalo talks about his vision for a clean energy future, what he’s doing about it, and how you can help. If you don’t have an hour to listen to this podcast, then start with listening to the three-and-a-half minutes from 31:15 to 34:45, and again from 45:00 and four minutes onwards.
Mark Ruffalo (born 1967) is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. He is known for portraying the Marvel Comics character, Bruce Banner / The Hulk in films taking place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For his role in The Kids Are All Right (2010), he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. Since 2010, he has become a supporter of creating 100% clean energy – including a campaign to ‘Put Solar On It’ – after believing that fracking was destroying his community in upstate New York.
→ Mark Ruffalo’s wiki-profile:
→ Put Solar On It – Pledge and Toolbox – an exemplary toolbox concept:
“Simply taking to the streets isn’t the answer. What is needed is a meaningful vision for civilisational transition – backed up with people power and ethical consistence.
It’s time that governments, corporations and the public alike woke up to the fact that we are fast entering a new post-carbon era, and that the quicker we adapt to it, the far better our chances of successfully redefining a new form of civilisation – a new form of prosperity – that is capable of living in harmony with the Earth system.”
But if we continue to make like ostriches, we’ll only have ourselves to blame when the epidemic becomes a pandemic at our doorsteps.
~ Dr Nafeez Ahmed, executive director of the Institute for Policy Research & Development
→ The Guardian – 25 September 2013:
The crisis of civilisation is an unprecedented opportunity
Converging climate, energy, and economic crises signal the potential to transition to a prosperous post-carbon era
Inspirational Facebook pages
Building a Sharing Cities Network
“Imagine a city where everyone’s needs are met because people make the personal choice to share. Where everyone can create meaningful livelihoods. Where fresh, local food is available to all. Where affordable housing and shared transportation are abundant. Where the people decide how the city budget is spent. Where the people own the utilities and the banks, and even create their own currencies. Imagine a city where the more we share, the more we have. That’s a sharing city, and our dream is that everyone gets to live in such a place.”
Video published on youtube.com on 2 December 2013.
→ Read more about the Sharing Cities Network on www.shareable.net
City of Sydney: Growing a green revolution
The city of Sydney is creating 96,000 square metres of green urban landscape. From rooftops to walls, the city is going through a green revolution.
“It is wonderful to watch this transformation, and the benefits we reap will be immense.”
~ Danielle Uskovic, scoop.it
→ Broadsheet – 29 January 2014:
Growing a Green Revolution
The green revolution is growing. All over the city’s skyline green roofs and walls dot the urban landscape
“I don’t care what you think about climate change, and politics. What I care about is what you think about the future. (…) There are really two attitudes that one can have. You can see the future as something that happens to you. Or you can say: the future is going to be what we build.”
“Climate change is an existential threat. We know how to fix it. We actually CLAIM that we are fixing it. But we are not fixing it really. And if we want it fixed, it is okay to be a little bit angry. But anger at the same time really isn’t enough. It is not enough because this is a transformational process, and the system that we are trying to transform, is the energy system. The energy system is at the heart of the economy. So we are trying to transform the economy. And at the heart of the economy is a whole set of power relationships that are embedded in the economy. And that system actually has some quite good anti-bodies for resisting change.”
“This is a story about electricity. Using electricity to do more things in smarter ways. If you like: A new golden age of electrification.”
John Ashton at TEDxBedfordSchool: ‘Climate Change: Why you should be angry and why anger isn’t enough.’ Uploaded on youtube.com on 20 August 2013.
References and sources
Sources of topics and names mentioned in the longer version of ‘The Solution’, and some of the articles, videos and quotes that gave inspiration to the story.
The Green Ninja
If you have not yet met the Green Ninja yet, then… here you go:
The key to transformation is simplicity itself
“We can endlessly get lost in the complexity of sustainable development, but the key to transformation is simplicity itself. Don’t take my word for it; just listen to leading politicians and business leaders.
They recognise that at the core, all we really need to do to unlock the creativity and innovation that can turn us away from social and environmental disaster is to change our thoughts.”
~ Jo Confino
“It’s been said that the most common way that people give up their power is by thinking that they don’t have any, but we do. We have real power, and it’s not coal-fired or reactor based. It’s community power, and community power is baseload power because it’s always there.”
~ Dave Sweeney, the Australian Conservation Foundation
Living, breathing reasons to care
“Without a way of translating the dry, faceless facts of climate science into living, breathing reasons to care about climate change, meaningful public engagement will remain out of sight.”
“We have failed, collectively, to make climate change something that inspires passion in all but a vocal minority (on either side of the argument)”
~ Climate Outreach and Information Network – in a new 15-page briefing paper entitled ‘Climate Silence’
The Copenhagen Wheel
→ Take Part:
This Device Literally Reinvents the Wheel—Bicycling May Never Be the Same
The Copenhagen Wheel acts like a biking partner, without the awkwardness of tandem riding.
10 percent is allegedly all it takes
“Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when 10 percent of the population are deeply committed to an idea, the idea will always be adapted by the majority of the society. Below 10 percent, there is no visible activity. Above 10 percent, the idea spreads like wildfire.”
→ Science Daily – 26 July 2011:
Minority rules: Scientists discover tipping point for the spread of ideas
Scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have found that when just 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, their belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society.
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Community energy links
An incomplete list of Australian community energy initiatives and funding projects, listed in alphabetic order:
Alternative Energy Association
Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia
Coalition for Community Energy
Community Owned Renewable Energy
Energy for the People
Yes 2 Renewables
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