Communities for Change
Most people today would not deny the reality of climate change. They might even understand that it is going to negatively impact their lives and are worried about it. However, when asked what do they do about it, people will tell you mainly about their recycling habits. It is unsurprising therefore, when people have almost no outlet for their worries about climate change, that they mostly just put it out of their minds and ignore it.
The truth is though, that there are many ways one can be active in fighting climate change. Reducing waste, becoming more energy efficient, joining protests, contacting political representatives about the issue, these are just some of the actions available to a person who wants to take some action.
Another big barrier to action is the feeling that, as just one person, your actions don’t carry much weight so ‘why bother’.
Challenge: How do we motivate people to take action on an issue as wide ranging as climate change?
‘Communities for Change’ is an online platform that addresses these issues by first framing action on climate change as a community activity, and secondly by suggesting potential courses of action according to various personal characteristics - age, availability, motivation level, homeownership, business ownership, and so on.
Signing up means joining one or more communities and then working together to be a leading community in climate action. Communities can track their progress and see how they stack up against another communities to encourage healthy competition.
The project began at the initiative of Rabbi Jeffrey Newman who wanted to engage the Jewish community in London on the issue of climate change, and with the help of Clare Brass at Department 22.
The Jewish community is very much not monolithic and is in a sense ‘a community of communities’. Though research and development of the project was done considering its specific characteristics, it was conceived as to be able to scale to include other faith communities, and eventually non-faith communities as well.
With Anna Schlimm