How Your Phone Will Stop Climate Change (& Save The World) | Ian Monroe | TEDxHonolulu

What’s the most important thing that you do with your phone? Calls? Email? Facebook? Getting a higher score on Candy Crush? You know who you are. What if you could do something even more important? Like solve some of the world’s biggest problems. And if you could solve any of the world’s biggest problems, what would it be? For me, the problem that I’d solve is climate change. Why? Well, for starters, I’m a scientist at Stanford University and I’m compelled by the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that says our current fossil fuel use is endangering every ecosystem and the existence of human civilization as we know it. But the deeper reason that I care about climate change is actually much more personal. I grew up on a small farm in California and I’ve seen the seasons become unpredictable first-hand. Record floods and record droughts have become the new normal. My family had seen summer heat so intense that it split ancient oak trees.

And we’ve seen our neighbors devastated by hundreds of wildfires. We’ve also lived through our own home burning to the ground, taking the lives of two fantastic dogs, a wonderful cat, and five generations of history with it. So I care about climate change because I love my family and I want to protect my home. And I care about climate change because there are literally billions of other homes and lives in danger. I’ve had the extraordinary opportunity to work around the world for 15 years, and I’ve made many great friends along the way. Friends, whose homes, lives, and livelihoods, are often in even greater danger than most of us here, because of the interconnections between climate, poverty, hunger, disease, crime, and violence. So how can we solve climate change? Well, for starters, for the rest of the world to live and thrive, the fossil fuel industry must die. And we also need to stop unsustainable manufacturing in food production.

These are monumental challenges to be sure, but the good news is we already have all the clean energy technologies and sustainability technologies we need to solve the problem. What’s missing is public engagement that’s sufficient to put these solutions in actions fast enough to avoid disaster. So the biggest missing piece of our climate puzzle is really you. And by you, I mean all of us, myself included. We like to blame corporations and governments on climate inaction. But their decisions all trace back to our votes, our lifestyle choices, and how we spend and invest our money. So the climate problem is really our problem. Most of us already know that climate change is a huge problem, but the big challenge is bridging the gap between how much we say we care about climate change and actually what we do on an everyday basis.

To do this, we need tools that put information and incentives in the right places to change our everyday actions. Fortunately, you guys already have an amazing device that can do this. Which brings me back to where I began. That’s right. You call this a phone, but it’s really a hyper-connected super computer that it can inform all your decisions and send advice to you to change, and connect you to pretty much anyone else anywhere in the world. I’m now working with an extraordinary team of scientists and engineers to launch a service that connects the power of this amazing device as a tool to solve climate change. We’ve launched a service called OROECO that makes it fun, easy, and rewarding for everyone to be part of a collective climate solution. We started with the goal to create the world’s most powerful carbon footprint calculator. Then we’ve added personalized tips for what you can do to improve your climate footprint while saving money at the same time.

And to encourage us all to move from saying we care about climate to actually doing something about it, we’ve added in points, prizes, and real-world rewards to swing the deal. OROECO’s climate number crunching has led us to some surprising conclusions. For one, we found that many people who really say they care about climate change, actually have a personal carbon footprint that’s substantially worse than average. This is definitely true for myself. And the reason for this is that a lot of us who care about climate change also tend to fly. We want be multicultural, and go around the world, and connect with our families, too. And just one cross-country flight could easily outweigh everything else we’re doing to be more sustainable.

Another surprise from many OROECO users is how big the carbon footprint is from our dietary choices – what we eat. And that is actually matters a whole lot more for climate change to eat less red meat than it matters to eat everything local or everything organic. Because it’s not just how we spend our money but also how we invest our money that makes a difference. We’ve started to use OROECO’s data to create low carbon investment products. And here we found an even bigger, and quite frankly, much better surprise. Investment funds that are fully divested from fossil fuels and only invested in climate leaders and other industries actually perform better. They make more money than conventional investment funds. We’re now working to launch this strategy into the market, which we think can mainstream low carbon investing, and really dispel this myth that we have that dirty energy companies are necessary for a healthy investment portfolio.

And of course, there are many of other great services out there, beyond OROECO that help us align our personal values with our everyday actions. There’s GoodGuide which makes it easy to see the sustainability footprint of virtually everything we can buy at the supermarket. There’s Buycott and BuyPartisan, which show us how our spending decisions connect to money and politics. There’s Slavery Footprint which shows us sobering information about how our lifestyle choices are connected to forced labor, modern day slavery. And of course, there is Fitbit and MyFitnessPal apps that are encouraging us all to lead healthier, happier lives. What these apps all have in common is they’re taking previously invisible information about our impacts, and making it both visible and actionable. And it’s not just about information. It’s about motivation. Our phones can be a tireless coach that’s always with us, giving us just the right information and incentives, and the motivation to act and change your everyday actions.

Also, when apps like OROECO connect up to services that connect us socially so we can compare with our friends and family in our social networks, they tap into something much more fundamental. We, as humans, one of the most powerful motivating forces we have is to earn respect from people we care about. And we all like to see that we’re doing at least as well as average. But of course, this is never actually possible for all of us to always be better than average. But that’s actually a good thing. Because when an app shows us we’re not actually better than average, it encourage us to improve. And when enough of us consistently try to be better than average, then the average improves creating a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement that benefits everyone. Last, but certainly not least, our phones can inspire us through the power of storytelling which is really what TED is all about. And we’ve already been talking about this today.

This is Chai Jing. She’s a Chinese journalist who just release a low-budget documentary on how air pollution is affecting her daughter’s health. Her story, thanks to the power of social networks and mobile apps, received over 200 million views in just 48 hours. That’s about one-third of China’s urban population in a weekend. Stories that are both inspirational and important can now race around the world at the pace of Twitter and Facebook, which is to say, at the speed of ‘like’. I care about climate change because of how it connects to my own story and my own loss. And I care about climate change because of how it connects to the stories of people and places I love around the world. I’m sure you all have your own climate stories to share stories that can inspire you and many others into action. And action is exactly what we need because climate change is a massive collective action problem that requires a collective action solution.

We now have the tool we need to act together. With this, we are empowered to reinvent our future and align it with our values. With this magic wand, we have the power to change our own lives, then spread that change to everyone around us; even changing companies and governments in the process. With this, we are no longer drops in a bucket but a connected ocean of potential. So how will you change the world? The power to shape the world that you want is now literally, in the palm of your hands. Use it with love, use it with passion, use it for a little bit more than Candy Crush. (Applause).

Hackers Back Up US Climate Data So Trump Can’t Delete It

On Friday, January 20th, as Donald Trump was taking the oath of office to become the 45th President of the United States a group of 60 scientists, computer programmers and hackers met at UCLA to completely comb through government archives, the whitehouse.gov website and copy and collect and back up any data that the government has on climate change. They then took all this data and stored it on servers housed in Europe so that the Trump Administration could not touch it. The reason they did this is because they were terrified that the Trump Administration was going to go through and delete all of this data once the swearing in ceremony was finished. To be honest this was something that the scientists and federal employees had worried about a few weeks ago, so they began doing the same thing long before the inauguration even took place. What they're planning to do now is keep this data, go through it, analyze it and then compare it to what is still available on the government websites.

Essentially if the Trump Administration attempts to falsify any data, any reports or scrub anything, these scientists, these hackers, these computer programmers are going to call them out on it. That is probably one of the most positive things I've seen in quite a while. Here's the other side of this, they were right because immediately following the swearing in ceremony the term climate change disappeared from the whitehouse.gov website. I know Trump supporters are out there saying, "No it didn't, it's still there." Well, no there were plenty of search engines, images out there, articles written. The term did completely disappear at least for a little bit. Maybe they've put it back up on a couple pages now. Trump people attempted to write this off by saying, "Of course he believes in climate change.

He's said it over and over again for months." Kellyanne Conway said that. No, Kellyanne, he never said that. He hasn't been saying it for months. Really the last thing we heard from him on climate change is that he believes it's a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Don't try to tell us with your alternative facts that he has always been a believer in climate change. She verified this by saying because the climate always changes. What idiot Conway is confusing at the moment is climate and weather. The weather changes from day to day. Republicans aren't smart enough to understand that the weather is not climate. They think that if it's snowing one day climate change, global warming, can't be real. Oh God no. Look at the climate outside. They're just not smart enough to understand the difference between weather and climate. That's why the scientists and programmers and hackers had to get together and copy this data and back it up and store it so that we do not lose it for the next four years.

This is decades worth of research and scientific analysis that the Trump Administration is attempting to get rid of. Luckily we do have people out there that took action, they got the data. Hopefully they will call Donald Trump out every single time his administration attempts to falsify, remove or otherwise bastardize decades worth of research on climate change..

“The EcoMap: Determining Your Zip Code’s Carbon Footprint” by Jared Blumenfeld

This presentation is brought to you by Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, and a generous investment by Julie Ann Wrigley. So the EcoMap came out of a partnership with Cisco, the computer manufacturer, and it talked about– the intro, I’m just going to talk through. You can read it. The goal was to be able to use ZIP codes to determine CO2 footprints in San Francisco. So the idea was, individuals want to make a difference, but they don’t really know what that difference would be. If you fill out a carbon calculator or do a pledge on the internet, it doesn’t really lead to any aggregated number. And so the point here was to be able to replicate what we do so that you can one day compare a Phoenix ZIP code with a San Francisco ZIP code with a Beijing ZIP code.

And this is– wait one second. So this is what you see. And the website’s launching in a few days. So you see San Francisco. You get a sense of all the ZIP codes. On the top, it tells you your ZIP code because you can now automatically– your IP address on your computer can be tabulated with your ZIP code. So rather than you having to type anything in, the computer tells you your ZIP code. And then it shows you the ZIP codes based on greenness. So the lighter the green, the better actual green you  are. So the first thing it shows you here, which is kind of maybe hard to read from where you’re sitting, but it shows you the three indicators, which are transportation, energy, and waste. And then it ranks the top 10 ZIP codes in San Francisco, and it shows you the percentage for each category. So in the first one, 50% is from transportation, 46% is from energy, and only 4% is from waste. So on energy, it shows you the amount of electricity used and the amount of gas.

So we went to our utility and said, we want, by ZIP code, the residential data for both gas and electricity, and then we looked at the amount of carbon in gas and the gas-electricity ratio, and came up with a ZIP code ranking. And you can see the little green or red arrows next to the number. So each month, there’s kind of the potential to go up or down. So in your community, if you get 30 or 40 people to do small actions, you can get your whole ZIP code to go from number two, let’s say, to number one. The other thing that it shows you on the bottom, that green bar, is the city average and the city goal. So we have these goals, but they’re very hard to translate so that people understand what they are. So the purpose here is to be able to show people, you know what? You’re not quite where the city goal is. If you took these actions, you could get there. So waste. It shows you the weight of the black cart, the weight of the green cart, so this is average per household weight– and the blue cart. And you can see huge disparities between the top ZIP code with 295 pounds, and the worst in this one is 925.

So three times more is being thrown away in one ZIP code than another. And it turns out that the ZIP code that’s doing really well is called South Beach. It’s a new development. It’s young people that live in small apartments. They’re producing three times less trash than single-family homes in the Richmond. But really, I mean, it’s startling starting to look at that data, and who’s throwing away more green material, and who’s throwing away more refuse. Transportation. We managed to get the state data and regional data so that you can start looking at the number of hybrids, the number of SUVs, and then the miles per year driven to commute in each ZIP code, which gives you your carbon footprint. So really starting to get pretty high-level granularity of data to look at this issue. You can do it by ZIP code, you can start comparing two ZIP codes, and eventually, you’ll be able to take two ZIP codes from different places on the planet and compare SUV versus hybrid ownership, for instance. So the next thing we did is look at these three key indicators, which are effort, cost, and impact.

So that’s what we learned from our market research was that those are the three drivers. People want to look at the effort they need to take to do something, the cost it’s going to be to do that thing, and then, what is the impact? So there’s some things that are very high impact, but they’re also very high effort, like going car-free. If you said, I’m going to give up my car and just walk, bike, and take public transit, it’s a huge impact, but it’s also quite a lot of effort. Putting solar panels is not a huge effort, really, but it’s a huge cost. And so some people may not be willing to do that, or able to do that. And so we tailored, rather than just coming up with generic things that you could do, based on what your personal profile is by effort, cost, and impact, we then generate a list for you of what you can do.

So it comes up with a list, and then you get to decide out of those which actual actions you want to take in the three different categories. And as you take them, it fills out your tree. And as it fills out your tree, you can then add it to Facebook. We really wanted to add the social networking dimension, and we used the mayor here, so you get to see the mayor’s Facebook page. And his tree goes on there. And then it goes back and looks at the people that live around the mayor that are also using the site through Facebook and finds out what they’re doing. So he decides he wants a plan a bicycle route. So it doesn’t just give you a high level of data. It starts to mine down deeper. So it says he’s going to go from City Hall to see the Giants, and then it shows the route. And one of the cool things that we did with the route planner is that it also shows you the gradient, you can see on the bottom right. San Francisco, we have a lot of hills. People want to know, if there’s an easy route, how long does it take? And then at the bottom, it links you to a bike buddy through Facebook.

So if you don’t want to bicycle alone, you’re just starting to bike, it helps you do that. And then it links you to other people. This person can teach you how to learn how to compost. The next person is going to be part of a green business, and they happen to have a video on Cole Hardware, which is a small hardware store that can tell you more about what you want to know about green businesses. So you can really start linking this to real-life experiences in the city rather than making it some abstract tool that is of little use. So this will launch in Seoul. We started in San Francisco. Amsterdam and Seoul are the next two cities that are going to do it. And then the goal is to replicate the model by greening each ZIP code. And ZIP codes really are a scale that you can start measuring things. I mean, if you get enough ZIP codes to do it, you can really see what the impact on the planet is going to be. This presentation is brought to you by Arizona State University’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, for educational, and non-commercial use only.

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