Why MIT Thinks You (Yes, You!) Can Solve Climate Change

Please look after this bear. Photo credit: Ansgar Walk/Wikimedia Commons

Climate change: We all know it's a huge problem, and most of us want something done about it. Unfortunately, nation-state level approaches haven't made any significant headway.

According to Thomas W. Malone, Robert Laubacher, and Laur Fisher of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, "top-down approaches that have been tried for decades—like efforts to pass national legislation and to negotiate international agreements—while important, haven’t yet produced the kind of change scientists say is needed to avert climate change’s potential consequences."

It's also the case that for the individual activist, as I noted in this TEDx talk on citizen science, some days, just recycling your soda cans just doesn't seem like enough. So what can you do?

Enter Climate CoLab. This is a crowdsourcing platform where people like you and I can work with experts to create, discuss, and select proposals for what to do about climate change.

"Anyone is allowed to contribute," says Malone. "No matter who a person is or where they come from, they can contribute ideas and have them reviewed by an international community of thousands of people—including world-renowned experts from organizations like NASA, the World Bank, and the Union of Concerned Scientists, and leading universities like MIT, Stanford, and Columbia."

After you register, there are four ways you can participate. You can browse through the existing contests and proposals, and support the ones you like. You can vote for the proposals you like best. You can comment on or even contribute to proposals, and if you're really keen, you can draft and submit your own proposal.

To date, more than 100,000 people have visited the Climate CoLab from around the world, and more than 10,000 have registered as members. The CoLab community also includes over 5,800 Facebook followers and more than 11,000 Twitter followers. Will you soon be one of them?

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PS – Want to learn more about citizen science and why it's important? This week only, the book:_ Be the Change: Saving the World with Citizen Science_ is available for free. All I ask in return is that if you enjoy the book, please leave a review at Amazon. Click here to grab your copy now.