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What you maybe didn’t know is what to do with that information — and that’s the express purpose of a nonprofit stepping onto the public stage on Thursday.
The San Francisco organization, known as #Climate, is leveraging the social media reach of several dozen “influencers” to spread the word about concrete actions that citizens can take to confront the challenges of global warming.
The tech-heavy class of inaugural influencers, who have a combined reach of 80 million people on Facebook and Twitter, include: Al Gore, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Medium founder Evan Williams, California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, actor Mark Ruffalo and the NBA.
The nonprofit, funded by the Sandler Foundation and entrepreneur Josh Felser, developed an iPhone app that allows influencers to pick specific interest areas, regions and groups — like, say, clean energy, California and Greenpeace.
It then recommends specific actions that match those preferences — such as urging local elected officials to support particular legislation, directly investing in renewable energy projects or committing to put solar panels on your property. Users can sign up through the app themselves or share the action on their social networks, with links that allow anyone to learn more or take action.
For now, everyone can download the app and look for actions that match their interests, but only the hand-picked influencers can spread the word about those options over social media.
Felser, who previously co-founded Crackle, Spinner.com and Freestyle Capital, said the concept grew out of conversations with his friends and peers about how the tech industry could leverage its own tools to address global warming.
He said that most of the information about climate change is presented in ways that either “scare the hell out of us or overeducate us about all the details.” (Uhh, guilty.)
But the natural reaction to such a daunting and complex set of challenges, he added, is for people to throw their hands up or put their heads in the sand. #Climate hopes they can elicit more productive responses by highlighting ways to take action, and delivering the message through figures who people trust and are already following on social media.
“Not only does it drive traffic to the nonprofits, but it also injects climate change into a mass-market conversation,” Felser said. “We’re taking the message to where people already are, on Twitter and Facebook.”
For more, check out the video below: