When you think of climate change, who pops into your head? I’ve asked hundreds of people this question. By far the most popular answer: I have no idea. The next most popular answer is Al Gore, then Bill McKibben, and then that’s about it.
So, for arguably the largest issue in the world, at a time of extreme fidelity about the problem, we don’t have many popular figureheads—Rosa Parks or Ghandis for the climate movement. There is something obviously out of scale about that, which is why why my wife and I created The Hero Hatchery. We want to radically increase action on climate by elevating heroes of the movement, and revealing the hero in all of us.
My wife, Amanda Ravenhill, and I met at the Presidio MBA program in San Francisco. Learning about the extreme pickle we are in as species, and then discovering that fighting climate change is an economic no-brainer, quickly elevated our engagement. This eventually lead us to the front gate of the White House, where we were arrested along with 1,252 other amazing protesters. It was the largest act of civil disobedience since the civil rights era, and the experience of a lifetime.
I ended up in a paddy wagon where the median age was about 60. Amanda was handcuffed and randomly placed in the back of a paddy wagon with one of her biggest heroes, Judy Wicks. (The two of them are pictured above from the protest day). As they bounced their way towards a processing center in Virginia, they fell into a rigorous discussion about typical revolutionary fare. “We had a great conversation about creative exit strategies for social enterprises seeking money from investors,” Amanda said. “It was awesome.” The whole experience dramatically revealed the incredible community that has taken root around this issue, and what it feels like to seize your power as a citizen.
As you read this sentence, dirty energy companies are out there willingly and selfishly distorting facts and sowing doubt for their own short-term benefit. To overcome the unimaginable influence they have, we need a lot of heroes. Luckily, we already have them by the thousands, in every corner of the world. What the movement needs now is a way to radically amplify those voices and make it appealing for others to join in the fun.
That’s exactly what the Hero Hatchery is designed to do. Here’s our plan.
1. Crowdfund our best and brightest.
We’re creating a way for you to directly support activists on the front lines. We did a nationwide search to find someone with an impressive track record and the ability to break through to the mainstream. Our chosen fellow for this year is Lauren Wood. At 25, she is the co-founder of one of the boldest climate organizations out there, Peaceful Uprising. However, when she’s not fighting climate change in her hometown of Salt Lake City, Utah, she’s a server in a restaurant. With the funds we crowdsource, she’ll be able to concentrate full time on her climate and organizing work for a year, and take it to a national and global scale.
2. Open source an incredible amount of knowledge.
We are curating and sharing the intelligence, skills, tools and stories of the climate movement, via Massive Open Online Trainings (MOOTs). These will be free to everyone, streaming via Google Hangouts on air and archived on our YouTube page. We are pulling in the world's most effective agents of change and open sourcing their knowledge—Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben, Lynne Twist, and many others.
3. Make is easy and fun to get activated.
We are partnering with organizations to surface opportunities for you to get involved, at any level, from anywhere.
4. Tell a new story about the climate movement.
That story should be based on the true, win-win economics of curbing climate change. As John Kerry said in his State Department confirmation hearings, climate change is a $6 trillion dollar market opportunity. If we do it right, we can also tackle health issues and income disparity while we're at it.
It’s going to be a transformational experience, and we would be honored for you to come on this journey with us. Find us at herohatchery.com where the crowdfunding launched today. We are shooting to raise $100,000 in six weeks to support the fellowship, the program and create action on climate commensurate with the challenge... and opportunity.
Image courtesy of Ryan Kushner