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UK low carbon activists join to develop a smarter network

How can the social tools of the Internet be used most effectively to advance local community activity to mitigate and adapt to climate change. That’s the question Tracey Todhunter explores in this video and will further exploring at a conference at the Rochelle School in London.

Tracey, co-founder of the Low Carbon Community Network in the UK, is one of the organizers of 2gether08, which is going on right now, including a streaming video feed and an event-centered social networking installation. Tracey’s questions are basic to the need for sharing knowledge and experience among the countless communities of all sizes that are facing the harsh realities of unaffordable transportation and uncertain climate futures. We know that change is coming, but we don’t know in exactly what form.

We know that all of us, down to the household level, need to reduce our carbon footprints and learn to live more sustainably, but we don’t know what the impacts will be on each of our locations as global warming intensifies. Just look at the flooding in the American Midwest and the fires in California. Then think about how you’d prepare for such events if you lived in the affected regions.

This is where more grassroots communication and mutual education is essential. Pamphlets and Web pages from FEMA are fine, but they are general and don’t benefit from the experiences of citizens on the ground who must deal directly with impending disasters.

England has suffered major flooding and unprecedented heat waves over the past two years. Many of its small towns are taking climate change seriously, and many highly motivated local activists are attending 2gether08, building and strengthening the social networks that will help them all provide smarter leadership for their local communities.

One big idea now emerging at 2gether08 is using online networking, and public service media, to help communities reduce their carbon footprints.

Groups in towns and villages are already starting to share experience nationally and internationally about local projects to tackle the challenge of peak oil and climate change, through the Low Carbon Communities Network and Transition Towns Network.

However as Tracey Todhunter, co-founder of LCCN, explains in this interview, they need technical help on how to raise awareness and communicate better online, by using social media and attracting the interest of public service publishers like Channel 4.

Tracey plans to gather a team on the first day of 2gether08 to add more tools to their current set of blogs, wikis and other communication methods, and develop their networking skills. They’ll work to a brief developed by Tracey and others in the network – and on the second day present back a working demonstration.

Although the main focus of the project is climate change, the tools and networking processes could be applied anywhere that communities seek to collaborate on projects for social benefit.

That’s why Tracey hopes Channel 4 might be interested in sharing ideas on how to do this effectively. In a series of interviews on 2gether08.com, Channel 4 executives have explained how they are moving beyond public service broadcasting to develop a range of interactive tools and programmes with partners.

The tools developed by Tracey and the team at 2gether08 will be used to build a network that will meet face-to-face at a conference in October. This will bring together the Low Carbon Community Network and the Transition Towns Network.

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Cliff Figallo's picture

Thank Cliff for the Post!

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Robin Carey's picture
Robin Carey on July 3, 2008

Cliff: SAP has been doing some ground-breaking work around using social media tools to confront climate change… you should reach out to James.Farrar@sap.com.

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