Overview of Program
No challenge that humanity has faced could have prepared us to meet the climate crisis. Arresting global warming before it’s too late has emerged as nothing less than the central organizing project for our civilization. As the scientific data pours in, it has become clear that we have to act now to bring about a reduction in our carbon emissions.
In the face of this crisis, people around the world are rallying to find solutions. But the large-scale solutions many are pinning hope on—renewable energy and new technologies—will take a long time to scale up; much more time than scientists tell us we have.
There is, however, one solution that has the potential to bring about significant large-scale carbon reductions in the short term: household energy conservation. Over half of America’s carbon footprint and between 50 and 90 percent of a community’s footprint is created by the energy we use to power our homes and cars. And America representing 20 percent of the planet’s greenhouse gas emissions and epitomizing the high carbon lifestyle, is a lynchpin for any global solution. If we can demonstrate how to scale up household carbon reduction in an American community it will serve as a role model to other communities. Because of the solution vacuum, this model will disseminate quickly to other communities both in America and around the world. But how can we do this?
The tools are now in place to help a community empower citizens to reduce their carbon footprint. Empowerment Institute has developed through three decades of research a proven behavior change and community engagement methodology. It has helped millions of households around the world to reduce their environmental footprint and trained hundreds of communities to implement this methodology.
This methodology has now been applied to the issue of global warming. It is built around the award-winning Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds and its Cool Community Campaign strategy. The program provides households with simple tools to measure and reduce their carbon footprint with the support of a peer-support called an EcoTeam. Participating households reduce their carbon footprint by up to 25 percent. The Cool Community Campaign organizing model engages residents on a block-by-block basis and has demonstrated the ability to get 25 percent of a block to participate.