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Crowdsourcing Global Climate Action: POC21

Words by Nithin Coca
Leadership & Transparency
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Climate negotiations are boring, involve mostly bureaucrats, and often ignore or forget about important, on-the-ground issues. Organizers of the POC21 innovation camp aim to change that by prototyping open-source change and involving the greater community ahead of the Paris Climate Talks.

Check your calendar – it is now less than six months until the historic Paris COP21 Climate Talks. With the G7 just announced a pact to reduce carbon emissions, more countries around the world taking steps to move away from fossil fuels, and companies like Ikea making big investments to reduce their carbon footprint, the momentum is, for the first time in years, on the side of sustainability.

The question now is: What will this change look like? As heat waves bake India and drought ravages California, it is clear that we are moving closer and closer to the worst-case scenario of catastrophic climate change. Mere action is not enough; we need drastic, innovative change. Yes, we need a a long, legalistic, global climate agreement, but also much, much more.

Enter POC21, a proof of concept for open-sourcing sustainability.

“From [August 15 to Sept. 20] the global best of open source, +100 makers, hackers and designers will join forces at the stunning Chateau de Millemont near Paris to bring to life what we call the smallest functional and replicable cell of a sustainable society, right in front of the castle. Five weeks of co-living and co-making to show to the world that true sustainability beyond the bothersome buzzwording is feasible, looks and works awesome and is huge fun too.”

The idea is that bringing these people together will create a catalyst for ideas and projects that can be scaled up to quickly build a sustainable society. By showing climate negotiators that sustainability is not only achievable, but desirable, POC21 hopes to spur real action at COP21 happening just down the road.

The key here is open source. Much like Elon Musk at Tesla, when he open-sourced his company's technology in order to spur electric car adoption globally, the fact that POC21 will create solutions that people all over the world can utilize, adapt and build upon for their own communities.

Moreover, the project aims to work directly with governments to implement the solutions they come up with.

“After the pilot camp we plan to assemble a top-notch international advisory board that will carry the results to decision-makers in the economy and politics. Our research partners will provide the scientific framework to the practical camp results.”

This just the type of innovative, cross-sectoral and cross-boundary thinking we need. If you are planning to go to Paris this winter, be sure to check out POC21 – or, if you have an idea, join and help build open-source solution for our future.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Nithin Coca

Nithin Coca is a freelance journalist who focuses on environmental, social, and economic issues around the world, with specific expertise in Southeast Asia.

Read more stories by Nithin Coca