Category Archives: Blog Stuff

Creating the Human Climate Pledge App (and State of the Blog updates)

I apologize for my recent pause in posting! (Interrupted only by my recent post about Climate Collaborative’s outstanding video.)

My excuse is that I have been focused on creating the foundation for a person-to-person, pledge-based Human Climate Movement. Here is a brief report on my activities:

1) Moving Human Climate Movement strategy forward, by working and consulting with allies. I will discuss the current plans for the HCP App later in this post. (If you have not read “Answering the Question of Our Time, Together: Strategy Proposal and Call to Collaboration”, this post will not make much sense. Please read that first!)

2) Media possibilities A couple cool things have already happened: I was interviewed fairly extensively by an NPR reporter, so hopefully that will make its way onto the airwaves soon, and Emmett Rensin quoted me in a piece on the blog PolicyMic, a blog associated with Harvard’s Institute on Politics, in which he calls for a WWII-level government mobilization to fight climate change.

3) Making connections with allies. I have received a lot of great feedback on the recent proposal, and have been in touch with a lot of great people. In fact, something I want to do is assemble a directory of allies. This would be a list of people who have expressed a desire to get involved with the Human Climate Movement, along with their special skills, areas of knowledge and expertise. My hope would be that this would facilitate cross-pollination. I am meeting so many talented, dedicated people — I would love for you all to work with each other. If you would like to be included in such a directory (or if you would like to be involved in helping me set it up!), let me know in the comments section, or contact me directly.

4) Facilitating the Facebook Group, “Climate Change: It’s Personal.” If you have not joined yet, come check it out. It is a daily forum where people discuss their emotional, subjective responses to climate change. As a psychologist, I know that talking through personal issues can turn confusion and stagnation into clarity and energy!

5) Enjoying the holiday! Happy Thanksgiving. I am thankful for so many dedicated friends and allies; people looking to do whatever they can to fight for humanity, against climate change!

In terms of Human Climate Movement Strategy, one of the critical next steps is to get the Human Climate Pledge App designed and programmed. I would appreciate input about the concept for the App itself, as well as advice on how to accomplish this task.

App Features:

At present, here is what the HCP app will include (Comments and critiques are most welcome!)

1)    The text of the pledge itself (still in development; an early draft can be found here)

2)    An Impact Data Ticker: It would look something like this, and display the following information:

A) How many people have signed the Pledge, in total
B)   How many people you have recruited to sign the pledge
C)   How many people they (your recruits) have recruited to sign the pledge
D)   Your total impact (meaning, how many people your recruits, their recruits, their recruits, and their recruits, etc. have recruited to sign the pledge
E)    How many elected officials and political candidates have signed the pledge

3)    Information on which elected officials and political candidates have signed the Pledge. Perhaps videos from these candidates or information on their platforms?

4)    A Newsfeed-type feature (It should have a “Like” function, as on Facebook, but probably not allow comments, as that would become overwhelming) which displays:

A. New people who take the Pledge, and their dedication, message, or suggestions, in text (or maybe also audio, or video) form.
B.New elected officials who sign the pledge, and their message to the Human Climate Movement.
C. New environmental, political, community, and religious organizations that endorse the Pledge. (Example: Matt Damon and the Sierra club have signed on!)
D. People who reach landmarks in their recruitment (Like getting 10, 50 or 100 people to sign). Movement organizers will ask them to describe their experience and how they believe they have achieved their success in spreading the Pledge.
E. Organizational messages and updates.

5)  The capability to give the pledge to someone else, and to give him or her access to the Human Climate Pledge App. (Remember, you have to sign the pledge in person, and you need someone who has already signed it to give you the Pledge). Probably, everyone should be able to download the App, which would display the Pledge, but have no other functionality, until your App gets “unlocked” when you sign in person.  My hope is that this could be primarily accomplished through smartphones “beaming” the data to each other.  (See this type of technology.)   Otherwise perhaps each HCM member could have a unique password, and entering would unlock the pledge… (Though this would impair the “in-person” requirement, as it could theoretically be accomplished over the web.)

6) The ability for the Human Climate Movement central to give push notifications.

**As stated above, the Human Climate Pledge/Human Climate Movement’s website will have more features, such as forums to discuss movement strategy and policy options; maps of where community projects are happening in your area; directories featuring the profiles of HCM members who choose to create them; and a platform to donate money.

**Note that we not planning to include a donation tool on the App, hoping to emphasize the message that the primary way that Pledge signatories should engage is through truth spreading, pledge recruitment, and community projects.

Getting the App Developed: Questions and Action Steps

There are two choices for getting the HCP App developed: Find people to design and program the App for free, or raise money and then hire paid professionals to design and program the HCP App.

  • Are there any talented, dedicated App developers or designers out there who want to do this for free or for a reduced fee?
  • If not, I estimate this project would cost about $40,000. (This estimate was made in consultation with an ally in the field, and with the help of this site. If this seems expensive, remember that we need to develop it for both Android and IPhone.)
  • To raise this money, I am thinking of an Indiegogo Campaign, but I am open to other strategies if people have them!
  • I believe it is a good idea to create a non-profit organization, so that people can make tax-free donations.

So,  if you wish to help with either programming, creating an Indiegogo campaign, or other forms of fundraising (Grant writing?) making the Human Climate Movement a non-profit, or overall advice, suggestions and feedback, please get in touch with me immediately!

“Moral Power for Climate Action” Video from Climate Collaborative

This is a Climate Psychologist milestone! While I have, until now, posted only original content, this video, by Climate Collaborative provides a fantastic reason to change it up.

Moral Power for Climate Action

From the video:

“When I look at my own 3-year old daughter, I almost never allow myself to think about climate change and her future. I don’t dare. It’s too hard. But many of the scholars looking at the psychological dimensions climate change are actually suggesting that we talk about it more, talk about  the seriousness of it, the emotional parts of it. This is important not only for our own mental health, but also because what drives social change isn’t necessarily broad-based support,  but the intensity of the minority. An intensely committed minority can act as a lever that can move larger populations. So what we need is a core group of people who feel climate change in their bones.  But the feeling part is really hard.”

I agree with this statement absolutely, and I think that the person-to-person, pledge based approach can be the tool that creates that turn a committed minority into a social consensus and drastic political action.

The creators of this video are  beautiful, courageous examples of people living in, and spreading, climate truth. I plan on getting in touch with each of them to express my gratitude and to talk strategy.

Hooray for new allies!

State of the Blog: Pacing Myself & Exciting Projects

As some may have noticed, my rate of posting on the Climate Psychologist has slowed to some degree, and I plan to maintain it at this slower rate, posting 1-2 pieces a week. This is emphatically not because my commitment to this blog, or to the cause of fighting climate change, has flagged.  On the contrary, a slower rate of posting will allow me to pace myself while working on expanding the blog, making connections in the environmental and activist community, and developing articles and other content that require in-depth research. More specifically, here is what I am working on:

Blog Growth. Expanding The Climate Psychologist to more readers, especially those deeply concerned about climate change, engaged in environmental activism, and in the media, is my #1 goal, at the moment. There are lots of activities happening on this front:

  • I am making connections with various environmentalists and publications. (This occurs partially through readers e-mailing me tips for people I should get in touch with, so thank you for that!)
  • I have been bringing some readers on board to work with me on the project of growing the blog, helping me to publish and publicize my work around the internet, and expanding readership. This is extremely exciting, as it will allow me to use more of my time for research and writing and less e-mailing out pitches and so on! Thanks to all volunteers, and special thanks to Victoria, for taking on the (daunting) role of publicist!
  • I have been working with some outside media, which will hopefully cover The Climate Psychologist. (I don’t like to get too specific, because in my short experience with blogging, I have found that the best attitude is to pursue opportunities as they come up, but to avoid getting emotionally invested in them before they actually happen!)
  • I am in the process of setting up a professional Facebook Page for myself as “Margaret Klein: Climate Psychologist” or something along those lines. I think this will be an important platform from which to grow.
  • If you have more ideas for how I can grow The Climate Psychologist, please let me know! Also, if you want to get involved in these efforts, please contact me J!

Content Development. I am excited about the projects I am working on!

  • I am in the research and development stages of an article on “What do social movements owe their members.” In it, I will argue that social movements must offer their members the chance to utilize their talents and individuality to further the movement; that members must have the opportunity to grow as individuals; to elevate themselves in some way (such as honor, love, community involvement, etc.) This article will include the critique of the idea of “leaderlessness: that I elaborated on, to some degree here. This piece will be a companion piece to my article “Fighting Climate Change is Different from Fighting for Civil Rights,” and will expand the critique that, environmental groups are re-using tactics from the Civil Rights movement, while failing to understand how those tactics had a vastly different psychological meaning in a different context.  My hope is to offer a comprehensive psychological critique of the current state of climate activism, mainly embodied by 350. This critique will be offered in the spirit of collaboration and a shared mission.
  • I am in the process of developing what will hopefully be a series of clinical-type interviews with climate leaders, thinkers, and activists. In these interviews, I would ask about the origins of the subject’s environmental awareness, their feelings about the climate crisis and their work, and generally explore the emotional element of what is so frequently discussed as a “scientific” issue. This project faces some hurdles, as my hope would be to conduct these interviews in person, and ideally have a skilled videographer tape them. (If you have video taking or editing skills, and are interested in getting involved please contact me!)
  • I finished reading Speth’s “Bridge at the End of the World” and will be posting some thoughts on that book this week. I will particularly focus on the psychological dimensions of economic growth, corporations, and the idea of “transforming consciousness” and how therapists tackle these issues. Please feel free to join the conversation!

This is all very exciting, so please bear with me for the reduced posting. I look forward very much to the time (in less than a year!) When I earn my PhD and am able to focus, full-time, on fighting climate change!

 

 

New Ads!

I thought that having some advertisements might help spread the word about this blog.  I had sharing on Facebook in mind when I made them, but they could be used elsewhere too. So, let me know what you think. And, as always, I  appreciate people posting and helping me grow!

**Also, if someone with tech knowledge can help me post these ads in a way that will make sharing on fb/ twitter easier, please let me know. I would love to do that.

 

Worried about

 

Feeling helpless

 

depressed about the future?

State of the Blog Part 1: Blog Goals and Strategy

Intro

Several commentators have noted recently that, while I have plenty of critique for 350, Klein, Romm, and the climate cynics who have given up hope, I have not taken aim at fossil fuel companies, climate change denying Congress people, corruption in the US political system, or the cancerous doctrine of eternal economic growth.

“Who is the enemy?” One commenter asked—it seems like you think it’s the cynics! Another agreed, “Evil ignored is evil condoned.”

Dear readers, there is a method to my madness. In this post, I will discuss the goals and strategy for this blog and my thoughts on where the movement is at.

Goals

This blog has a singular goal: to fight climate change. To my mind, the only way humanity will have a chance of continuation is if we build, very quickly, a Human Climate Movement that fundamentally alters the national mood, waking the public up from their denial of the imminent threat of climate change. This movement must gain the political clout to launch a WWII style and level response against climate change.

Though I remain open to (and highly desirous of) alternative strategy proposals, I have yet to hear one articulated which would give humanity a fighting chance. Most groups and writers do not articulate comprehensive plans, making it impossible to evaluate or collaborate on strategy proposals. Will 350’s efforts on Keystone and divestment solve climate change? Clearly not. They would argue that they are just getting started. But I think they have an obligation to their membership, and to humanity, to engage in an open conversation about strategy. The Citizen’s Climate Lobby does articulate their plan, which relies heavily on conventional lobbying tactics, and aims to institute a carbon tax and end fossil fuel subsidies. I have serious doubts about their ability to succeed with their tactics, even worse, doubts that their advocacy is too modest to stop climate change, even if they were to succeed. I am also skeptical of any effort that advertises its “grass roots participation” and “leaderlessness” as major benefits, without explaining why this lack of organization is strategically beneficial. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, until I hear a plan that gives humanity a better chance of survival, I’m sticking with a WWII advocacy. I think that I may not have articulated well how radical of an advocacy this is, or how significant the implications of a WWII advocacy are for capitalism, fossil fuel companies, and others who are willfully lying to humanity, leading us down the road to destruction.

Remember, before WWII, were the 1930s and the Great Depression, still the period in US history in which wealth was most unequally distributed (though we are getting ever closer to repeating it.) The New Deal helped, of course, but it was really WWII that turned conditions in the US around, ushering in a multi-decade era of relative equality (See table from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities).

Wealth inequality

 

During some years in WWII, the United States devoted 36% of GDP (!) to the war effort, or the equivalent of 5.6 trillion dollars, per year. The highest income tax bracket rose to 94%. The government intervened in industry in a way that has never happened before or since in the United States. After Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 7th, 1941, the United States focused with a singular purpose on winning the war. Economic concerns were secondary and consumer luxury was not considered at all. Shared sacrifice was assumed. As historian Doris Kearns Goodwin writes:

In the summer of 1942, the accustomed rhythms of daily life were disrupted in every factory, business, and home by the institution of rationing and price control… By and large, American housewives accepted the system of rationing cheerfully. When butter became scarce, they added a yellow dye to margarine to make it look like butter. When sugar was cut back, they substituted corn syrup and saccharin in cakes and cookies. They planted Victory Gardens in their backyards. They saved kitchen fats and exchanged them at the butcher shop for points. …By the end of November, government regulations extended into almost every aspect of American life. Shortages of iron and steel prohibited the manufacture of a wide range of consumer items, including electric refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, sewing machines, electric ranges, washing machines and ironers, radios and phonographs, lawn mowers, waffle irons, and toasters. The use of stainless steel was prohibited in tableware. Shoe manufacturers were ordered to avoid double soles and overlapping tips; lingerie makers were limited to styles without ruffles, pleating, or full sleeves. (P 355, 394)

The war effort came first. Capitalism came second. Everything else came second. Citizens from across society were actively engaged in the war effort, and major steps in equality were made in multiple spheres racially, between the sexes, and economically. With the shameful exception of Japanese internment, it was a time of major progress on several fronts. 

So, a WWII advocacy has, nestled within it, an equality agenda, a citizen engagement agenda, an equality agenda and a very strong regulatory agenda.  There is also a justice agenda. During a war, people who side with the enemy or undermine the war effort are traitors. Which is a crime. Until a war is declared, their acts against humanity are not, technically, actionable crimes.

Strategy

I write for a singular purpose, to build a social movement that brings a Climate War about. To wake up humanity to the danger that we are in; to the fact that we are under attack, are in great danger, and desperately need to fight back. I will write scathing pieces about fossil fuel executives, crooked politicians, and other traitors to humanity if I viewed it as beneficial to this purpose. At the moment, however, I do not believe it is.  At the moment, the strategic imperative is to build the movement, to empower the movement, to organize the movement, and to unite the movement.

All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. If I was writing in German in the 1930s and 40s, I wouldn’t target Nazi’s for criticism. I wouldn’t view that as productive. I would have made clear that I considered their actions evil, but I would aim my criticism at ordinary Germans, at complicity. I would attempt to rally a resistance.

In this case, all it takes for evil to triumph is for good people to continue their current protestations against evil. To continue talking about evil rather than organizing in order to effectively fight it.  The environmental movement has failed. Not to blame them for this failure: We have all failed, the environmentalists at least tried! Every political party, every organized religion, every corporation, and every individual has failed to stop our planet’s relentless march towards catastrophe. We need to recognize that failure, learn from it, and regroup. I doubt very much that I can change the minds of Rex Tiller, Exxon Mobile CEO or Jim Inhofe. But I do think I can contribute to planning, organizing, and growing the Human Climate Movement. Though I am predominantly addressing people already deeply concerned about climate change, I am not “preaching to the choir.” I am attempting to turn people who are deeply concerned into people who are deeply active.  I am attempting to help people who are already active think through their activities to achieve maximal results. I am attempting to unity disparate factions of the Human Climate Movement. I am trying to turn “the choir” into an army. I hope you join me.

 

Let’s Read Together: A Bridge at the End of the World

For almost a year, I have been in an intensive climate change book group. Maybe a “study group” is a better word for it. We  read a book a week, about climate change, social movements, denial, US politics, and so forth, and shared notes and discussion. It has been an enriching and enlightening experience for all participants, and the cornerstone of my climate change education. Thinking about these issues, together, fosters a sense of hope and fellowship. It also builds a repertoire of shared understanding that aid communication and collaboration.

Maybe a similar model could work for this blog? I would like to try.  I am going to now read Gus Speth’s  “The Bridge at the End of the World.” It looks fantastic, with important content and accessible writing. I will read it over the course of 2 weeks. I invite all blog readers to join me in reading and discussing this book. Or, if you have already read it, look over it again to remind yourself. My hope is that  sharing an intellectual focus and educational process will aid and bolster our collaborations.

Everyone, let me know what you think of this idea, and if you will join me in reading this or future books!

** Thank you to Lennart for calling my attention to Gus Speth by posting this outstanding article.

 

Update: Romm Responds!

I am honored and thrilled to see that Joe Romm had responded to my “Couple’s Therapy” article!

Romm’s work has been very meaningful to me; his work has been a cornerstone of my climate education. So seeing my banner image with his byline was extremely exciting for me!

I am going to mull all this over and write a response this weekend 🙂

I also want to respond in-depth to some reader comments re: “who is the enemy?” So that’s on deck…