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The path to climate prosperity

From LinkedIn

Category: climate change

2017-07-02

Authors: Dylan Husted, Quentin Prideaux, and Tiger Mar

I just graduated from the #1 college for entrepreneurs - Babson College in Massachusetts. After completing four amazing years I’m now looking into my future, a future deeply affected by the dangers of global climate change. In doing so I've found a new book: Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming which cuts a line in the sand that says:

‘Here you go, humanity. This is exactly how you can reverse the current and prevent the future effects from climate change. Cut the BS. The path is clear.’

But here’s the thing about clear paths – you still have to actually walk them. Imagine walking a long road through the desert wearing snowshoes and a thick coat under the blazing sun. However clear your path is, quitting looks like the best option. This is what fighting climate change can feel like, even with a clear guidebook like Drawdown in your pocket.
Now, take off the snowshoes and winter coat, and walk that same path with your closest friends. And imagine by walking this path, you end up improving the world for you, your children, and grandchildren (who we call 'Ohno'). You would enjoy the process, and be proud of the result. Starting down that path would be a manageable challenge, which would get easier as you built skills and formed new habits.
This is what SaveOhno does for people who want to take action on climate change. Using behavioral science and social gaming, we have created the most flexible and robust climate action platform in the world, and thousands are already using it.
The platform is open to anyone, absolutely free. Strategically though, we focus on bringing college students and alumni together with impactful nonprofits to create a cleaner, healthier world. Our 20+ nonprofit partners design custom campaigns users can join, where users are responsible for specific personal actions. Users then submit image proof of their actions and earn Ohno Points for them. The points are used to compete against other teams in month-long competitions.
So how do you solve the problem (other than scraping by for years until both user groups hopefully scale up enough)? You hack it. Pick one user group, identify a key partner that could fuel near-instantaneous scale, create value for that partner, and then focus all marketing efforts on the other user group.
The SaveOhno platform went live at four universities this spring: Wellesley College, Harvard Extension School, Middlebury College, and Babson College (for a second time). In total, 2100+ students generated over 110,000 pageviews, 5300 petition signatures, and 2900 actions with our partners in just 20 days.
A host of impactful actions were taken that cover many of Drawdown’s approaches, and I’ll zone in on one: plant-rich diets, which Drawdown ranked #4 out of 80 ways we can reverse global warming. At Wellesley College, 297 students jumped all over the ‘Meatless Any Day’ vegan and vegetarian actions on our platform, generating over 950 plant-based meals, with over 750 (~78%) verified by the SaveOhno community. Once a user joined a Meatless Any Day campaign, they chose plant-based over meat for lunch or dinner an average of 8 times throughout the 9 days these actions were live. That’s not easy – any meat-eater (or behavioral psychologist) can attest to that.
Through this SaveOhno campaign, Wellesley users chose to keep roughly 1.5 metric tons of CO2 out of the atmosphere. Let’s say the platform scaled to the same amount of users as Change.org in five years, and the numbers for plant-based eating held roughly the same. From just this one campaign in an online social game, 640 million meals could go veggie, reducing global CO2 emissions by 905,000 tons in under a month. That’s the equivalent of 75,000 American households going completely fossil fuel free for an entire year.
And if you don’t really see how massive the potential for change is, the Meatless Any Days are just 2 of the campaigns in the SaveOhno platform, from hundreds in our past and millions in our future.

Together, we can reach Drawdown. Together, we can Save Ohno.

The Author

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Dylan Husted
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Founder of SaveOhno, Rails developer and wannabe kickboxer