A Sneak Peak of a New Project
Turning the first shovel of earth on The Zero Percent Club
Hello! Welcome back to Into the Details.
When I first started this blog, I did not have a clear single idea of how I wanted to be spending my time. But I figured if I tried enough different things, one clear motivating concept would show up – and it has.
Over the past few posts I’ve enjoyed researching and writing about climate & energy. What I’ve enjoyed even more has been the numerous one-on-one discussions which have resulted as folks come with their own ideas and are happy to have someone to conference with.
It has made me wish I could do a deep dive into each new technology, policy piece, or climate business idea which begins making waves - but there’s no way I could have time for that. But I can do something better: write a software platform — and build a community around it — which enables people to turn their own climate frustration into high-impact action on climate change.
Three Hurdles of Personal Action
There are three major hurdles which must be crossed before someone takes action on climate change. And because almost everyone uses fossil fuels to heat their home and move them around our planet, almost everyone must face these hurdles in the coming years.
Social acceptance: Will my neighbor or family judge me? And will I have the facts I need to stand up to scrutiny if necessary?
Time: Do I have time to learn what the problem is and how to fix it?
Finances: Can I afford the changes? What will I be giving up?
The Zero Percent Club
The Club fosters a community base which starts with social acceptance. When taking steps towards personal net-zero, it is easiest to move ahead with those who are already mission-aligned, rather than moving forward alone, or by trying to convince some who happens to be nearby, but not care as much. The Zero Percent Club will facilitate this by allowing the creation of small “accountability groups” of 5-10 people to support one-another as they learn about climate change, their impact, and their personal solutions.
Many “personal infrastructure” projects are major projects like buying a new car, with the added difficulty of an entirely new set of evaluation metrics. Here we speak in terms of kWh instead of mpg, CO2 efficiency instead of fuel efficiency, and investment instead of cost. Both technology and regulation are changing rapidly, highly localized, and filled with mis-information and the fear of mis-information. In many cases, the best way to navigate these challenges is directly with the help of someone you know and trust who can share the load, coupled with access to the best resources available.
We want the work you put in to have the largest decarbonizing impact possible. This can be done by showcasing your progress towards zero and helping others along the same journey. We’ll have a personal tracker you can share with friends, encourage members to write guides as contributions to a common knowledge base, and will even have lawn signs available to showcase your mission and the work you’ve done.
Finally, changing personal infrastructure can sometimes be prohibitively expensive or require ownership of a residence. Our mission is to include everyone with a mission of decarbonization, even if they don’t have the means to do all of the upgrades, or even any of the upgrades, in rapid order.
There are many ways in which a group of mission-aligned people, especially when sufficiently localized, can have a much larger impact that any one person could alone. Whether this means changing banks, having solar pay for itself, or showing up at your town council meeting with a voice for — and knowledge of — decarbonization, there are ways for everyone to make a dent.
Enough talk - let’s do a demo of the tracker. Here I show an example of what a personal tracker can look like.
That’s it for now! A big shout-out to Ben Eidelson and Jordan Angerosa for numerous brainstorming sessions around this concept.
Next we’re getting together a “Pod Zero” – the first group of folks interested in decarbonizing together, and we’d love to hear your thoughts. What project would you want to learn about or share your work on the site was live?
(P.S. You can also check out the placeholder site at thezeropercentclub.org)