CollaborateUp CEO’s Insights on the Latest Trends Shaping Our Industry

Where do the biggest challenges and opportunities lie for collective action to combat climate change and support conservation efforts? How does CollaborateUp’s work fit into this agenda, and what unique tools or approaches do we bring to the table?

Climate change is so big and so abstract I literally don’t know what to do about it — and I don’t think I’m alone. Most people simply can’t comprehend what to do about something so abstract, which is why so often discussions about it devolve into near-religious disagreements. To exit this trap and enter into a conversation where we can find solutions, we need to first contextualize the problem by geography, demography, psychography, etc. Instead of “climate change”, consider “the effects of extreme weather on ranchers in the Western United States,” or “the impacts of severe flooding on periurban populations in Subsaharan Africa.” By contextualizing the problem both the problem itself and potential solutions snap into focus and politics…well it doesn’t disappear but it becomes more manageable. Rather than debating abstract unknowables we can argue about specific approaches, tradeoffs, and potential compensations. 

To paraphrase US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, localities are the laboratories of democracy and we can already see how people working together at the local (as opposed to the national or global) level have made progress on climate-related issues.* Too often, we are presented with a false dichotomy: either we have economic prosperity or we protect the environment. We see every day how local communities are achieving both. In fact, we will co-host with Deseret News a series of SolutionLabs showcasing how Western Pragmatism has made progress on Water in the West and Smart Mining (request more information here). These SolutionLabs, one of the key features of the CollaborateUp Formula will provide participants with a hands-on, interactive setting to explore different policy, technology, and collective impact approaches to these tough problems and we will use these SolutionLabs to feature what already works, identify opportunities for scale, and look to ensure we achieve economic prosperity protecting our planet. 

We often hear people fear change. They do not. If change is in their interest, they run to it. People fear loss. In planning collective action for climate change, we must first contextualize the problem so that we can identify winners and losers, make tough tradeoff decisions, and figure out how to justly compensate those who stand to lose. Our Collaboration Canvas tool provides a step-by-step approach for contextualizing the problem: identifying who has the problem, who can help fix it, who stands to gain, and who stands to lose. It is but one tool in our free, online methodology toolbox that leaders looking to start a collective action plan can use.

*In New State Ice Co v Liebmann, US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote, “a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.”