Fighting climate change, with crowd funding and Google Hangouts

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Lauren Wood is a climate change activist who was selected as a fellow for Hero Hatchery.

A young San Francisco couple, Ryan Kushner and Amanda Ravenhill, are trying out a new approach to climate change activism that they hope will ultimately reach thousands of people via online videos and interactive web-based trainings.

Called Hero Hatchery, the ambitious project launched earlier this week. Celebrity-status environmentalists such as Bill McKibben, head of 350.org, and Tim DeChristopher, who made headlines for throwing a monkey wrench into a Bureau of Land Management auction, will lead free weekly online trainings on climate change, administered via Google Hangout, as part of the effort.

Concurrently with the massive open online training, they’re hoping to generate wind in the sails of a queer climate activist, Lauren Wood, who worked alongside other climate activists to start an organization called Peaceful Uprising in Southern Utah and has been designated as a Hero Hatchery fellow. When not working as a restaurant server to make ends meet, Wood spends her days organizing against the expansion of mining operations in Southern Utah. She got started through support work for DeChristopher, who spent two years in prison for derailing a federal land auction by bidding on parcels that were about to be opened up to mining.

An underlying goal of Hero Hatchery, Kushner said in a recent phone interview, is to reframe a debate that’s all-too-often controlled by PR strategists hired by corporate oil and gas interests. To this end, the plan is to use crowd funding to generate enough money for the fellowship, and to hire their very own professional-grade PR machine.

Kushner and Ravenhill met at the Presidio Graduate School, a San Francisco institution, where they earned MBAs in sustainable business. They traveled to Washington, D.C. last year and got arrested at the Keystone XL pipeline protests outside the White House, alongside activists from 350.org.

Their approach to activism seems to be less about staying at a public hearing till the wee hours to try and halt a mining permit from being issued, and more about using laptops to generate a buzz that can be converted into a form of popular pressure. There are thousands of environmental organizations doing grassroots organizing nationwide; rather than honing in on a specific issue, the Hero Hatchery team seeks to position itself as a kind of megaphone to amplify existing work. Kushner likes to use the word “elevate” when describing how Hero Hatchery will lend assistance to Wood, whom he hopes will be the first of many fellows.

Wood is the daughter of two river guides, and grew up rafting in Southern Utah, where she spent five years as a river guide in her own right. Now, her organization is focused on challenging open pit mining operations that have broken ground at PR Springs on the Tavaputs Plateau, which sits near the top of the drainage to the Green and Colorado river systems.

“The Green River and the Colorado River: they’re the front lines,” she told us, speaking by phone from Salt Lake City, where she was born and raised. Her connection to the rivers brought “this climate change problem into my heart and my gut,” she said.

She said she’d seen river-rafting companies that could no longer operate because the water is running so low, due to drought conditions. Mining operations will only consume more water, making the problem worse.

But as a Hero Hatchery fellow, Wood has bigger plans than just telling the story of what's happening in her own backyard. She wants to get the word out about a wide variety of campaigns focused on climate change as a way to help support a more cohesive national climate movement.

“I think what I’m most excited about with this project is acting as the veins in a body, and acting as the interconnection between people who want to get involved and don’t know how,” she said.  “This movement is increasingly interconnected. I want to be able to go around the country and talk to different communities about what it’s going to take to build a national movement.”

Comments

We contend that it is merely a manufactured crisis to try and achieve some narrow, partisan ideological agenda.

Posted by Guesty on Oct. 11, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

Believing in science is like proving religion.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 7:19 am

While many might agree that the weather is changing, they disagree about why, how much and whether it matters.

It's not clear to me that crisis-mongering over the odd degree here and there is any more valid than the Y2K debacle a few years ago.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 9:16 am

What is important is that you believe that global warming and climate change are unsubstantiated scientifically, right?

Have you ever considered moving in with Mary Cooper, Sheldon's mom?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 9:37 am

and sincerely believe that the evidence points to some type of pattern of weather change. they cannot in fact definitively attribute it to human activity. Correlation is not causation.

Nor can they predict what changes will happen in the future not whether such changes might reverse themselves.

IOW, they cannot isolate the change caused by human activity from the much larger changes that occur naturally over the millenia, and always will.

And that wouldn't matter except that vested interested are trying to railroad policy changes based on the idea that there is a problem and that technology cannot solve it.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 10:22 am

Do you believe in life after love?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 10:33 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 11:08 am

pro or con, over climate crisis denial

not one of them is worth reading

Posted by barrier on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 3:33 pm

Well fortunately for advocates at least 97.1% of scientists agree that climate change is induced by humans. That is of peer reviewed literature. It's been proven time and time again

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 2:35 am

it really matters. I remain unconvinced.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2013 @ 5:09 am

Yes, they are debating whether the effects are going to be cataclysmic or simply catastrophical. The debate over whether it is happening and whether it is a serious problem is long over.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

behaving exactly as we were before i.e. consuming vast amounts of energy by driving, shopping, vacations, heating and working for businesses that consume massive amounts of energy and resources.

You will only have won the debate when people change their behavior, and not when people simply nod and smile at you.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 05, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

If you cannot see the changes in the seasons and the temperatures you must live in a totally artificial environment, inside maybe. There are obvious changes to the amount or birds from your and my youth, not to mention the death of Monarch butterflies, Tigers, Great Apes, and numerous fish species. You have to shut your eyes and ears and your mind not to believe in global climate change.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 5:42 pm

It always has changed and it always will.

I am not buying this climate change crock as it is nothing more than a pretext to try and fight pro-growth polices that we need for prosperity.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 6:03 pm

And do you still think the Earth is flat?

Posted by David from Montana on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:47 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:00 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by upkh on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:29 pm

I do hope that comments from the deniers will simply be deleted and no time will be wasted responding to them, as what we need to do is move forward. Such hard core deniers cannot be persuaded by the evidence.

Posted by Tenney Naumer on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 6:49 am

"Such hard core deniers cannot be persuaded by the evidence."

LOL. Like the fact that there has been no appreciable global warming in sixteen years?

That evidence?

Who is the denier here?

Posted by LOL barrier! on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 7:35 am

Not true. Stop listening to Fox News. The RATE of warming has slowed, which is not unexpected in a complex system. But the planet continues to warm at an unnatural rate.

Posted by David from Montana on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:50 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:01 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by upkh on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:30 pm

Not true. Stop listening to Fox News. The RATE of warming has slowed, which is not unexpected in a complex system. But the planet continues to warm at an unnatural rate.

Posted by David from Montana on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:51 pm

It's terrible when people deny the Medieval Warm Period!

Posted by LOL barrier! on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 7:41 am

fascist nation where opposition to the prevailing house view is quite simply suppressed and censored.

While in the west we give asylum, and sometimes even Nobel peace prizes, to those who have the courage to say no when all the sheeple are saying yes.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 9:15 am

What is Bill McKibben's carbon footprint?

Posted by marcos on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 9:41 am

You're kidding right? The guy is constantly flying across the country to one rally or another.

If he seriously thought that we had to reduce CO2 to 350 ppm (i.e. completely deindustrialize society), he would refuse to leave Vermont, and would only videoconference into events elsewhere in the country. At least that would be making a real statement.

I'll start believing that it is a crisis, when people like McKibben and private-jet Gore start acting as if it a crisis.

Posted by LOL barrier! on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 9:59 am

But it doesn't count if it's a plane that I am using.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 10:23 am

Your plane trip to Las Vegas for the weekend is unacceptable, since you are Killing The Planet.

My plane trip to Bali for an environmental conference is, however, perfectly fine, because I am Saving The Planet.

Posted by LOL barrier! on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 10:34 am

Progressive hypocrisy in action again. Just like with nuclear power. They're opposed to Fukushima, but they'll gladly take radiation therapy for cancer. They're both radiation, so either they're both good or they're both bad. One or the other. Which is it?

Posted by Matlock on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 10:54 am

are complaining about the lack of rental homes and opposing the construction of new homes - both which conveniently raise the value of their own RE investment.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2013 @ 11:19 am

It is a crisis that celebrity nonprofiteers like McKibben and Benjamin jet around the planet without a second thought while purporting to be environmentalists.

It is almost the American exceptionalist white person's burden, that we and only we can solve the world's problems and we can only do that by showing up in person to manifest and dispense our benevolent munificence.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 12:59 pm

burden, when they think that only their interventionist nanny-state over regulation can save us from ourselves.

But hey, those planes are flying and polluting regardless of whether I am on them or not. I don't begrudge activists the odd trip to a resort. God knows their lives are miserable enough to surely warrant the odd break.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 1:42 pm

An odd flight for a vacation or to visit family is not the same thing as jet set Bill McKibbin and Medea Benjamin's carbon footprints.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 6:21 pm

in Mexico is more justified than trying to save the planet.

Marcos, you are becoming increasingly bitter. How's the toxic cleanup in the gas station your condo overlooks coming on? I've been wondering.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 6:28 pm

How's 350.org doing now that CO2 is at 400ppm? Bill and Medea had better jet off somewhere else to fiddle while the planet burns. Hobnobbing with the progressive circus animals in exotic locales sure beats grassroots organizing.

Great to see the trolls pimping for the pimps, it really speaks for itself.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

Thanks for everyone's passion expressed here. These are important and sensitive issues, for us and our children and beyond.

Whether you believe the overwhelming majority of people that study the data on climate or not, I think we can all agree that human health is of utmost importance.

Helping font line communities that suffer from asthma and cancer is a major focus of our fellow, Lauren Wood's, work.

Contribute to her fellowship right now: www.herohatchery.org

Posted by Ryan Kushner on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 12:08 pm

Thank you for this post, Ryan. I completely agree. If you choose to stick your head in the sand and disagree with the IPCC and 97% of climate scientist about climate change - fine. (Personally, I think that's suicidal, but we'll let it go.) In the SHORT-term, there is more $$ to be made in renewable technologies (the sun, last I checked, wasn't running out of energy any time soon), and our air and water will be cleaner if we move away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. Our kids will be safer if more people bike and fewer people drive. Our food will be better if we support local agriculture and community gardens. There will be more jobs if we invest in local, small businesses rather than big-box stores and mega-corporations. There will be more $$ for things like education, health, and transportation if we stop subsidizing the already-massively-profitable oil companies. Our neighborhoods will be safer and more livable if we get to know each other around locally-based sustainability actions.The climate movement is about IMPROVING everyone's quality of life.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 11:32 am

is sticking it's oar in here.

Technology solved the other big scares, e.g. Y2K (a problem also caused by tech of course) and Peak Oil (solved by fracking, alternative fuels etc.)

Never under-estimate the ability of the human mind to control its environment.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

Fossil fuel depletion and climate change are real. Problems not yet solved.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

have more known reserves than we did 40 years ago, thansk to new discoveries and new technologies like fracking.

Climate change is also largely a myth. Although the weather is changing, it always has since the beginning of time. Sometimes it gets warmed and sometimes it gets cooler. But the natural cycles of climate dwarf the marginal effect of man.

I just don't buy these scare tactics.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

CO2 leaves the atmosphere very slowly. To return to 350ppm, we would all have to stop all carbon emissions and increase carbon lockup in trees. Say goodbye to manufactured goods, motorized transportation, hot water, electricity. Even burning wood for heat and light would have to be avoided.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 3:04 pm

deal with the consequences if and when they ever arrive.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 3:16 pm

Another clear case of heterosexual selfishness.

Posted by marcos on Oct. 14, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

Actually, they've already arrived.
http://www.whatilove.org/

Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 11:37 am
Posted by Guest on Oct. 17, 2013 @ 12:10 pm

The consequences are here. Open your eyes. A bunch of Koch trolls out on this site.

Posted by David from Montana on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 6:53 pm
Posted by Guest on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:02 pm

this is simply a barricade against trolls

it is a signpost to indicate to the reader that other anonymous posters on this thread are beginning to purposely diminish the conversation into repetitive deceptions, reactionary hyperbole, and/or petty, mean spirited personal attacks and irrelevant bickering

the barrier is put in place to signal that there is probably little point in reading more replies in the thread past this point

proceed at your own risk

Posted by ikdfjh on Nov. 04, 2013 @ 7:31 pm

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