One way we are celebrating Earth Day here in Vermont is by announcing the four winners of our "Changing Climate Change" grant challenge.
About 6 weeks ago, we put out a "Request for Proposals", looking for organizations working on the issue of climate change in four specific areas: threats to coffee-growing communities, transportation-related emissions, building political will, and empowering individual action. We are thrilled to announce the winners here today!
Threats to Coffee-Growing Communities: CIAT/CRS
We selected the proposal submitted jointly by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, www.ciat.cgiar.org ) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS, www.crs.org ). They will be using their grant to forecast the impacts of climate change in coffee-growing communities and help smallholder coffee farmers identify, evaluate, and implement adaptation strategies.
Based on the latest climate change science, we believe this project has the potential to make a seminal contribution to both the developing world and the coffee industry. The project will help coffee-growing communities and the coffee industry understand and plan for the effects of climate change on both livelihoods and supply chains. The work will directly address adaptation for coffee-growing communities in a participatory manner.
Transportation-Related Emissions: New England Transportation Institute
New England Transportation Institute ( http://norwichvt.net ), in partnership with the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center ( http://www.uvm.edu/~transctr/ ), will conduct an in-depth analysis of transportation patterns in the rural Northeast to help inform policy-makers on the likely adoption and ultimate effect of different transportation strategies on greenhouse gas emissions levels.
We believe this analysis models the kind of data-based research on transportation patterns that can ultimately make the transition to more responsible transportation methods possible more quickly. This analysis will provide important and powerful information for policy-makers in rural New England and its methodology will be replicable in other regions of the country and the world.
Building Political Will: Ceres
Ceres ( www.ceres.org ) will mobilize its business and investor partners to make the economic case for bold U.S. climate and energy legislation. These leaders will take their message to legislators and the media.
Through its network, Ceres is uniquely positioned to bring business, investors, and civil society together to deliver a coherent and credible message on climate and the economy to our legislators. Ceres' approach is also rooted in consensus science. As a business, we felt this was the strongest and most appropriate voice we could bring to bear on the political debate over emissions, clean energy, and the addressing both the causes and impacts of climate change.
Empowering Individual Action: National Parks Conservation Association
The National Parks Conservation Association ( www.npca.org ) will encourage and empower national park visitors to "Do Your Part" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the use of an online carbon calculator and social network. Outreach will include dozens of national parks and their local communities, the web, and hundreds of schools.
This project will drive action by connecting with individuals around an expressed interest - usage of the National Park System - and providing the information, tools and community necessary to help support long-term emissions-reducing behavior change. With nearly 300 million visitors to the national parks system annually, this project provides tremendous leverage in its ability to reach vast numbers of people in a meaningful and relevant way.
As a reader of this blog, you probably know we promoted the grant challenge on our network site at www.JustMeans.com, inviting organizations to submit synopses of their ideas and encourage their friends, relatives, and constituencies to comment on the proposals.
We had three goals in mind when we decided to promote the challenge on JustMeans:
- Generate conversation – conversation about climate change, the submission ideas, and our company’s actions in support of our commitment to the environment;
- Use online tools to build a social network of stakeholders interested in staying connected with us on issues of social and environmental responsibility; and
- Provide an input to our decision-making process
The challenge was as successful as we could have hoped! The JustMeans site received more than one million page hits, over 100,000 unique visitors, and created an online social network of nearly 30,000 stakeholders interested in “Changing Climate Change.” And more importantly, we found four great organizations, each of which will receive $200,000 over the next 5 years to contribute to fighting climate change.
Check out the challenge page at www.justmeans.com/challenge/climate or follow us on twitter: @brewbetterworld
Happy Earth Day!!