The Race to Zero Carbon Will be Televised

How would you broadcast the Race to Zero Carbon?
How do you broadcast a national pastime?

chat Posted Oct 02, 2016 by Rezwan | Category : Announcers
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Photo by Yvette de Wit

National Pastime

At Footprint to Wings, we are turning the “Race to Zero Carbon” into a national pastime.

When we say “National Pastime”, we mean National Pastime.

We mean the whole country, into it. Everyone. Heart and soul. All over the details. The plays, the numbers. Engaged in the drama of it all. Talking about it at the kitchen table, the watercooler. At bars and barbecues.

There is a model for how this works and that’s Football.

Football is a rough sport involving running a ball down a field.

The NFL took this sport, and turned it into a National ritual. With dramatic entrances, dramatic coverage and a super finale at the end of each year.

At every step of the way, the football journey is televised, analyzed, lived and re-lived, often in super slow motion.

The NFL is impressive. They turned football into a national pastime by clarifying the game. By embracing television and any technology that magnifies how the game is viewed, understood, played and officiated.

They show you the game without shying away from numbers and technical subjects. In fact, they serve them up over and over, in slow motion and from different angles.

They serve them with beer ads.

They help you see the field of play and what needs to happen, on and off the field, to make the plays work. They’re constantly telling you the score. And letting you know: “He could go all the way.”

Can National Pastime technology be transferred?

Could this approach be applied to the Race to Zero Carbon?

Football is a game where you run a ball down a field.

The race to zero carbon is a lot like that. It’s a game where your whole state runs your carbon footprint - down to zero and sequesters it in the fossil fuel end zone.

Break it down…

Behind football, behind the fans and the players and the teams and the officials and the announcers, there is a framework.

The NFL didn’t just hope Football would become a national pastime, they organized to make it that way, and they keep reorganizing to keep it that way.

Likewise, we are organizing to turn the Race to Zero Carbon into a national pastime and we’re hoping you’ll join us and help shape the framework.

Everything on the Table

It’s like this. Our framework takes everything we know about getting to zero carbon, and puts it on the table. All the plays, on the table. You got your renewables, nuclear, conservation, energy efficiency, lifestyle change, geoengineering, financing, and more. All these plays, we drill into them, we look at all the options, all the obstacles, and we coach. And there’s a lot more than that.

We’re taking all that nitty gritty, data, zero carbon strategy and marrying it with national pastime technology, with player psychology, motivation and performance coaching.

Our framework is inclusive, trans partisan, State v. State. Open to red state plays, blue state plays, and wild card plays.

A Common Lingo

This is a lot of information and strategy to process.

To be successful, we need to create a common way of talking about it, announcing it, analyzing it for a broader audience. We need to normalize the language.

Broadcast Formats

There are a variety of formats that can easily be adapted to telling story of a 50 state race to zero carbon as it unfolds.

Zero Carbon Sports Center

For a humorous example of adapting sports style announcing to something different, check out this Key and Peele video, “Teaching Center”:

Reality Show

The reality show format could work for exploring the drama of competing ideas, strategies and the people who champion them.

Weather Report Style

A brief recap of the progress of racing to zero carbon can be integrated into the nightly news in each state, weather report style. This type of reporting can shift the conversation from vague (“Let’s use renewables!”) to specific (see “transcript” below), and clarify who has to do what to make things happen. 

Note: “Let’s use renewables” may seem specific, but ask anyone (including many professionals in the field) about how many wind turbines their state would need to achieve a zero carbon economy, and most have no idea.

Now, imagine your nightly zero carbon announcer, talking like a weather anchor with the state in the background, and various images and clips popping up as they talk:

“Good evening New Jersey!

Tonight.  As you know, the “100% renewable only” playbook calls for 9,401 offshore wind turbines in our state. That’s 70 turbines per mile along the entire coast.  The Bureau of Ocean Energy Managment has confirmed the maximum area set aside [indicates area on map] will fit only 3,400. Meanwhile, progress on the contracts for the first 600 have stalled over recent NIMBY opposition. 

Let’s go to the folks on “Team Wind” now, working to win over the community, and get buy in for maxing out that 3400. 
[Clip with interviews about a recent action]

Meanwhile “Team Community Geothermal” and “Team Nuclear” are looking to make up the shortfall and advancing their substitute energy supply side plays in the following locations [indicate on maps] and facing financing and NIMBY opposition.
[Clip of interviews]

To support any of these energy supply side plays in progress [go here, here, here]. To oppose, go [here] and describe/find your preferred alternative.

Meanwhile in Demand Side plays, Team Passive House Retrofit just had a win at the legislature with an assist from Team PACE Financing. Players, avail yourself of their programs [here], and register your support w/ policy makers and corporations [here and here].

Tallying up the score today:  All of these activities combined address ____% of the total energy field decarbonized. That’s ___% of the way to zero carbon. And that leaves ___% shortfall.

Now over to Barbara on the car electrification field and some great news to ease your range anxiety. Barbara?

But wait! You say. That’s not very entertaining. How could that become a pastime? I admit,the weather report example is a bit dry. I feel that as the game scales up, as more and more turbines go up, or nuclear is proposed, or rain barrels roll away - there will be a lot of material to play with. And remember, most of the energy comes from the narrative, the personalities and passions of the players. The grind and struggle and progress and retreat up and down the field.

Like football.

Drivin’ my life away
Literature to Support the Race to Zero Carbon


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