States, Players & Specialized Teams

In the Race to Zero Carbon, who, or what is actually racing?

chat Posted Dec 03, 2016 by Rezwan | Category : Teams Formalizing
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Photo by Frank McKenna

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From all of us

With your help, Footprint to Wings is turning the Race to Zero Carbon into a National Pastime. This means exactly what it sounds like. We are setting up an actual, televised,* formal race between all fifty states, with coaches and referees and a trophy.

But who or what is actually racing?

Let’s look at the rules.


The Rules are simple.

Race to Zero Carbon:

The first US state to achieve a net zero carbon economy, with the best quality of life, wins.

Let’s break that down.

The first US…


What is a STATE?

Whatever it is, There are fifty of them in the US. And you know which one you live in.

Not in the US? Click here.

How does a STATE race?

YOU are the PLAYER.

Your STATE is your TEAM as a whole.

The Player (That’s you!) - the individual, voter, consumer - is the core, indivisible unit of the TEAM.

All action is taken by PLAYERS. All the action of all the players ADDS UP to the State score

The State is animated by all its players. It moves as the players move.

There is no play without a player.  No action, no decision. The drive, the will, the commitment, the POWER, all comes from the players, whether you realize it or not.

The power comes from you.


Now you may be saying,

What power?
I don’t feel powerful.
I don’t feel like the mover of a State team.
I don’t feel like my State could get to zero carbon.
There’s certainly not much I can do about it.

Here’s a secret.

The power does come from you, the player.

But the effectiveness comes from teamwork and strategy.

Without teamwork and strategy, power is squandered

Players often oppose each other. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes by accident. We churn around, but cancel each other out. Then we get frustrated and feel we don’t have Power.

photo by Geoff Scott

But we do.

We’re just not coordinating it well. 

This is normal. Most of us tend to squander our power. We could all improve on teamwork and strategy.

That’s why Footprint to Wings exists. We’re here to coach you through the conflicts to better coordinate plays. To coach Players, States, and everything in between.

Specialized Teams

Between the Players (you!) and the whole State (everybody!) are SPECIALIZED TEAMS.

It’s like football. In football, the whole Team - made up of players - is broken down into the Offense Team, the Defense Team, the Field Goal Kicking Team. Different specialized teams. All playing for the same main Team.

Likewise, in the race to zero carbon, there are many Specialized Teams.

Any time a group of people coordinates to tackle something specific, that’s a specialized team.

Specialized Team Example:

Are you organizing a protest to block a pipeline? You’re taking part in a fossil defense play and are a de facto fossil defense team player.

Most people (PLAYERS!) -  are part of multiple specialized teams.

Specialized Teams can form around groups of people, for example, households, clubs, churches, businesses, cities, counties and so forth.

They can also form around strategies or plays, such as solar, wind, passive housing, nuclear, lightbulb innovation, you name it! Of course, each of these can be further broken down as well. Team Solar has “Team Residential Rooftop”, “Team Photovoltaic Power Plant”, “Team Concentrated Solar Power”, and many other teams revolving around different aspects of the solar game.

There are also crossover teams.
Team Storage would work with Team Solar and Team Electric Vehicle and so forth. Heads up, we are writing an awesome Zero Carbon Playbook to map out the range of plays, specialized teams and best ways to coordinate.

All the actions of all the specialized teams adds toward the STATE score.

Why US States?

Photo by Frank McKenna

Some people ask if the Race to Zero Carbon is limited to the 50 US States.

It is not. Other countries are most welcome!

We are starting with the United States of America because we live here. And of course, Americans are some of the world’s biggest consumers. If we can win a zero carbon economy here, with our American standard of living, we can win it anywhere.

Greetings, Citizens of other Countries, States and Provinces!

You (and your Nation-States) are hereby invited to compete in the Race to Zero Carbon!

Jump in. Let’s go! Contact us to help set up a formal international competition.

If you think you can beat the USA, fair warning: the USA is zero carbon competitive.

The state of New York has a lower carbon footprint than green Germany and California is on par.

We can beat you. We’re just getting warmed up.

Coordinating a State Level Race

Now that we know WHO (the Players of each State) and WHAT (the States) are racing to zero carbon:

About the Score

In the Race to Zero Carbon, scoring is everything. Without a compelling scoreboard, there is no way to win the race. A scoreboard is a platform of accountability. It connects the progress of individuals to the whole. It tracks cumulative impact.  A good scoreboard has the overall score, and also serves up other metrics useful for understanding the game.

Scoring in the Race to Zero Carbon revolves around achieving 1) a “net zero carbon economy” with 2) the “best quality of life.”

These are both complex things to measure, let alone agree on. 

The job of the Scoreboard Committee is to come up with a broadly acceptable scoring protocol and standardized metrics. It may take them some time to do this.

In the meantime, we need a simple “baseline metric” to help us get started on evaluating and coaching the teams. 

Baseline Metric

Good news! There is a lot of data at the State level to help you evaluate and coach your State. And there is one important indicator that can quickly tell you:

This indicator is the State’s “Emissions Per Person” number. (Why?)

Do you know your State’s number?

You need to know this number. Like knowing your height or age. Like knowing your batting average if you were a baseball player. Coaching begins and ends with this number. 

This is the number we use to say that New York has lower emissions than Germany.

Please do read about the importance of Emissions Per Person. It’s nifty.

Photo by Alejandro Alvarez


There are a lot of people who want to put the kibosh on a State v. State Race to Zero Carbon. They say it’s too ambitious. What do you think? “Is a STATE scale race too ambitious?” Check out the post, and share your thoughts.

Green Light

Is this an approach you agree with? Become a backer! The Race to Zero Carbon needs you! We can’t do it without you. 

No plays without a Player.


It is the end of this post.

Thanks You for reading this far! 

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

To zero carbon and beyond.


The Tablecloth Challenge
What? New York emissions are lower than Germany?

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