The Clock is Ticking

Why you should get involved with Footprint to Wings right now + how we’re different from other organizations.

chat Posted Jun 01, 2017 by Rezwan | Category : Teams
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Photo by Veri Ivanova

First, Get involved:

1. Take the pledge.
2. Connect with your Local Chapter.

Because the clock is ticking.

The planet isn’t getting any cooler. Team Doom is dancing in Civilization’s end zone and we’re just playing out the clock.

We need to roll up our sleeves and get to work on strategy, short term tactics, Endgame and everything in between. Do you have what it takes to go all the way to zero carbon? Do you want to find out what it takes? Join us! We’re different. We have a winning gameplan.

Race to Zero Carbon: a new game in town

When we say “game,” we don’t mean to trivialize the challenge. A “game” is a competitive activity, governed by rules and metrics, ending in a definite result. It involves problem solving, teamwork and enthusiasm. It can be fun, but it isn’t trivial.

The stakes of this game in particular, are not trivial. The stakes of the Race to Zero Carbon are:

Serious coaches, serious players, welcome.

Q: How is Footprint to Wings Different from other Organizations?

Footprint to Wings is a startup organization with a mighty mission to turn the race to zero carbon into a national pastime and coach each state to win.

But this is not some sports gimmick stapled onto the climate bandwagon. This is not “gamification” whatever that is. We’re not going to give you some fake points for clicking on things. This is literally a 50 state race to a net zero carbon economy. Our scoreboard measures the real score. We don’t truck in token solutions.

As for how to actually win this game, we’re taking a disruptive, science, math and sports based approach. We begin with the endgame in mind.

We’re also more inclusive than most. Trans partisan. Unlike many environmental organizations that gloss over a limited set of solutions, we take an unflinching look at all the options. We put everything on the table. We do the math. If there is a play you are drawn to, we don’t tell you if it’s right or wrong, we just help you truly understand the play and what it would take to make it work. This will either help you form a deeper commitment and do what it takes, or help you pivot sooner to other solutions. Either way, it will accelerate the process. And we need to accelerate, because the clock is ticking.

We tackle “Solution Aversion” head on.

A key difference. Other organizations spend the bulk of their resources battling climate denial. It’s not denial that’s holding people back, it’s solution aversion. Most effort should be focused on exploring solutions. For example…

Climate Reality Project: Distracted by Denial

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project is an example of an organization that under-performs because it is more focused on tackling denial than solutions. Don’t get me wrong - this is an excellent organization. We hope to collaborate with them one day. Imagine our curriculum with their training platform. That said, the main zero carbon coaching tip for them is to focus on the solutions.

Right now, if you download their action kit, you see the word “solutions” a lot, but no specifics. And then a quick shift to focus on deniers.

“We speak up with relentless honesty about the solutions we have right in front of us and the forces standing in our way: the anti-science deniers and the wealthy corporations who put their own healthy profits from dirty fossil fuels before a healthy planet for all of us.”

Likewise, Climate Reality Leaders are trained to give presentations on climate change and solutions. I attended a presentation. It was polished and informative about climate change, but ended with a quick gloss over a limited set of solutions.

In their Roadmap to 100 you’re supposed to come up with a 100% renewable plan yourself. You aren’t given much information on how to do that - they suggest you hire an expert. The Roadmap also explicitly rejects carbon capture and storage (CCS) and nuclear energy.

Aren’t we supposed to reject those things?

That’s another difference. Given that Footprint to Wings focuses on solutions, we want to keep your options open. You will appreciate this once you fully understand what is involved in a 100% renewable energy solution. I feel like John Candy in Cool Runnings, clearing the room of the faint-hearted. Or at least making sure they know what they are signing up for. 100% renewable is technically possible, but it is harder than most people think. Don’t underestimate renewable NIMBY.

We want to make sure that whatever you choose, you choose with your eyes open.

As zero carbon coaches, we take “relentless honesty about the solutions” seriously. You need to have a clear understanding of the options before you accept or reject anything.

Luckily, there is an organization that has put detailed 100% renewable plans on the table for every state.

Solutions Project: 100% Renewables

The Solutions Project, brainchild of Mark Jacobson, Mark Ruffalo and Josh Fox, is where you go for 100% renewable energy plans for each of the 50 US states.

Visit their homepage and scroll down to a map of the US. Click on your state for the plan in poster format. Here’s the Solutions Project plan for New Jersey.

How we’re different: Most people don’t look beyond the poster. The poster is enough for them to say, “See, the solutions are there, must just be deniers keeping us from success.”  In contrast, we look under the hood and ask follow up questions.


The Solutions Project recommends that New Jersey get 55.5% of its energy from Offshore Wind. Footprint to Wings asks:

Spoiler alert, it’s 9,401 offshore wind turbines for New Jersey, estimated to cost $170 Billion Dollars. Given that the New Jersey coastline is 130 miles, 9,401 divided by 130 is (drumroll please):

72 wind turbines
per mile
down the entire coast

*FYI, the spreadsheets and data for the Solutions Project are available by following the link from the poster to the Stanford website, and choosing the correct excel document, then selecting the correct tab (“intermediate details by State”).

In other words, it’s not obvious. Footprint to Wings would put that information front and center.

72 Wind Turbines per Mile Down the Entire Coast?

As zero carbon coaches we have to think through each play. Is the Solutions Project 55% Offshore Wind play something the players (citizens, consumers, wildlife) of this state can get behind? Some questions to ask:

As you see, the decisions we face are not abstract. They involve major infrastructure that will pop up all around our State. In the event that citizens aren’t willing to have all this infrastructure, they will need to consider alternatives, such as nuclear power (15 new nuclear power plants, anyone? It’s not as bad as you think 😊) or major home renovation projects (passive house retrofits, statewide!) or lifestyle change.

Any way you look at it, it’s a huge challenge. We need all the options on the table, ASAP.

The Upside: Economic Stimulus

But don’t despair! These numbers may overwhelm you at first, until you realize the huge economic stimulus we are talking about here. If you spend 170 Billion on new infrastructure, that’s 170 billion injected into the economy. Moving around. If people opt to retrofit their homes to passive energy standards, that’s a boom in construction jobs. Switching to electric cars? That’s a boom in car purchases (which have been stagnant for a while now).

Don’t worry about the scale of change, and keep in mind that “cost” is money moving through the economy, shifting the focus of where people put their energies. The thing you need to focus on right now is - where do you want people to focus their energies? Which solutions do you want in your world. What do you want the post carbon world to look like.

We’re here to make sure you pick the best portfolio of plays that work for you. That make you happy and bring about the world you are happiest in.

And we’re just getting started.

As you can see, we go deeper. Footprint to Wings begins with the end game in mind. This is not the little leagues. We laugh at incremental and token action. We’re looking for serious coaches, serious players, who want to win this game, who want to break apart the plays and make sure they’ve chosen the best. Who want to dive into the nitty gritty up front.

We are doing the work most people avoid.

We coach people to zero carbon with their eyes wide open.

If this is work you agree with, please support it! Contribute and Start taking action TODAY! The clock is ticking!

Seriously. Ticking.

As you can see from the tweet below (please retweet!), the current emissions trajectory we are on is insane. The low emissions scenario is a bit better, but still potentially catastrophic. We need to get to zero and beyond ASAP for the real win.

The best #climatechange graphic Via @aviandelights Brings home personal impact of collision course we r on

— Ludo Campbell-Reid (@AklDesignChamp) March 21, 2017


So the USA pulled out of the Paris Climate Agreement

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