What do the NBA, Mark Ruffalo, Al Gore, and Guns ‘N Roses have in common?
They’ve all signed on to #climate, a new “invite-only” app that connects influencers to climate causes so they can mobilize their large social media followings to sign petitions and organize actions. #climate positions itself as the middle man between the general public and changemaking nonprofits like the Sierra Club, Mosaic, and 350.org.
Here’s a video that explains how it works:
The idea came about when founder and internet entrepreneur Josh Felser (of health info site FYI Living and Freestyle, a venture capital firm for internet startups) enlisted his tech buddies to try and figure out a way to bring the discussion about climate change into the mass market.
According to Felser, #climate can use social capital to connect over 80 million people to nonprofits committed to the climate fight. Their initial goals may be social, but he believes hashtag activism can swell into real-world solutions. “We ultimately want to remove CO2 from the atmosphere,” says Felser.
That’s a tall order, so the question is: Can clicktivism for the rich, famous, and connected actually initiate realistic change on the climate front? Felser admits it’s no easy task, “but engaging influencers is an important arrow in the quiver to inject climate change into the mainstream conversation and expand the base.” The influencers who are part of #climate, explains Felser, aren’t just celebs, but include tech leaders like Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, GigaOM founder Om Malik, and Evan Williams, creator of Medium and Odeo.
In any case, having celebrities champion and call attention to climate change can’t really hurt. And if it takes Axl Rose posting about the Amazon to get people to pay attention, so be it.