Avit Bhowmik | Environmental Scientist · Climate Solutionist

The Long Game

Imagine a world where every school, every community from Albania to Zimbabwe, from China to the U.S. is actively designing and leading projects aimed at curbing and adapting to climate change, successfully addressing immediate risk reduction as well as long-term generational challenges. The Long Game is just such a vision with the goal of collectively building the ability of every community on the planet to create and foster agency, increase resilience and action, and solve existing and emerging social, climate and environmental challenges.

To counter an epidemic of climate despair and anxiety, students and community leaders in many parts of the world are beginning to take action on social and environmental challenges, such as anticipating and responding to extreme events, analyzing local practices, policies, and laws that perpetuate or enable these challenges. But thus far, these efforts--designing, implementing and advocating for sustainability planning in their communities--have been largely scattered and limited in scope and impact. Making such powerful, youth-engaged efforts the rule rather than the exception is a massive challenge and game-changing opportunity. Building on, leveraging and amplifying existing efforts, the Long Game wilI provide the tools and framework to mobilize the ingenuity and energy of young people, who can inspire and work with adults to transform the societal systems required to respond to the climate crisis at scale.

Goals

  • Development of an engaging app with gamification features designed to promote climate education at primary schools and thus foster informed climate action and enhance our individual and collective agency in involved communities.
  • Development of a decision support tool that maps energy communities between 10,000 and a million people, where individual and global scales converge.
  • Promote international action research and pedagogical tools by developing a book that scientifically demonstrates the virtue of treating communities and cities as climate action sweet spot and outlines real world community climate action.
  • Form a globally networked, place-based and youth-focused institution delivering the scientific, pedagogical, analysis and practical tools for empowering energy communities and creating agency.

Specifications/Rationale

Global change, specifically human-caused disruption of the climate system and biodiversity loss, must be addressed at every scale. Over the past three decades, international and national efforts led by United Nations initiatives (such as the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Convention on Biodiversity, which was never joined by the United States) have proven ineffective in reducing climate emissions or substantially slowing biodiversity loss. Often, individuals understandably feel overwhelmed and helpless to take meaningful action even when they are well-informed about the causes and effects of these global changes.

We offer a glocal approach by empowering communities and interfacing and complementing existing top-down and bottom-up efforts. It comprises the following:

Communities and Cities as entry-points

Informed by research indicating a “sweet spot” for a broad range of climate interventions between the community scale of 10,000 people and urban scale of one million people, the Long Game focuses on this “glocal” scale, where individuals living their everyday lives converges with humanity’s planetary scale. This community-scale is not too big, not too small-- the size of many local governments (including school districts) and indigenous people organizations. This glocal approach will prove to be “just right” for sparking the social transformation required at every scale of society in order for our species to survive and thrive for centuries and millennia to come. Integral to the Long Game will be the use of a “powers of 10” framework that will provide a framework covering the entire human population, leaving no community behind.

Education/Girls’ Education as the focus sector

Decidedly audacious and ambitious, the Long Game connects a number of visionary efforts. One is a “moonshot” scale initiative proposed to unleash the creativity of students and teachers to identify and minimize the risks and impacts of climate change one community at a time, helping transform education in the process to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century.

The 100K Project will be harnessed as a framework for identifying schools and their communities, which builds on research on effective scaling of climate interventions. Another is Spherical, a company based in Bonn, Germany that works with the United Nations and public and private parties to measure and report greenhouse gas emissions and progress on Sustainable Development Goals.