Citizen Solutions in Cancún

Photo credit: <a href="http://news.clarku.edu/news/2010/12/01/clark-labs-to-unveil-forest-saving-tools-at-cop16-event-in-cancun/idrisi-cop16-cmp-2/">Clark University</a>

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The international climate change summit in Cancún wraps up tomorrow, and envoys are jostling over draft agreements into the eleventh hour. Cancún has been almost as disappointing as Copenhagen, but this week I came across a number of citizen-organized solutions that offer a glimmer of hope. They aren’t silver bullets. Still, definitely worth noting.

  • Climate Progress for the People, by the People: While the debate over transparency has tied up negotiations (see MoJo correspondent Kate Sheppard’s reports for more), the World Resources Institute has partnered with research institutions around the world to create the Open Climate Network, which pools brain power from Tsinghua University, Sciences Po, and TERI—to name a few—to churn out peer-reviewed assessments of national climate progress, all accessible to the public. WRI will publish the first report in late 2011.
  • Google Earth for Climate Nerds: Google Labs‘ latest product, Earth Engine, is a treasure trove of planetary satellite images going back 25 years. Translation: Anyone who is curious or nerdy enough can now look up how the Earth’s surface has changed over time. (For example, you can see the Congo’s forest cover loss over the last decade.) In the realm of climate finance, these images can help track progress on reforestation projects—making transparency look like yesterday’s conundrum. The best part? It’s online and free.
  • Maps That Crunch Numbers: A team of Clark University geographers has put together two digital map tools that will help analyze REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) projects, which aim to tackle deforestation while drawing foreign investment and generating economic gains. The first tool can estimate greenhouse gas emissions resulting from disappearing forests; the second tool helps calculate how much bang you are getting for each REDD buck. Both will make saving trees easier.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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