8 May, 2019

Helping Prevent Climate Breakdown

Like many people, I’ve been aware of the risks posed by climate change breakdown for many years, and like most people, I haven’t been doing much about it — until now. In mid-April 2019 the urgent need for action was pushed into the spotlight thanks to the Extinction Rebellion activists among others. Their actions motivated me to focus my thinking on what I could do to help prevent our climate from breaking down.

While researching climate benefiting lifestyle changes, I found most of the information to be poorly organised and hidden within blog posts scattered around the internet. I couldn’t find a single, easily consumable point of truth that I’d be happy sending to a friend to learn more.

I felt there was a problem, so why not try and solve it? There and then I decided to start ClimateChoice. A place to learn the choices you can make to reduce your carbon footprint and help others to act. One easily readable, shareable website.

Rather than developing ClimateChoice alone, I wanted to find a few like-minded collaborators. On 22nd April I tweeted:

To my surprise, I received dozens of offers. It seemed I had identified another problem - people are motivated to prevent climate breakdown, but they aren’t sure how to help. I wondered… could all these interested parties be brought together in one place to join forces and create their own projects?

Within a couple of hours, a new collaborator (@jp_aulet) and I had set up a Slack group and website for Impact Makers - A community of tech people who want to have a positive impact by helping prevent earth’s climate breaking down.

Two weeks later we have a community of 115 tech people discussing climate breakdown problems and ideas on how to solve them. My own project has attracted a couple of collaborators in @thepaulmcbride and @tobequitefrank1 and is well under development, with plans to launch on 19th May.

Impact Makers

Building the community has been a great experience, but not one without issues.

Committing to work on a climate awareness or action project requires you to sacrifice your time. As you’re unlikely to make any money from it (though you could), you’ll need to value the reward of giving as much as that of monetary gain.

In addition, often it feels like there’s something just a bit more important to be doing with your time that will fulfil your basic human needs. Unfortunately, the lack of obvious impact on our daily lives can make the climate crisis feel like a problem for another day. We all probably know something we could be doing to help prevent climate breakdown today, but we don’t do it. I know I’m guilty. ✋

For those who have the desire to help they often just don’t know how. Some might not have a project idea but are ready to jump in and work on a defined task if available. These Impact Makers need someone to take ownership of an idea and approach them, then they’ll get to work.

Finding Collaborators

From my experience if you release an idea into the wild, there’s usually someone around the corner waiting to help. That’s why we’re testing a way to make it easier for group members to find a collaborator with our new project ideas Trello board.

Impact Makers Idea Board

Try stuff + see what happens

One thing I’ve learnt from life is that having the courage to try stuff and see what happens often pays off. From a few tweets, I ended up with a group of 100+ like-minded tech workers. I’ve met and chatted with countless new people. People who could become future friends or business partners. I even received a job offer. All just from being willing to put something out there and see what happens.

In two weeks I’ll do the same with ClimateChoice. Perhaps it will inspire new projects? Or convince someone to make climate helping life changes? Or a future world leader to run for office on a pro-planet agenda? Or maybe it will get 10 views and sit forgotten? Who knows? I’m willing to try and see what happens.

I’d encourage you to join me in Impact Makers and see if you can get involved and help prevent earth’s climate breaking down.

Who is Steven Hylands?

Steven is a designer by trade but has spent most of the last decade wearing many hats as a co-founder of tech startups like Yomo, PiggyPot, Rumble Labs, Nuu and Onotate. Currently, he’s trying to help prevent earth's climate from breaking down with Impact Makers. Working with startups has helped Steven gain a breadth of knowledge across design, product strategy, growth marketing, and front-end development.