It’s been over 6 months since the Think-a-thon and we’re overdue for an update! We would like to share what we’ve been working on and some of the lessons we’ve learned. In particular, we’ve been exploring:
- Incorporating as a nonprofit and how to create a fair workplace
- Creating climate action resources in different formats
- Presenting climate action and CARL at events
There have been a few dead ends and a lot of wandering, but we now have a much better understanding of our current capacity and what it will take to create CARL. Our main focus for the next few months is on the blog: we’ll be sharing examples of climate action in different job roles from real people.
🗺️ Forays into nonprofit incorporation
When we won the Think-a-thon, we were really excited to formalize CARL and make it “real”. We wanted to open up a bank account, get insurance, and establish a company. Incorporating CARL would not only make the project more legitimate, it would also give us the legal protection to be bold and experiment.
After talking to accountants, bankers and insurance agents, what we learned was that we had the sequence backwards. We need to establish the company first, then open the bank account, make some revenue, then get insurance.
So we spent some time evaluating different business and nonprofit structures to see what would fit our values. Since our mission is to empower workers to take climate action, we want to ensure that future staff and volunteers are empowered in our organization as well. This means having a role in decision-making and budget, so we looked into co-op structures. We also want the information on CARL to be free, so we decided that a non-profit model would be a better fit.
And that led us to where we’re at now: learning more about worker self-directed nonprofits and how to integrate co-op values into the structure. We’ve been learning a lot from the resources at Start.coop and the Sustainable Economies Law Center.
🖼️ Presenting at events & inspiring climate action
It’s been very rewarding to present CARL at events.
Saba and Shruti represented CARL at the Mature Women in Tech meetup to celebrate Earth Day. They introduced two paths to climate action: 1) green your current job and 2) pivot to a career in climate. It was fantastic to see all the engagement and discussion from the attendees, some of whom had signed up for the talk just because the topic was climate related. Seeing the connection between software performance, data usage and climate was new for many people and they were excited to take the information back to their workplace. All in all, a great way to kick off Earth Day celebrations! Check out the slides here.
Melissa represented CARL at Project Innovation Day at Columbia’s Career Design Lab. Attendees shared that their coworkers were printing out stacks of emails. Others said it was too late to do anything. So we brainstormed potential climate actions together. For example, the HR person in the facilities department could ask job candidates about their understanding of sustainability and resource conservation. They could also offer professional development programs on energy efficiency and how to comply with New York’s new sustainable building regulations. Once you start looking at jobs with a sustainability lens, many opportunities for climate action appear!
🧪 Experiments in content creation
We’ve done a lot of experiments here!
The initial idea behind CARL was to collaborate with workers to develop climate action guides specific to their roles. We designed workshops, we had a plan for recruitment, but never followed through. It took a long time to admit that this was too big of a project for us right now. We need more experience first and smaller projects to test out our climate action framework.
So we pivoted and decided to try live streaming interviews with workers. It would require fewer people and less time to execute. We wouldn’t even have to edit the content!
For our first episode, we interviewed our teammate Josh to learn about sustainability & film production. He had been filming in the jungle, where there was no power, and used solar-panels to power his camera batteries. Unfortunately there was an audio glitch and we only recorded half the conversation.
After our initial, partial success, we’ve had scheduling difficulties. People are also, understandably, hesitant to speak about their current jobs on camera. So we’re pivoting again. This time, we’re getting help: We’re hiring writers.
We’re very fortunate to have found writers who care about climate, understand sustainability, and have ideas on how to improve their past jobs! We have 3 posts in the works so far:
- Sustainable driving
- Climate actions for UPS & shipping workers
- Climate action for journalists
🔮 What’s next for CARL?
You’ll see some changes on the site soon! We’re going to follow our own advice and get rid of unused website features, so that our site has a lower carbon footprint. It will also be faster and easier to use.
We’ll also be posting climate actions for jobs regularly (at least once a week!). Once we have the content operations going smoothly, we’ll work on expanding our reach, so that the right people are getting the right message.
Behind the scenes, we’re working on the nonprofit bylaws, recruiting a board, and incorporating.
With the right foundation and team in place, we’ll be able to build out the rest of the library: the community and the programming.
If you have any questions or feedback or would like to get involved, please reach out to us at email@example.com.