Climate Change. That big, incomprehensible, ungraspable monster. For the everyday person, there is often a feeling of powerlessness and disconnection when it comes to wicked problems like a warming planet.
Enter Celsias.com (and its Kiwi cousin, Celsias.co.nz), the first online destination where people, organisations and companies can create, join or sponsor projects that combat Climate Change. Celsias not only provides a portal to learn about the enormous issues that are spurring global temperature rise, it’s a place to discover and support the grassroots efforts to make changes. Created in New Zealand, the climate change website facilitates global dialogue by drawing businesses, organisations and individuals from all over the world to discuss climate change, then create and manage projects on climate change or to reduce global their personal carbon footprint. While influencing political change is still a core driver for Celsias, Co-Director and Editor Vicki Buck says “the idea is to encourage businesses, communities and people to take action on climate change, because they can and do act a lot quicker than governments. Our concern was that we didn’t have time to wait for government action”. The site is not specifically science focused, instead focusing on policy and general climate news.
Celsias is the brainchild of six diverse New Zealanders who decided that doing nothing was just not an option and a collective of shareholders willing to put their money into action. Since its inception in 2006 the website has rapidly evolved from a traditional blog format into a feature-rich interactive web 2.0 community. On Celsias, members can read articles by their community of writers, join conversations in the Celsias Lounge, ask questions in the Q&A hall, review and commit to Actions that will reduce ones carbon footprint, create, follow, join and rate climate change Projects, and build a network of like minded friends.
“By harnessing the power of the web 2.0 technology, Celsias is bringing together companies and individuals that are serious about making a difference to the environment”– Washington Post
Celsias.com is now read in 134 countries worldwide with most activity in the USA and Europe. Hundreds of these users are companies, but there are also activist organisations and passionate people all communicating using the same platform. A leader in ‘levelling the playing field’, the Celsias has been voted a ‘top 5 eco-website’ by the Times newspaper, is quoted by The Washington Post, and has contributors from around the World.
Global readership means big things for New Zealand Clean Tech companies as Celsias provides an authoritative website that isn’t overtly ‘kiwi’ (Vicki says most readers assume the website is American) to tell the world about the good things happening locally. “We can help New Zealander’s explain their stories and projects to a global audience, and facilitate international linkages. I think people are always surprised when they hear Celsias.com comes out of New Zealand,” says Vicki.
HOW IT WORKS
The site is separated into three sections: Actions, Projects, and Organisations. In the Actions section, users can create a group around doing something simple to help the environment (for example “Choose products with less packaging”).
In the Projects section, individuals and companies list their eco-friendly activities, along with contact information for other members that would like to get involved.
The Organisations section allow companies to tell what they are doing and what they are aiming to do. Companies are using this tool to showcase their environmental credentials, display their green products and services and generate a following. Individuals are benefiting from the ability to organise and take action on important issues and build community-led responses.
During their first 14 months of operation, web traffic to Celsias.com grew at a compound growth rate of 65% per month. To this day, the Celsias.com and Celsias.co.nz remain authoritative champions of climate and environmental action. Next month the website intends to expand it’s domestic model into new exciting markets such as China, with www.celsias.cn. Beyond that, Celsias is developing a Green Funding component for the website. Linking people, projects and knowledge, the website provides an effective platform for individuals, businesses, communities and cities to take the lead on a massive environmental issue when politicians often seem to be hibernating. Mitigating climate change impacts requires involvement from every single person, and Celsias is a helpful tool in making this happen.