Stop, Collaborate and…Vote! Help solve climate change with MIT’s Climate CoLab Project

By August 28th, 2013 at 10:55 am | Comments (7)

Do you have an idea about how to approach climate change?  You’re not alone.  Thousands of other people around the world are coming up with potential solutions to one of the world’s most challenging problems, but until now they have not been able to easily connect. MIT’s Climate CoLab is attempting to change this by bringing together innovators from across the globe to collaborate and develop solutions to the problem of climate change.

The basic idea of the Climate CoLab is similar to Wikipedia or Linux in that it harnesses “micro-contributions from many people around the world,” as Laur Fisher the CoLab’s Community and Partnerships Manager describes.  To do this, the CoLab runs annual competitions, in which anyone can submit a proposal that addresses a climate change issue.  Members of the CoLab community, including general public and experts in the field, are then encouraged to provide feedback on the entries, and eventually expert judges select finalists. A second cycle of feedback then begins for the finalists to allow thorough development of the proposals, and in the end the public votes on the winners.  Fisher describes that the goal of the CoLab is to facilitate a “transparent contest.” She notes that “anyone can comment and everything is open.” This year’s competition is currently in its final round of judging, and all participants are encouraged to vote until the end of August on their favorite proposals.


Illustration of the competition process

This year, the Climate CoLab ran 18 different competitions that address different aspects of climate change – for example, there was a contest focused on hydraulic fracturing “fracking;” one was titled “urban adaptation: climate resilient cities;” and one addressed the efficiency of buildings. Proposals were submitted from around the world – from Asia, to Central and South America, and even Iceland – and the applicants came from all education levels and professions.  Fisher asserts that the CoLab needs this diversity of members “because the issue of climate change is such a global issue, but then it’s also complex – there’s no one solution.”

The winning proposals will be announced shortly after the voting ends, and the authors will be invited make presentations at the Climate CoLab’s yearly conference on November 6-7.  The conference is free for anyone to attend, and the theme this year is “Crowds and Climate,” focusing on the role crowds play in addressing climate change – an interesting topic for anyone involved in a citizen science project! At the conference, the next competitions will also be announced for those who are eager to submit a proposal.

Voting for this year’s proposals closes at midnight (EDT) on August 31. Get started!


Emily Lewis is a PhD candidate in chemistry at Tufts University, where she investigates industrially important catalysts on the nanoscale. She received her BS and MS degrees from Northeastern University, and her thesis work investigated fuel cell catalysts under real operating conditions. She loves learning about energy and the environment, exploring science communication, and investigating the intersection of these topics with the policy world. When she’s not writing or in the lab, you’ll probably spot Emily at the summit of one of the White Mountains in NH. Follow her: @lewisbase,

7 Responses to 'Stop, Collaborate and…Vote! Help solve climate change with MIT’s Climate CoLab Project'

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  1. The best way to prevent climate change . Replace fossil fuels, with permanent field high voltage inducted static field motors that makes electrical production portable without any fossil fuels, you start buy having 7 permanent field assemblies 3 of those field assemblies are stationary in a frame the 4 field assemblies left will each have their own induction circuit and you will drive them around. Thru repulsion of like field assemblies you use that motion of repelling to induct a current that you turn thru circuitry into a high voltage charge to lay on top of the revolving feild assemblies the high voltage static field does a work to perpetuate the motion. It shields the field assemblies field with a field it does the attraction work untill the passover of the stationary field where it is discharged to ground for repulsion again and induction again a repeated electrical process between the stationary field drivers. That are 120 degress apart so your using inducted high voltage static fields that charged and discharged in timed mechanical sequences to controll m otion and perpetuate magnetic perpetual field powered motion. I call it the lamp of Jerusalem

    28 Aug 13 at 12:26 pm

  2. […] Collaborate and…vote! A citizen science project to help solve climate change with MIT’s Climate […]

  3. So excited to find this website & community. At this point many domestic well owners in or near areas where gas or oil drilling are on-going, face a real threat of contamination from the violent practice of Hydraulic Fracturing, or ‘Fracking’.
    Especially, in California where fault lines may criss-cross aquifers and deeper shale rock formations, added risk for contamination exist. In fact, with over 1000 active, voluntarily reported fracking wells (from, there may already be contamination of groundwater, but undetected. This is a challenge to all citizen scientists to come forward and help build solution for detecting or monitoring for contamination of well water.

  4. Hi Ursiny33 —

    Laur here from the Climate CoLab. If you’re interested in having your idea reviewed by a global audience, as well as subject matter experts, I invite you to submit your proposal on the lamp of Jerusalem to the Climate CoLab: We just open our first round of contest categories and you may be interested in the decarbonizing energy supply contest: For details on the different contests currently up, see here:

    Happy CoLabing!


    Laur, Climate CoLab

    15 Jan 14 at 12:25 pm

  5. Thanks Steve! Your thoughts and comments on fracking are welcome on our 2012-2013 contest on the subject:


    Laur, Climate CoLab

    15 Jan 14 at 12:26 pm

  6. Consume or be consumed. Over a large number of years we have developed focused around this basic guideline. Furthermore it has huge ramifications for choice making ready to go and at home. Left unchecked, the practices that permitted your predecessors flourish inside their social gathering are the very qualities that are savage to synergistic choice making.

    In this arrangement of 2 online journals, we will take a gander at joint effort and choice making. We’ll take a gander at how voting is an exceptionally poor instrument for business-level synergistic choice making. In the second blog, we will take a gander at approaches to enhance your communitarian choice making.

    Mamta Chopra

    5 Oct 14 at 5:58 am

  7. Yes we need to do something seriously as we need to take some step.Because we have to prevent the climate and we can only prevent the climate by optimum utilization of the Natural Resources.


    24 Oct 14 at 9:30 pm

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