Community Input on the Need to Support a Coordinated Climate Literacy Effort

Saturday, February 13, 2016: 1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Wilson B (Marriott Wardman Park)
Tamara Shapiro Ledley, TERC, Cambridge, MA
In recent years there have been a plethora of climate and energy literacy efforts, government funded and community based, to enable individuals, professionals, organizations, and governments to make effective decisions within their realms of responsibility. Individually these efforts have limited reach and duration. However, understanding the causes, effects, risks, and responses to global change by teachers, students, an citizens is a major challenge of the 21stcentury and beyond and requires a sustained effort with greater coordination and leveraging of effective materials, expertise and scaled programs.

The collective impact model described by Kania and Kramer (2011, Collective Impact, Stanford Social Innovation Review, 9(1), 36-41, identifies five elements for effective collective impact. These include a common agenda, shared system of measures, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication, and a well-funded backbone support organization to coordinate the effort.  In order to work toward the creation of an effective climate and energy literacy collective impact effort that addresses these elements, input and buy in from all potential partners is necessary. We have worked toward this end by engaging as wide a range of climate and energy literacy stakeholders in the conversation as possible..  We have conducted two surveys (2013 and 2015) of the climate and energy literacy stakeholder community and have organized discussions at relevant meetings that were focused on identifying the activities a “backbone support organization” might conduct that would support extending the reach and effectiveness of the participants efforts and enable significant collaboration and leveraging of efforts. Outcomes of these conversations suggest that an effective climate and energy literacy collective impact effort will be comprised of a network of networks, with an overarching backbone support network with a common agenda that coordinates and supports member networks, each with their own common agenda.

In this talk we will describe the five conditions of collective impact, and provide an overview of the survey results and input gathered from the larger climate and energy literacy stakeholder community on what a backbone support organization - one of the conditions of collective impact - could do to help all stakeholders share, leverage, and partner to extend their reach and impact.