Reshaping earth with tiny behavioral improvements.
Global warming, Carbon foot prints, Greenhouse Effect, Climate Crisis are all abstract ideas.
But Global warming will affect (and is affecting) plants and animals, but overall, the planet will keep going long after people are gone. We are no longer talking about climate change but a climate crisis here and now. So if we want life here to be comfortable, we need to do something serious about climate crisis.
Some of the actions are easy, some a little harder, but think of it as a collective challenge like “Tug of war” that we used to play during our childhood. This game we, the polluters, need to play against our collective behaviors and we need to win the game.
Reducing our global carbon footprint is going to take a concerted effort from governments, companies, colleges/schools, and individuals across the planet. And the best way to get started is in our own backyard, New Delhi - plus in and around our homes.
The message around an abstract idea like carbon footprint and climate crisis can be communicated to common folks is simple:
Delhi has an air pollution problem all year round. It becomes most visible during winters when climactic conditions fuse with cultural imperatives like Diwali fireworks and agricultural traditions like crop stubble burning. Another round the year contributing factors include increased vehicular pollution and growing public works such as construction.
There is already so much news and noise about air pollution. People are generally aware of the issue. But “how to” mobilize ourselves and the community in the fight to improve air quality, seems missing and deficient. A path needs to be carved out.
Wingify Foundation launched the project “Wingify Earth” with the sole objective to take the people (polluters) from “I'm aware & I think we should do something” to “I will”, positive action towards solving this burning issue.Picking the low-hanging fruits..
There are two ways to handle a crisis of this proportion. The first is a capital-intensive way with a long gestation period. Like moving away from fossil fuels, and replacing them with alternative energies like solar, wind, and geothermal. More energy conservation and efficiency measures. Eco-friendly transportation like shifting to electric vehicles and hydrogen vehicles. Green buildings etc. to name just a few well-known measures that cost a huge amount of public and private effort, money, and time to implement.
However, research across the World over the years has abundantly made it clear that it is the small, ordinary adjustments to our daily behavior that can cumulatively go a long way in minimizing the impact of catastrophes like air pollution in your neighborhood. Let's call this a long way, to use the title of Led Zeppelin's famous song “Stairway to Heaven”.
There were different routes that can lead to this heaven on earth or shall we call it mythical “Shangri La”? Wingify Earth has presently chosen four routes to help people reach this collective heaven on earth by making small changes in their individual behavior in day-to-day life.
We all know that air pollution in India is a very serious issue, especially in Delhi. Wingify proposes to teach young children and their family members about how small actions/activities that don't cost much, if undertaken daily could help clean Delhi's air and protect both human health, reduce medical costs and also save the environment.
Early age is a crucial stage in the development of a person's behavior, social awareness, and selflessness. At this stage, children learn values and behaviors from their parents, society, and surroundings that will stay with them throughout adulthood and define who they are. That is what makes it so important to spark an interest in caring for and protecting the environment while children are still at an early age.
Wingify Earth shall develop content on environmental sustainability in general and specifically on air pollution and will mobilize children through different modes and channels and pass relevant content through child and family/school friendly mediums to generate awareness about small behavioral changes that individuals and families can make without much cost and effort to help reduce their carbon footprints and thereby save their immediate environment.
Content would be in any form - products, designs, ideas, processes, posters, messages, games, jingles and videos, etc – which is creative and innovative and fits into the focused theme, and is relatable to children to prevent them from becoming future polluters.
Academic competitions are a critical part of enhancing your college and career opportunities. Using these competitions as a medium, Wingify wishes to incentivize young innovators and future entrepreneurs who can demonstrate their capacity and passion to make technology-based products or services for a more environmentally sustainable world. Wingify Earth aims to spark a new level of community engagement in environmental sustainability through these competitions.
Incentives can be in the form of grants, awards, scholarships, fellowships, internships etc Individual themes can be further sliced to bring still sharper focus on problems that require cheap, simple and quickly implementable solutions in the form of nudges.
Scientists, educators, and policymakers continue to face challenges when it comes to finding effective strategies to engage the public on climate change. Researchers across the world have concluded that games on the subject of climate change are well-suited to address these challenges because they can serve as effective tools for education and engagement, particularly for school children and young adults.
We propose to build a game both in table game format like monopoly and also in digital format that will incentivize correct ‘actions' to save a city from over pollution. Let's call the game “Breatheasy”. In the games players will act as stakeholders in the future of a city and must work together to save it from issues such as pollution, climate change, and environmental sustainability.
The game will be tied in with the Class IX-XII Environmental Education textbooks, which will help in situating their learnings and messages better. It will help them contextualize the problem and understand better the consequences of not being an active stakeholder in the future of the world that they will inherit. The idea is to make this game intervention that school leadership and local government can own and play within their own communities. It will be a simple game with high replicability, and deployability. It is a game that focuses on Indian-specific issues and will be a first-of-its-kind initiative targeted at schools. School or student competitions can also be built around the game at a later day.
Those who live in Delhi or have a nose for news that matters, would be fully aware about Delhi's notorious year-round air pollution. In fact, going by the latest reports Delhi NCR is the most polluted metropolitan area in the World.
The key contributors to this pollution in Delhi and its vicinity are vehicles; unchecked construction and road dust; garbage burning; the burning of paddy residues by farmers in Punjab, Haryana, UP, etc; and of course, the Diwali firecrackers.
It has been scientifically proved that both excessive paddy growing and stubble burning are the major pollution causing activities during paddy season. There is a strong need to reduce area under paddy cultivation in Punjab and Haryana.
Wingify Earth shall engage with 50000 farmers on crop residue management tools in Punjab Haryana, Uttar Pradesh by providing timely, authentic, actionable knowledge content related to crop residue management (green alerts) to them through channels like Whats App, Telegram etc. We believe knowledge and awareness level will be increased among farmers which will help them to make informed decisions on both growing paddy and paddy crop residue management.
In addition, Wingify Earth shall recognize these thoughtful and progressive farmers as “Environment champions” and publish their success stories/videos on Wingifyearth and make them become its brand ambassadors.
Wingify.earth shall also engage with school going students in select paddy growing areas through activities like video, poster, poems and plays to make them and their farmer parents aware about the climate crisis and how their actions can prevent same.
Best entries will be suitably recognized / rewarded.
Climate crisis, as we said earlier is a complex and difficult problem to communicate. It is slow-moving, it does not always feel urgent and there is often very little effort to mitigate it. Humans have adversely affected the environment through actions and inactions, and climate emergency has put the World in grave peril. People often wonder what they can do about global warming short of putting the entire economy on a draconian carbon-free diet.
We need to rethink the way we communicate climate change. The typical mentality of millions of people, including those aware of the issue, needs to change from I WISH TO I WILL.
The best tool at our disposal is a simple one: Storytelling
Stories have the power to transform complex subjects into something that feels personal, local, immediate, relatable, solvable, and replicable. Stories about minor, ordinary adjustments to our daily behavior can go a long way in averting catastrophes.
Exciting and inspiring stories about the climate crisis - how people respond in real-time and make a difference - few and far between or are hidden and not being told in a way that is attractive and eye-catching, which others would also want to follow and emulate.
We have realized that many stories are floating around the World on environmental sustainability-related matters, about people, products, processes, and places that cry loudly "this is a story that needs to be shared and heard by many." These stories can reach many people, but few have seen them because they were not designed and packaged in a manner like those cats, dogs, baby videos on Tik-Tok or YouTube to capture the eyes of millions.
The sad news is that those cats, dogs, and baby videos achieve nothing but just a momentary tickle without any lasting effect on our lives. But the kind of stories we are talking about here could change the face of the earth if acted upon by millions through their multiplier and compounding effect.
Recognizing the severe gap between the impactful content (stories) that is already available and what millions of ordinary people need to know or do to leave a positive and lasting impact on environmental sustainability. Still, they don't have access to that content in a manner that makes it more accessible and palatable. Wingify Earth shall curate, repackage, optimize, publish and promote such stories on environment sustainability from various sources and publish same through a technology platform.
The stories shall be personal, local, and relatable about products, services, and initiatives, to name a few, which ordinary people would also want to follow and emulate.