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MIT is Crowdsourcing Climate Change Solutions

By Sharon Chen
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The Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) is outsourcing climate change progress. Their Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI) has created the Climate CoLab, a crowdsourcing platform where citizens work with one another, and with experts, to create, analyze, and select proposals for climate change progress.

Professor Thomas Malone, director of CCI and principal investigator of the Climate CoLab, notes that “millions of people around the world can now work together online to achieve a common goal at a scale and with a degree of collaboration that was never before possible.”

The Climate CoLab recently announced the 32 winners of the 15 contests it ran in 2015. The contests aimed to seek solutions for different aspects of the climate change problem, such as reducing emissions from electrical generation, changing public attitudes about climate change, and implementing a carbon price in the United States. Winning projects range from a tool to help developing countries upgrade energy infrastructure in a sustainable way, to creation of a tidal pump designed to bring algae biofuel to the market and remove carbon dioxide from the air and sea.

One of higher education’s greatest strengths is nurturing innovative thinking, and the Climate CoLab exemplifies the best of this in many ways. MIT’s idea to crowdsource climate change solutions is novel and smart, and their platform encourages others to think creatively about our climate change challenge. With ideas like these, higher education will continue to lead the way when it comes to climate change progress.


MIT Climate CoLab announces 32 winning climate strategies

Laur Fisher | MIT News | September 25, 2015

With only months before the highly anticipated international climate negotiations in Paris, a project at MIT offers a set of new innovations for effective climate action.

But these ideas weren’t developed by MIT professors or students; they were collected from and selected by the 50,000 people around the world who are members of the Climate CoLab, an online community that works with experts and each other to develop climate solutions.

The Climate CoLab is run by the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), and aims to offer a new approach to addressing climate change.

"Many online platforms — like Wikipedia, Linux, FoldIt — have developed a new way of solving complex challenges: online crowdsourcing,” says Professor Thomas Malone, director of CCI and principal investigator of the Climate CoLab. “Millions of people around the world can now work together online to achieve a common goal at a scale and with a degree of collaboration that was never before possible.”

Malone believes, if done well, these collective intelligence tools could change the way we work, run businesses, and even solve our world’s most complicated problems, such as climate change. 

The Climate CoLab recently announced the 32 winners of the 15 contests it ran in 2015. The contests sought ways to have a significant impact on different aspects of the climate change problem, such as reducing emissions from electrical generation, changing public attitudes about climate change, and implementing a carbon price in the United States.

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