Effective Climate Action Project (ECAP)
One-line solution summary.
Bridging complex climate data sets and public understanding through simulation workshops and youth engagement.
What is your solution?
ECAP harnesses two core solutions: facilitating climate simulation workshops, and engaging youth with online advocacy.
Our climate workshops connect people with tools to explore how climate solutions can be approached from a systemic level. We run three workshops: the “World Climate Simulation,” the “EN-ROADS Climate Workshop,” and the “Climate Action Simulation.” These interactive, role-play experiences harness computer models called EN-ROADS and C-ROADS, designed by MIT Sloan School of Management and Climate Interactive. These models use the latest climate science to analyze how different policy measures such as renewable energy, afforestation, electrification, carbon prices and more, impact our current global warming trajectory. ECAP’s youth facilitators train to interpret and communicate this information in an easy-to-understand way for audiences from middle school students to policy makers.
To shift public focus to effective climate solutions, our global team researches and shares weekly action items as part of our “Take Action Tuesday'' campaign. Through infographic posts and online events, we elevate climate opportunities, organizations, and information. ECAP’s advocacy tackles climate change at its source, addressing root causes and harnessing systems thinking and collective action to boost individual impact.
What specific problem are you trying to solve?
Climate change impacts every human on the planet. Our organization works specifically to combat the lack of public focus on systemic solutions. We are often told that to solve climate change, we need to recycle, take shorter showers, plant trees, etc. While these actions are helpful, there is a great need for solutions tackling the root causes of the issue. By equipping people with tools to understand these solutions, grounded in science, technology, and policy, we can empower others to stand up for ambitious climate action.
Public awareness regarding systemic climate action is insufficient in part due to the lack of comprehensive systemic climate education and the inaccessibility of climate science and leadership spaces for youth. According to data ECAP compiled in our 2021 Global Climate Change Survey, 85% of youth are “not at all” or only “somewhat” satisfied with their school’s climate curriculum. Commonly stated reasons behind this were teachers' focus on the issue versus the solutions, and lack of educational opportunities to engage in more impactful change-making, such as policy, entrepreneurship, and direct activism. For those with the opportunity to study climate science, youth often find it hard to draw tangible action items from scientific data, and thus don’t know where to start. At a time when we need as many people as possible in climate leadership, these barriers result in less youth voices involved in climate decision-making, and less opportunity for empowerment across all ages.
Who does your solution serve? In what ways will the solution impact their lives?
Our solution serves anyone ranging from middle and high school students to business leaders and policy makers who are curious about engaging in climate action. For these audiences, we teach key dynamics and equity considerations of the climate system, and provide people with the experience of advocating for policies to solve a global issue. Our workshops have helped those who knew little about climate policy and global negotiations begin advocating in their own communities. We have also trained youth from the United States, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Indonesia to become climate simulation leaders, bringing these workshops to their local schools and organizations. We strive to be decentralized and accessible by hosting the majority of our workshops online. We can facilitate in English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Korean.
An important aspect of our youth engagement has been facilitating our ECAP Internship Program. We reviewed hundreds of applications and conducted over 40 interviews to gather our existing team of 10 interns from 7 different countries. Each takes on a role of their choosing, including research, graphic design, event planning, partnership engagement, and workshop facilitation. We have given our interns experience working in a youth-led organization through weekly meetings, skill-building workshops and trainings. By equipping people with the tools to understand climate solutions grounded in science, technology, and policy, ECAP believes we can empower others to stand up for ambitious climate action.
What steps have you taken to understand the needs of the population you want to serve?
ECAP has conducted significant research in order to understand the needs of youth, the barriers preventing them from engaging in climate leadership, and what motivates and concerns them about the issue. Our 2021 Global Climate Change Survey surveyed 233 individuals worldwide and helped us make the decision to start our internship program after finding that 40% of youth are very motivated to take more action on climate change but only 3% are very involved.
In the development of our project, I met with leaders from the nonprofit Climate Interactive to introduce the idea of training youth to be facilitators of their workshop methodology. We also interviewed two local Oregon legislators to ask about where youth voices are most needed to help advocate for environmental policy.
I have received mentorship from T-Mobile executives through an Ashoka Changemaker award, my Environmental Justice teacher, a leader of a local climate education non-profit, and staff from Plan International USA, an organization I volunteer for as their climate lead on the National Youth Advisory Board.
We engage past workshop participants in the development of our organization through our ECAP Volunteer community, where we extend opportunities for training and engagement, and provide a Take Action Resource document listing effective climate solutions anyone can take part in. We also engage our workshop facilitators in the development of existing and future workshops by letting them create their own ECAP workshop slideshows, and provide feedback on ways to improve the experience and impact.
Which aspects of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?
Taking action to combat climate change and its impacts (Sustainability)
Our solution's stage of development:Growth: An organization with an established product, service, or business model rolled out in at least one community, which is poised for further growth
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution—in other words, what have you accomplished to date?
ECAP is in the "Growth" stage because we have solidified our mission and workshop offerings, gathered a team and members, and had two years of experience providing our services to others. So far, ECAP has facilitated 20 climate simulation events engaging hundreds of participants worldwide, with audiences spanning local classrooms, Rotary groups, Model UN groups, and business leaders. We have grown to 300 members and trained youth facilitators through our Climate Simulation Leader (CSL) training program. On our social media platforms, we have engaged hundreds of followers with 60+ informational posts on a variety of climate topics, such as presidential climate plans, ways to effectively talk about climate change, global youth movements, and more. As ECAP's founder, I was selected as a US Official Delegate and Facilitator for the 16th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth in Scotland during COP26, where I presented a workshop on Systemic Climate Education and ECAP's strategy in engaging youth through the EN-ROADS computer model. At this stage we are now focused on expanding our capacity and reach.
Where our solution team is headquartered or located:Portland, OR, USA
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new project or business that relies on technology to be successful
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
Our workshops are centered around the utilization of two computer models called EN-ROADS and C-ROADS, designed by MIT Sloan School of Management and Climate Interactive. The EN-ROADS computer simulator intuitively displays participants’ proposals and their impact on many variables of the climate system. These include global temperature increase, greenhouse gas emissions, energy sources and demand, natural and anthropogenic carbon removals, and more. The C-ROADS Model focuses on national climate pledges and their potential effects on global temperature increase by the year 2100. It compares the goals delineated in the Paris Agreement to the numbers participants enter related to emission peak years, reduction rates, and deforestation and afforestation efforts.
With these computer models, we follow the structure of Climate Interactive's original workshops while adding a fundamental youth component. ECAP workshop participants assume the roles of delegates and policy makers representing diverse nations and international businesses, and work collaboratively to propose climate action plans and emissions targets in line with current global agreements such as the Paris and Glasgow agreements. As facilitators, we guide audiences through an overview of climate change science, several rounds of negotiations between teams, and a debrief to reflect on lessons learned and next steps for taking action.
Both simulation models are grounded in the best available science, and have been calibrated against a wide range of existing integrated assessment, climate and energy models.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
In which countries do you currently operate?
How many people does your solution currently serve, and how many do you plan to serve in the next year? If you haven’t yet launched your solution, tell us how many people you plan to serve in the next year.
Number of people currently served: 678
Number of expected people served in 2022: 900
What are your impact goals for the next year, and how will you achieve them?
In addition to running climate simulation events, our team set 3 impact goals for the coming year:
1. Increase number of trained youth ECAP Climate Simulation Leaders from diverse areas of the world.
--> Release social media ads to help more youth from outside the US reach our training opportunities
--> Engage existing facilitators more deeply in the organization and feature their work on the ECAP website.
--> Create a structured program timeline for ECAP Interns to train members of the volunteer cohort
2. Increase ECAP’s online advocacy focused on systems thinking and activation of youth changemaking.
--> Share all findings from the ECAP Global Youth Climate Survey
--> Host Instagram Live events on systemic advocacy for more accessible viewing
--> Form more partnerships with existing climate organizations to promote the EN-ROADS and C-ROADS models
--> Continue speaking on podcasts, webinars, talk shows and television programs about youth's role in systemic advocacy
3. Deepen our presence in schools throughout the United States by providing teachers with curriculum guidance and tools for fostering effective youth climate activism.
--> Train high school educators, starting with Oregon and California teachers, to use the EN-ROADS and C-ROADS models in their own classrooms
--> Create an ECAP guide for teachers listing effective strategies for engaging youth in climate leadership, classroom project ideas, workshop facilitation tips, and our suggestions to high-achieving youth on how to balance changemaking, schoolwork, and extracurriculars.
How are you measuring your progress or planning to measure your progress toward your impact goals?
At ECAP, we track the following indicators to measure our progress and impact:
-- Number of followers on Instagram, Linked In and YouTube
-- Number of facilitators trained
-- Number of workshops our facilitators are leading
-- Range of topics covered on infographic posts
-- Number of teachers trained in EN-ROADS and C-ROADS models
-- Number of public speaking opportunities that allow ECAP's message to be heard by a diverse set of audiences
What barriers currently exist for you to accomplish your goals in the next year?
ECAP began operation amidst a COVID world. This allowed us to develop our strategy around the limitations of the ongoing pandemic, such as running most of our workshops in an online format and developing strategies to maintain participant engagement over Zoom (including Zoom backgrounds, videos and discussion prompts). However, COVID still remains one of our largest barriers. One challenge has been trying to grow our team in such an online platform. Given that we have no in-person office or organizational meeting place, it can be hard to solidify ourselves in different communities and internationally. We are attempting to work around this by tailoring our organization to school classrooms, where our messaging can be heard through youth voices that have applied our mission to their community needs.
Another pattern we have observed is a growing disinterest in climate change as many youth and adults, especially in the US and more economically-developed countries, are overwhelmed by the uncertainties of everything else happening around them. The public and media narratives have also shifted focus to other issues, and it can be hard to bring up climate action when there is lower sense of urgency being portrayed.
How many people work on your solution team?
Executive Director: 1; Board of Directors: 3; Interns: 10
How long have you been working on your solution?
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Our team is well-positioned to deliver our climate workshop programming given our youth voices, direct experiences with climate change, and diversity of languages and cultural backgrounds.
Our thirteen-member team represents nine countries, including those most responsible for climate change and most vulnerable to its effects. All our interns have directly faced adverse climate impacts, including wildfires, hurricanes, mudslides, and sea level rise. During meetings, these experiences help us make informed decisions about how our content could impact members and how we can include as many perspectives as possible.
As our Executive Director, I am trilingual in English, Spanish and Japanese, and have Colombian heritage. Although I am only 17 years old, I have several years of experience working in climate advocacy and leadership spaces. I've been concerned about climate change since I was little, but my motivation to take action began when I studied abroad in Japan as a Rotary Youth Exchange Ambassador. Locals shared the climate impacts they are facing—increased typhoons, difficulty growing traditional crops—and I realized my climate fears were already their daily reality. I entered a Japanese speech contest and spoke about the importance of taking action on climate change, winning both the regional and prefectural levels, and becoming a national finalist. Now back in the US, I continue to speak on talk shows, host presentations with groups such as Rotary, school boards and the EPA, and am interviewed by podcasts such as the Genius Generation Podcast.
Above all, ECAP's youth voice is our strongest asset. As youth, we possess incredible passion, and the ability to view the world with hope. Most importantly, we are the ones who will live with the consequences of the decisions made by those currently in power.
What organizations do you currently partner with, if any? How are you working with them?
Climate Interactive/ MIT Sloan: Core mission alignment, implementation of simulation tools, project guidance, attended workshops with Climate Interactive international facilitators.
Ashoka Changemakers: Attended a summit at T-Mobile headquarters to present our organization. Helped design youth climate programming, and spoke with executives regarding corporate climate policies.
Plan USA: Provided initial seed funding for ECAP. Ongoing mentorship.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The HP Girls Save the World Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.Yes
If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The HP Girls Save the World Prize to advance your solution?
We feel we are qualified for this prize given that our Board of Directors is completely female-led, staffed, and focused. Out of our team of interns, 90% are female identifying and most within the age range of 13 to 18 years old. Our programing highlights gender equality as an important area of intersection, from our workshops which explore equity considerations of the climate system, to our online outreach and advocacy covering the disproportionate climate impacts felt by women, and the value of female leadership in systems change. Our team believes that effective policy, technology, and social and adaptive solutions must include female leadership in order to justly improve the lives of those most impacted by climate change.
Because of my climate leadership with ECAP, I was also selected last year as one of 12 global female climate activists to participate in a project with the Beyonders Foundation in the Netherlands, where I developed a 6-month project on Eco-Feminism in which I and my working group explored the intersection of women’s rights and equality with climate change in the workplace. This winter, we presented our interview and research findings to corporate executives from businesses including Nike and Patagonia.
My team would greatly value the HP Girls Save the World Prize as an opportunity to pursue more local and international youth workshops and trainings.
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for The Pozen Social Innovation Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.Yes
If you selected Yes, explain how you are qualified for this prize. How will your team use The Pozen Social Innovation Prize to advance your solution?
Through our climate simulation workshops and online youth engagement, ECAP is increasing the opportunities girls and youth have to learn about effective advocacy so that they can begin taking a stand in their own community. We do not simply educate on climate change, but provide valuable skills such as how to understand and interpret complex scientific graphs and data sets, how to use computer simulators, how to speak clearly and effectively to an audience, as well as in-depth trainings on graphic design, research compilation and presentation methods, and experience with event planning and organizational strategy.
As mentioned above, our team would greatly value the The Pozen Social Innovation Prize as an opportunity to pursue more local and international youth workshops and trainings.
Luna Abadía Effective Climate Action Project