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In a time when climate
change and developing the green economy are somewhat passé, nonprofits
have not given up on the mission. One nonprofit doing great work effectively
and with great agility is 350.org.
is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and
push for policies that will put the world on track to reduce our planetary
CO2 to safe levels - 350 parts per million. Find out how they're greening the
planet and using the leanest greenest IT possible.
Since reading the The
Networked Nonprofit a couple of years ago, I’ve been on the lookout for
nonprofits that typify the new breed of nonprofit organization that is agile,
open, community driven, hyper-connected and extremely effective. That’s how I’d
The organization is one of the most prominent front -line,
direct-action environmental nonprofits addressing the problem of global climate
change. They do this work through online
campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions that are led from the
bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.
organization has a staff of 40 worldwide and also three offices in the U.S. (Washington DC, New York City, and Oakland,
California). Fully eight staff members co-founded the organization, but the
most well known 350.org person is Bill McKibben,
who is president, co-founder, and primary messenger for the organization. He is
one of the most prominent U.S. environmental writers and thinkers.
book The End of Nature was
the first book to warn the general public about the threat of global warming.
His latest book EAARTH
is an exploration of what we can do now that we have unleashed climate change –
how we can build communities (including virtual ones) societies, and economies
that can withstand the trouble that is coming.
person I was interested in talking to is their IT person. I spoke to 350.org
co-founder Jon Warnow, who is their web
director, which is as close as anyone gets to being an IT person at the
organization. My first question of course was, "How does that work with three
offices, 40 employees, and thousands of volunteers to keep track of in nearly
Jon was very matter of fact.
They have an integrated, cloud-based IT system in which everyone has laptops and
merely needs some way to get to the Internet to plug in to 350.org.
no infrastructure beyond that, which is why cloud computing is regarded as
green IT. The cloud paradigm is a world in which IT infrastructure is based in
relatively few large IT companies that operate lots of servers. This
theoretically frees up millions of offices from having their own local area
networks with servers and IT staffs to run them. 350.org is already doing that.
Here’s how Jon explains it:
On October 24,
2009, 350.org took the lead in organizing the International Day of Climate Action,
the world's most widely
distributed political action. More than 19,000 citizen generated photos and
videos, and posted them onto the Internet. These documented 5,245 actions taking
place in 181 countries. The actions were all coordinated.
An example is the video of 15,000 school children
in Adidas Aba rallying for "strong action and bold leadership on the climate
crisis.“ Find much more on how this work was accomplished in Michael
in the Huffington Post.
How are you streamlining your IT to make your organization both leaner in budget but also greener in action? I’d love to hear your
comments below on what you’re able to do with your cloud-based tools and other green technologies.