What would it look like for the Cool Block to scale? Here is an historical account from 2025…
As part of what was called the Cool City Challenge the most progressive cities in America and their citizens embarked on an audacious adventure to develop a game-changing social innovation. Its goal: carbon neutrality by 2025, with disaster resiliency and vibrant livability for its citizens, and green prosperity for its businesses. And they succeeded!
Here’s how they did it. Over a three-year period, citizens block by block substantially lowered their carbon footprints. With new carbon literacy and sense of agency, these empowered citizens continued pushing the envelope and advocated to their local elected leaders to become carbon neutral cities, which these city officials, after careful consideration, accepted. Local governments were galvanized into transforming their energy infrastructure into becoming carbon neutral. And thriving local low carbon economies emerged naturally.
These communities sent a profound message to the world that American citizens who have the largest per capita carbon footprint were willing to lead the way in reducing it, for the sake of the greater good. Paradoxically, rather than this being a sacrifice, they discovered it opened up a whole new set of unexpected benefits. People now knew their neighbors, their neighborhoods had become more resilient and livable, and civic participation had become the new coin of the realm for people young and old.
All this success spawned a strong sense of confidence, civic pride, and a can-do spirit in these communities. Combining this with the new competencies they had learned in how to engage the whole community and design transformative social innovations engendered an outpouring of social inventiveness. These cities were now not just devising new ways to reduce their carbon emissions, but generating solutions to a wide variety of social, environmental, and economic issues. They were also living the maxim that many hands make light work.
Knowledge of the bold social experiments taking place spread far and wide across the country and the world. A new hope pulsated everywhere, as a viable way had been found to overcome the paralysis that had gripped the planet for so many years. The climate change crisis had precipitated the reinvention of our cities and with it a newfound sense of possibility for our future. Carbon neutrality became the new cool symbol for progressive cites and their citizens around the world. We were on our way…