ClimateMeme2 — The Search for Hope and Healing

Imagine all of humanity coming together to face global warming

Please take a moment to donate to our new crowdfunding campaign! We are culture designers who specialize in the spread of ideas, stories, and helpful social behaviors.

Last year our Climate Meme Project revealed the cultural drivers of the conversation about global warming.  What we discovered was that the idea of global warming is psychologically damaging and creates trauma in the minds of those who come together to advocate for it – and drives many to strive to discredit it.  We found ourselves realizing that our goal is not to spread the concern about climate change.  That would only make more people scared, anxious, and filled with despair.

What we really need is hope and healing.  We need loving compassion toward ourselves, each other and towards our planet Earth.  And we need positive visions of the future that cross ideological lines and cultivate unity among people who have come to feel divided.

ClimateMeme2 is a project of culture design.  Our research target is Middle America’s middle income housewives. We will map out the idea landscapes for people who are immune to the psychological threat of global warming.  

Along the way, we will discover the stories that make people strong in the face of crisis. These will be the stories we will go out and spread to help humanity tackle the global challenge of climate change. We need these stories to share that make us strong in the face of crisis.

The focus of this project is to interview those people who did not catch the “global warming thought virus” and learn how they are able to cope — and even thrive — in our rapidly changing world.  (This will tell us a lot about what it takes for others to be hopeful about the future.)  We will then compare what we find with the insights from ClimateMeme1 to create and spread memes that are symbiotic to humans: those who will be infected will care about the climate and the planet and still maintain a hopeful view on our common future.

Here is a slideshow presentation to learn more about ClimateMeme1:

By donating to our campaign, you will help bring healing to the world, and most importantly, heal ourselves.

Thank you!


Important Note:  A big research study like this costs $80,000.  We would like the whole project funded, but are willing to do it for $20,000 (see budget below).  If you guys can help us by raising more than $20K, that would mean that our work could be partially paid.  We would like to knock this one out of the park with your help, so PLEASE DONATE.


Methodology, Budget and Timeline

Our culture design process builds on what is called “meme science” — which can be thought of as the study of spreading behavior for ideas and behaviors in a society. ClimateMeme2 will begin with a research study that is followed by communication design and campaign actions.

The research study involves the following steps:

  1. Gather memes about the topic we want to study (in this case, how people who are not infected by the global warming virus think about the world and the future of humanity);
  2. Put these memes into a database where we rank them using a set of semantic filters that have been custom-made for this research project;
  3. Conduct a statistical analysis to reveal how the themes contained in the meme database cluster together;
  4. Analyze the language patterns in these clusters of themes to reveal hidden “resonance points” in the conversation where people are conflicted about the issue;
  5. Produce a report and slide deck of our findings and make them available in the public domain.

We will gather memes using a combination of in-depth interviews and focus groups.  Our target audience is middle income housewives in the Midwestern United States who have not become climate activists.  We will recruit participants on the crowdsourcing work site, Amazon Turk, by employing a set of demographic filters to attract people who match this description.

The research component will begin in mid-February when we complete the fundraising round here on RocketHub.  We will gather memes in February and March, analyze them in early April, and distribute our findings in the beginning of May.

This is a big research study that would normally cost $80,000.  Lazlo Karafiath and Joe Brewer are donating their time to the effort in the service of humanity, enabling us to complete the work at a fraction of its normal cost.  We will spend the money raised here to pay for the following:

  • Hire a Project Manager for communications across the team
  • Pay for a Technology Partner to mine Twitter and harvest memes
  • Bring on a Research Assistance to rank the memes in the database
  • Pay our Research Partners in Hungary to perform the statistical analysis.

Of course, if we break past our fundraising target there are lots of ways to expand the scope of this project and begin working with our global network of action partners to spread good memes!

Cognitive Policy Works specializes in providing organizations and individuals with frame analysis, policy briefs, strategic advising, and training.