Tag Archives: Jonny Dubowsky

Our Climate Mobilizes and Empowers Science-based Climate Policy Through Creative Civic Engagement.

Our Climate Participatory Art Project
Our Climate’s participatory art project is an inspiring example of the types of projects Rock ‘n Renew sponsors and collaborates with to connect younger generations most effected by climate change to methods and practices that have proven to be effective in initiating change.

Our Climate began as a living room brainstorming session, grew to a statewide movement recognized for its ability to mobilize students and millennials, and is now a nation-wide, millennial-led movement to put a price on carbon pollution.

Their story begins in 2013, when several 20-somethings in rural Southern Oregon organized a participatory community art project to demand action on climate. The project invited churches, community groups, and schools from across the region to decorate cardboard “tiles” demonstrating their love of place. Over 1000 people contributed their unique tiles, which were then assembled to create a 120-foot long salmon mosaic, a powerful symbol for the Northwest. The power of creative, inclusive citizens action is part of Our Climate’s DNA.

The success of the salmon mosaic proved that people – especially young people – are ready to act on climate. As the crowds dissipated, we realized that apathy about the problem is a lesser foe than cynicism and ignorance about solutions. It was time for this overwhelming community support to result in concrete change at the scale of the problem. And so, with inspiration from the Citizens Climate Lobby, we set our sights on passing a carbon fee and dividend on the state level to train new activists and serve as a model for federal action.

In the short time from the salmon mosaic through 2016, Our Climate – first known as Oregon Climate – made big waves at the state level and proved the importance of targeted, youth-led advocacy. Our work in the 2013 legislative session led to the passage of a carbon pricing study bill, which has served as an example for other states considering the economic impact of such a policy. We’ve turned out hundreds of volunteers and students from across the state to testify on behalf of carbon price and dividend legislation; in 2015, a bill that had been deemed politically unrealistic passed two committees and garnered the collective support of dozens of legislators. Six local governments passed resolutions in support of carbon pricing, thanks to our dedicated volunteers. By 2016, legislators, allied organizations, and the media all recognized that enacting a price on carbon was the number one priority for the environmental community. Legislators have told us time and time again that the voice of constituents – especially those who have the most to lose when it comes to climate – has driven this momentum.

Other states began noticing our work, and soon we found ourselves at the helm of a new generation of focused, results-oriented climate legislation advocacy. In the fall 2015, a National Geographic documentary series, called the Years of Living Dangerously, discovered us at a student conference in Southern California. After years traveling the globe documenting climate destruction and interviewing experts about solutions, they too were convinced of the urgency to price carbon and the unique power of young advocates. A strong partnership was forged. Our Climate launched into the national arena in pursuit of our original goal: fair and effective federal legislation.

The Rock ‘n Renew Social Innovation Lab

Complex social problems are solved by creative problem solvers, with access to the best technology available. When creative problem solvers are given the best tools, and have access to each other, to work collaboratively with industry leaders, their communities, and local governments, and innovative businesses, this leads to truly innovative solutions to our biggest problems.

Rock ‘n Renew is preparing for a big announcement this summer, as co-founder Jonny Dubowsky has been working at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) developing a new project:
The Rock ‘n Renew Social Innovation Lab.
kite mapping

As technology rapidly advances, a growing number of new tools and systems have appeared, offering affordable and accessible new solutions to many social and natural capital problems our communities face.  Rock ‘n Renew is working with some of the world’s leading experts in a variety of interdisciplinary fields, to create sustainability solutions that harness the most advanced technology available.

New technologies are quickly creating a number of new jobs as well, and the Rock ‘n Renew Social Innovation Lab will provide educational training and guidance to the k-12 and college students we work with.

Stay tuned for a more detailed announcement as we prepare for a Fall launch of this exciting program.

In the meantime, check out some of the resources we will use in cultivating social innovation in your community.



Peas, Emerging From The Deep Freeze

Peas photo Copyright:NY Times April 30/2014
Peas photo Copyright:NY Times April 30/2014

Peas, Emerging From The Deep Freeze

By  published in The New York Times: April 30, 2014

Which cuisine do you think of when you think about peas? French, with petits pois aux laitues? Italian, which offers piselli con prosciutto? Indian, and its mutter paneer? British, with buttered peas with mint?

And when you reach for peas, are they frozen or fresh?

Worldwide, most peas are consumed straight from the deep freeze. Many would argue that frozen peas are the better choice, for quality. They certainly can’t be beat in terms of convenience, and they do taste good. I am not immune to their charms when pea season is still a ways off.

Continue reading Peas, Emerging From The Deep Freeze

Food….Grows In The Ground! Local Gardens Rock!

Local Gardens Rock! It’s just not always clear to 3rd graders why they rock. It’s always funny to me when I talk with younger students about food and where it comes from.

Some kids are shocked to learn that apples are grown just 10 miles from the city, and that watermelons can be grown right in the heart of NYC. Local Gardens Rock! Instead of supporting food that has traveled 1500 mi to get to your plate, support your local farm, buy locally at the farmers market.

The video below reminds us how prolific even the scraps of our food-waste can be, as the gardener harvest over a pound of potatoes from the left-over skins. When I showed this to a group of 3rd grade students they were shocked to learn that their french fries came “from the ground”…. it’s amazing.

Our planet is so generous, and with such little effort we can return at least a portion of our food system to a localized one where we grow some of our food at home in a local garden, ie: right out your door. It’s a beautiful thing to do! Much easier to grab the herbs for your salad from within 2o ft of the table, and they taste so much better! Check out our Photo Stream for some inspiration


Meditative Thoughts for Autumn

“It is true that spring is fair, and it is a fine capacity of the human soul to perceive the beauty of the spring, the growing, sprouting, burgeoning life. But to be able to perceive also when the leaves fade and take on their fall coloring, when the animals creep away — to be able to feel how in the sensible which is dying away, the gleaming, shining, soul-spiritu

al element arises — to be able to perceive how with the yellowing of the leaves there is a descent of the springing and sprouting life, but how the sensible becomes yellow in order that the spiritual can live in the yellowing as such — to be able to perceive how in the falling of the leaves the ascent of the spirit takes place, how the spiritual is the counter-manifestation of the fading sense-perceptible; this should as a perceptive feeling for the spirit — ensoul the human being in autumn! Then he would prepare himself in the right way precisely for the new year.”by Rudolf Steiner

Source: The Cycle of the Year as Breathing-Process of the Earth, Lecture 3

Question: Do we need to understand dying in order to truly live? Is an awareness of the death of nature, the loss of the leaves, the decomposing of their “body”, only to nurture and feed the soil and provide new life again, is this understanding the thing that is lacking from a majority of our culture? Is this very thing behind the “Black Friday” mentality of shopping, the cause of some of our problems within our precious ecosystems? We cannot consume only, we must give back, one way or another no matter gained or lost, so limitless consumption and growth cannot be supported. It’s not politics, it’s mathematics.
As they say on SNL’s Coffe Talk (Tawk), Talk amongst yourselves (but leave a comment here).

Journey North- Climate Study off to a great start!


Planting the garden. field data TulipInquiry04

Tracking Change in Seasons and Climate Around the Globe
In this international science experiment, students across the northern hemisphere plant tulip bulbs in their Journey North Test Gardens each fall. When the plants emerge and bloom, children announce that spring has arrived in their part of the world.

One garden at a time, the relationship between climate, geography and the arrival of spring is revealed. Students make observations in their own hometown, and watch the wave of spring as it moves across the globe.

This project enlists the help of students as citizen scientists to monitor seasonal change in a scientific way. As plants develop and grow they reveal the effects of the local climate. Over time, the timing of plant growth can be used as an indicator of climate change. Students contribute valuable observations to a long-term database.

Tulips as Tools
The kids use tulips to measure the arrival of spring. They take part in a BIG experiment with Journey North. 
Everybody plants tulip gardens in the fall. All of the kids plant their gardens in exactly the same way. This experiment lets them measure spring’s arrival in a scientific way.
Watching and Waiting
Students monitor the garden carefully throughout the winter. When the tulips emerge from the ground in the spring the kids in each location share their news. Everyone’s garden information is reported to Journey North.