#BoulderEarthWeek 2016: Reflecting

I remember exactly what I did on Earth Day last year…because there wasn’t much to do.

At least, nothing I could find information about. So I gardened, wrote, and biked to what would be one of C3 Boulder’s first group meetings (we had margs at Centro).

After cheersing to our sweet, beleaguered Mother Earth, a group of us voiced frustrations about the fact that there were virtually no well-marketed community-wide celebrations happening on a day that once brought tens of millions of people together, marching in the streets for a more just and sustainable future.

And with that conversation, the wheels were set in motion.

This time next year, we agreed, this time next year, we will coordinate a concerted Earth Day movement (celebration!) in Boulder. Furthermore, we agreed that it couldn’t just be the usual suspects—we needed our whole community to come together in celebration, as a unified force.

One year later, it’s amazing to think that we held true to that agreement.

The City of Boulder helped to set the stage by declaring April 18th-24th “Earth Week” as “a forum in which these many important [environmental] efforts and innovations be given an opportunity to be highlighted and promoted as part of a community-wide collaboration to rise to this [climate] challenge and power a vibrant, healthy and sustainable future.”

As it stands, #BoulderEarthWeek 2016 finished with almost 40 events (the official tally was 39, though I’m sure we missed a few in our shared calendar ;) and more than 30 collaborating organizations from all across our community. The successes and celebrations are too many to list, though we've compiled a few highlights:

- CU EarthFest had up to 700 attendees throughout the day on Friday!

- The community mural made front page of the Daily Camera with the headline, "Celebrating Mother Nature" (amen!)

- The live-stream of the sold-out #TogetherWeWill event at eTown has been watched more than 300 times (Missed it? Watch here.)

Boulder.earth had more than 2,600 views over the course of the week!

- David Adamson gave so many rides in his ELF during the Fossil Free Your Life block party event that we had to recharge it!

- The BoCo Youth Climate Challenge awarded $500 to "Clean Venture," an all-girls team from Monarch High School.

- Hashtags #BOCOTogetherWeWill and #BoulderEarthWeek garnered more than hundred unique posts

It was an honor and a privilege to get to dream, scheme and do with folks from all sectors of our community—business, tech, government, high school students, artists, activists, scientists, entertainers... For the first time (since 1997!) we truly co-created a comprehensive week where we gave life to a community-wide dialogue around what we want our collective future to look like.

From recognizing the climate giants of our community, Leslie Glustrom and the Tech Team, who have been tirelessly working to legitimize a more energy secure future, to giving high schoolers a chance to dream up ways to create a more united and sustainable community culture in their own backyard, to providing a platform (www.earthdeeds.com) through which community members could support local efforts around climate issues while learning about their personal carbon footprint and “onsetting” the difference—we really did declare 2016 as the year we turned up the level of collaboration to ensure a better future for all.

We prototyped a community calendar—a place where we could all see the amazing, connected work of our community together in one space. And, perhaps, the beauty of gathering and celebrating during #BoulderEarthWeek wasn’t necessarily about what happened during the week—but rather it was about how our Boulder community comes together to create a thriving future in the face of climate change.

What’s next? Here are a few ways we can all harness the momentum of #BoulderEarthWeek and act on climate:


Join a global wave of resistance to Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground. It’s time for a just transition to 100% renewable energy. “Colorado is at a crossroads: The fossil fuel industry is invading our neighborhoods and suing our communities when we try to protect ourselves with bans or moratoria. We can lie down, or we can rise up to defend our health and homes.


When: Thursday, May 12th @ 12 p.m.

Where: Holiday Inn Denver Lakewood - 7390 W Hampden Ave, Lakewood, CO 80227

What: On May 12th, the Bureau of Land Management intends to auction off public lands in CO for fracking — and the movement intends to be there to tell them to keep it in the ground! RSVP on fb here.



When: May 14, 2016 @sunrise

Where: Wagon Road Park n' Ride (600 W 120th Ave, Westminster, CO). We will transport you to the site (public open space land adjacent to proposed industrial-sized fracking site in a neighborhood. We are keeping the exact location confidential for now.)

What: Together in #SOLIDARITY we will share a day of action with live music, speakers, Art, and kid's activities, yoga, and MORE! Come network about #solutions, and the transition to a fossil fuel free lifestyle. RSVP here!


Cleaner, cheaper, healthier energy is here. It’s time for leaders across the U.S. to commit to 100% clean and renewable energy for all. See how your city ranks and take action here!


A campaign launched by a Boulder community member: take your clothes out of the dryer and hang them up to dry—indoors or outside! Save electricity, money and wear and tear on your clothes. Anyone can participate anywhere, anytime, no matter where you are:

- Hang your clothes

- Post your own photos on Facebook and put your own posters, in Laundromats, Laundry Rooms and Neighborhoods

- Tell your friends and neighbors!

Check out this awesome song about putting your love on the line!!

- Questions? Comments? Photos? Email Bonnie Sundance (BonnieSundance@gmail.com)

For more information about #BoulderEarthWeek, visit boulder.earth. For more information about C3 Boulder, visit c3boulder.co.

Did you have any reflections you'd like to share? Post them here, we're eager to read!

Blog for Impact Hub: The Power of Collective Visioning.

Eight months ago members of Boulder’s climate community came together at the Boulder International Film Festival Global Town Hall event, eager to move from inspiration to action. Collaboration! They cried, we need collaboration!

And it was true—with over 100 environmentally oriented organizations, and more than 3,000 climate scientists, Boulder tops the charts on eco activity. Where else could one attend five different summits/conferences/talks/workshops about transitioning to renewable energy in a single month?


The hitch is, that abundance can become redundant. We often find ourselves recreating the wheel, spending precious resources, frequently with little long-term forward momentum to show for it.

The Global Town Hall attendees, representing different cross-sections of the community, agreed to continue talks of collaborative dreams at the Impact Hub—a perfect location for ideas to flow and grow.

Thoughts bubbled during the first few meetings: Imagine if we could create a shared calendar where all of these different groups could connect and share ideas, resources and strategies? Even job opportunities? Our collective impact would be tremendous!

The Climate Culture Collaborative (C3 Boulder) was born. We are a community effort dedicated to fostering connectivity and nourishing innovation around climate change.

We meet at the Impact Hub, grateful for the meshing of minds that it allows—because, really, at the end of the day the need for collaboration isn’t limited to our climate community.

From campus life at CU, Naropa and Watson University, to the flourishing downtown tech and business sectors…we are all seeking ways to connect in new and meaningful ways to create a bright and beautiful future.

What’s more, these answers can’t just come from one section of our society. In order for them to really work we need co-ownership from all corners.

To address this notion, we launched an MIT Climate CoLab global contest in partnership with Resilient Boulder, MIT and the City of Boulder seeking proposals that addressed the question, “How can we build community engagement and connectivity around climate change?”

New creative innovations are waiting to emerge, whether it be a mobile application, a web portal or a new format for bringing problem solvers together.

When we effectively come together as a community, with an open agenda and a willingness to collaborate, one plus one can actually equal greater than two. And when our window of opportunity for meaningful impact is narrow—it’s imperative that our whole equal greater than the sum of our parts.

An example of how this concept works in action is C3 Boulder’s 4-part COP21 event series.

The first two of these events are taking place at the Bohemian Biergarten, bringing people away from their delineated sectors and creating an open (and fun!) forum for networking and brainstorming to take place.

Rather than being talked at by presenters, the majority of the event is spent in breakout sessions where people can combine ideas and agendas, creating inclusive solutions.

The third and fourth (and arguably most important) of these events will be held at the Impact Hub—another location that allows for interaction between business, academia, technology and climate. We are convening a community of thinkers, creators and doers, and we can combine our efforts and our minds, to create a gameplan for lasting impact.

These events are the beginning of bringing the community together to create a common dialogue around what the future of collaboration in Boulder will look like (a beautiful U.Lab approach). We’re building towards a comprehensive Earth Week (April 18-22) where we’ll be calling on community conveners to co-author a week long celebration of the climate action in Boulder, and where we will launch our collaborative tool.

We’re ready to work hand-in-hand with our neighbors to create these solutions and to serve as a model for communities around the world! Want to join the conversation? Here are two ways to get involved:

  1. Hylo: our online collaborative platform where we can connect ideas and share events

  2. MIT Climate CoLab: a global contest being hosted by C3 Boulder: Climate Culture Collaborative, Resilient Boulder and the City in partnership with MIT seeking to answer the question, “how can we build community engagement and connectivity around climate change?” Submit your best idea!


Author: Emma Ruffin | collaborate@c3boulder.co