Dobell Keynote

Video Clips from

Climate Science, Civil Service and Civic Society:
The Long Haul to Low Carbon Societies

Rod Dobell’s keynote address to the recent symposium “BC’s Climate Change Agenda: 
Changing Culture, Sustaining Momentum and Building Careers” (January 21-22 2009, Victoria BC). The videoclips that were part of the presentation are below, and the presentation deck itself are also available (the the PowerPoint slide deck is here and the pdf of the slide deck is here.).

1. Rick Mercer’s Parody of Crackberry Addicts: not at all germane to the topic, this parody was intended as an alternative to kvetching to everyone to put their Blackberry away.

2. Surprise! Andrew Weaver and the Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice (as told by Al Gore): Andrew Weaver cites the Arctic sea ice — 2007 evidence way outside the scenarios in IPCC—people don’t realize how stunned were the climate scientists. Here, Al Gore tells the story of the shocking summer of 2007. Just think – an ice free Arctic Ocean by 2012!

3. Institutional Aspects: Governance Issues – David Keith talks about geoengineering, and how we are applying science and engineering to the climate crisis … but it’s not clear that we have a handle on the implications.

4. What is Web 2.0 Anyway? For the past 15+ years, the Internet has profoundly change our lives – and changed us. Now the Internet itself is undergoing its own transformation with the adoption of technologies collectively called Web 2.0. This second generation web is characterized by emergence of the Internet as a participatory platform, with the distinction between consumers and producers blurred. The shift from user-selected content to user-created content has significantly changed our on-line interactions – and has the potential to change our social interactions with it. If Gutenberg’s revolution was centred on the mass production of printed texts, then the innovation in Web 2.0 lies in its facility to allow anyone to become a virtual pamphleteer.

Web 2.0 Vocabulary

Web 2.0 Vocabulary

Gov 2.0:  We use the term Web 2.0 to describe recent changes in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that facilitate enhanced creativity, communication, collaboration and function. (While the term “Web 2.0” is somewhat new, the literature in computer-supported cooperative work (cscw) and computer-mediated cooperation (cmc) systems is robust. The application of cscw and cmc to civic engagement and policy development has a shorter history, but one which Whitehall Policy Consulting and its associates have been at the forefront of. In our opinion, Web 2.0 is siply the current manifestation of this long history of cscw and cmc.).

Web 2.0 technologies – such as blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), wikis, mashups, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking, content sharing and tagging – continue to grow in popularity and function.

Principally used for social activities (e.g., Facebook and MySpace continue to be cited as principle examples of Web 2.0 applications), Web 2.0 has also been deployed in a number of corporate environments for marketing and operations management (McAfee, 2006). Under the name of Enterprise 2.0, tools such as wikis and blogs have seen widespread uptake. Organizations have years of experience with a range of communication media – email, telephony, intranets and document management systems. What Enterprise 2.0 seeks to accomplish is to reduce the traditional management function of coordination necessary in running large organizations and instead builds that coordination function into the infrastructure.

5. Is Web2.0 Just a Fad? Clay Shirky (at TED Oxford, July 2005) says this is the way of the future, will entail massive readjustments in institutional life; we can see it coming.  This is your future.  We—you—might as well get good at it.  To deal with problems like climate change, public servants must do so.

6. Implications for Public Servants: Clay Shirky (at TED Oxford, July 2005) again. We will face the challenge of detecting merit in a setting of unconstrained individual contributions.  How to know when an unaccredited source has contributed something credible, usable?  How to filter a signal from the noise of all these individual contributions together.

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The Premier doth protest too much

The British Columbia Climate Action Secretariat has been moved from the Premier’s Office to the Ministry of Environment. In fact, the Minister of Environment is also identified as the Minister Responsible for Climate Action.

Reminds me of June 2005 when the Minister was also responsible for Sustainable Communities and Water Stewardship. Didn’t take long for those business cards to be shortened. The Premier went out of his way to say this doesn’t signal a change in priorities.

On the DM dance front, Graham Whitmarsh is to replace Chris Trumpy as DM Finance in April.

Crowdsourcing Policy Analysis

Change.gov has ramped up the crowdsourcing idea a bit more by soliciting policy proposals from the masses to build a “Citizen’s Briefing Book“. This is similar to the Open Questions app the site was running late last year.

Once you log in (no validation required!!), you can submit your brilliant policy idea and vote up or down on the ideas already submitted. The transition team will collect the best ideas and present them to the President-Elect in a briefing book.

Screen Capture from Citizen's Briefing Book

Screen Capture from Citizen's Briefing Book

The primitive stage will soon pass. But, for now, it’s an entertaining ride.