Climate Smart Contest for SMEs

The Government of British Columbia is running a contest to awards 20 scholarships for Ecotrust Canada’s Climate Smart program for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Join a group of 10-15 enterprises for three, half-day workshops over 10 weeks run by climate change experts experienced in advising SMEs. Climate Smart is comprehensive, business case-based training that will help your firm create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identify reduction strategies with a focus on cost savings and brand lift. It is designed to train key staff and provide you with the tools to become more competitive in an era of carbon regulation and volatile energy prices. The program also provides four hours of one-on-one technical support to assist companies and to carry out a final review and approval of the inventory.

Winning firms will be chosen through a random draw and will be profiled on the LiveSmart BC website upon completion of the Climate Smart program. Winners will be expected to attend all three workshops and to carry out the necessary data-gathering efforts to prepare their greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Scholarships are valued at $1500.

More Public Policy Crowdsourcing – UK MPs Expenses

There has been an MPs expense scandal going on in the UK for a while now. Leaked expenses reports were published in daily installments by the Telegraph starting in May 2009. Whoppers have been revealed showing MPs from all parties with their snouts in the trough (“and most of them have got their front trotters in as well” – Yes, Minister).

United Kingdom MPs can claim expenses that are “wholly, exclusively and necessarily incurred for the performance of a Member’s parliamentary duties”. After some FoI efforts were blocked, the High Court ruled in May 2009 that details of MP’s expenses claim should be released. On June 18 2009 the details of all MPs’ expenses and allowance claims that were approved between 2004 and 2008 were published on Parliament’s website.

Here’s where the Guardian’s crowdsourcing exercise comes in. The documents are generally image scans of expense claim forms, with handwritten data and receipts that can be difficult to decipher. There are about half a million pages – but using crowdsourcing and tapping into the cognitive surplus of interested volunteers, almost half of those have been reviewed already.

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TransparencyCorp – Clickworkers for the Policy Wonk

The Sunlight Foundation has launched what it’s calling Transparency Corps. The civic minded policy wonk can devote a couple spare cycles to vetting earmark requests and other tasks that computers still need us humans to tackle. I wasn’t able to copy and paste the text from the pdfs (I had to go through a process of saving the pdf, then running OCR in Acrobat), but like all good crowdsourcing projects, it was nice to feel like I was contributing something regardless of how small. Continue reading