Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Show Your Vote for COP15

(Cross-posted from the Google Australia Blog

One of the benefits working at Google is the ability to spend 20% of your time on projects you are passionate about. Recently I was lucky enough to attend the Australian Conservation Foundation's Climate Project Summit, where I met Al Gore, and was trained as a Climate Project Presenter. This led me to devote my 20% time to develop Show Your Vote. Built as an open-source platform, Show Your Vote enables people around the world to tell the world's leaders to seal a fair and effective deal for climate change.

Some major environmental campaigns (including Earth Hour) as well as UNFCC, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, are now using Show Your Vote to help visualize public support of next week's COP 15, the Climate Change Conference taking place in Copenhagen.

No matter where you are in the world, see all the ways in which you can engage in the COP15 on this Virtual participation in COP15 page.

One of the big challenges in activating people on the issue of climate change is that there are a myriad of campaigns - big ones, small and local ones - taking place all over the world. I really wanted to provide a single platform that all campaigns and websites can use to collectively show the vote. So I developed a "web element" similar in function to Google Web Elements, which anyone can insert into a site so that people can vote and see the collective vote. They can also get educational tools on their own website by simply filling out the publisher form, and copying and pasting a single line of HTML code.

Google App Engine provides the hosting solution that makes this all possible. And I'd like to thank fellow Googlers Pamela Fox, Bob Aman, Rupert Breheny and Benjamin Kott for volunteering their time to make Show Your Vote possible.

Show Your Vote has three tabs: Vote, Explore, and Learn. The Vote tab allows individuals and organizations to show their vote.

The Explore tab displays individual votes aggregated by post code, and organizations by their own custom icons. The voting map is powered by the Google Maps API. Additionally, social networking tools powered by Google Friend Connect help people within the global community to share their messages of support. Individual votes are aggregated into postal codes, and organizations can upload their own icon to the map.

Finally, the Learn tab contains rich educational pieces, narrated by some of the top names in science, NGOs and the political world. These tours were created by the Google Earth Outreach team using Google Earth's new touring capabilities.

In the countdown to COP15, I'm hoping that we can collect enough of a global public show of support to amplify the need to change climate change, drive collective action, and reinforce the need for our world leaders to act now. Please join me in helping to show the vote!

Posted by Justin Baird, Innovationist, Google Australia

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