What is a Climate Action Platform?

Climate change is a human issue, and we humans can do something about it. Addressing climate change, an issue affecting the entire planet, requires action at all levels of society – including changes in our lifestyles. A study by Project Drawdown revealed such actions potentially reduce 25 to 30 percent of the total emissions needed to avoid the worst of climate change.

Yet, while engaging the world’s population in individual action presents great opportunity, it also has its hurdles. Despite the dimension of the issue, alarm over climate alone doesn’t automatically lead to personal action (1). This action gap is what Climate Action Platforms address, the speed bumps that prevent engagement and action:

“Realistically, can I, as an individual, make a difference on climate change?”

“What is the most impactful thing I can do? How can I go about it?”

“How can I persuade others to join me?”

Do any of these questions sound familiar? If so, Climate Action Platforms might be just what you need to engage an audience to become a part of the climate solution.
Read on…

What’s the purpose of a Climate Action Platform?

Climate Action Platforms can achieve three related goals:

  1. Help individuals reduce their emissions — with increasingly extreme weather and natural disasters, people around the globe are growing alarmed and concerned about climate change. Climate Action Platforms seek to equip individuals with powerful household-level behaviors they can adopt to significantly reduce emissions, making a huge challenge feel accessible one step at a time.
  2. Motivate individuals to act collectively — doing stuff alone can feel unimpactful, and as such unmotivating. But when we see the actions are important to our peer group, they become important to us, and this social expectation (2) incentivizes us to take them and keep them up. Climate Action Platforms aim to show individuals that they aren’t alone in wanting to make a difference, and that in fact their action alongside others can quickly add up to something bigger.
  3. Contribute to systems change — systems, no matter how big, are made up by human leaders who, as well as having the power to influence (3), are swayed by their voters and consumers. Climate Action Platforms can provide evidence of the power of collective action by demonstrating the growing number of people who are making changes, signaling to leaders there is a real market demand for system changes showing up as increasingly popular policies and business opportunities.

So, what’s a climate action?

A climate action is a specific request of an individual that, if taken along with other people, enables us to own our power to make change. It sparks bottom-up momentum towards climate solutions, creates an estimable material impact, and results in pressure for policymakers and institutions to accelerate the transition. Climate actions are often related to choices or changes on food, transportation, travel, money, energy, shopping, nature, conversation and activism.

Whether they’re referred to as actions, steps, challenges, or shifts, every climate action matters on a Climate Action Platform.

Some actions may favor momentum and inclusion over the magnitude of estimated emissions reduction. Other actions may emphasize less direct but higher-level influence on emissions, such as putting pressure on organizations or institutions with more leverage for change. What’s important is that each action’s path to positive climate impact must be evident, shareable, and scalable for Climate Action Platforms to achieve their goals.

Is a Climate Action Platform simply a set of climate actions?

No. Climate Action Platforms offer more than just awareness of actions that matter, because information alone doesn’t often lead to action (4).

A Climate Action Platform is a digital experience to engage individuals collectively in select climate actions, measure the potential carbon impact of their action and allow tailoring to different audiences and campaigns.

Climate Action Platforms may employ a range of mechanisms to engaging people and drive adoption of the actions:

  • Game mechanics — feedback loops and rules to keep users engaged and create a feeling of progress, competition, or collective wins along the way
  • Pledging — to create commitment to change when the action can take additional time or effort to complete
  • Social Influence — to leverage the behavior, belief, and expectations of others
  • Nudging — use of timely prompts, attention, and the framing and presentation of options to increase the likelihood of change
  • Personal Assessment — gathering insights about the individual in order to make action recommendations that are more relevant and appealing

Despite all their capabilities, a Climate Action Platform alone is not sufficient for driving a target audience to adopt a set of climate actions. What makes a platform a platform is the customizability and programmability to fit into coordinated, broader engagement strategies to create awareness, sustain engagement, and drive adoption across the target population. As such, different instances of the platform can be created for different messengers, audiences, and campaigns. A given Climate Action Platform may allow for:

  • Selecting a subset of actions or customization of actions
  • Custom branded campaigns or experiences
  • Tracking and analytics of the specifically targeted audience, often publicly displaying results including total people engaged, actions taken, or emissions saved
  • Modifications to the engagement mechanisms employed, such as point systems, incentives, or techniques for creating social influence

Many implementations of Climate Action Platforms integrate with marketing and communications campaigns, influencers, corporate or government incentives, events, and a host of other tools to create salience, access, and motivation for the target audience. And to make actions easier to complete, some Climate Action Platforms integrate or point to specific services that specialize in the fulfilment of an action.

Who are Climate Action Platforms made for?

Most people around the world believe human-caused climate change is happening – 64% believe it constitutes a global emergency1. In fact, in 21 of 31 countries surveyed by YPCCC, Climate Alarmed is the single largest group. (5)

Indeed, the individual action Climate Action Platforms propose addresses a growing pain point for this audience: climate anxiety. There’s been a significant increase in the acute and chronic mental health effects from the growing awareness of climate change. And it’s worse among the global youth, with 77% saying “the future was frightening”. (6)

One of the top suggestions for reducing this emotional suffering is taking action towards solutions, ideally in a way that creates social connection (7). While not a panacea, Climate Action Platforms highlight actions that matter and create a sense of collective agency, movement of a critical mass of people towards solutions. So, beyond appealing to individuals, Climate Action Platforms focus on catalyzing groups of people who are likely to make changes together. That means families, friends, neighbors, colleagues, religious communities, interest clubs, etc.

And, because most of the world’s household emissions come from high-income countries, Climate Action Platforms are broadly designed to educate and empower citizens of high-income countries, who have the means to make significant, reasonable changes in their life to catalyze broad climate action.

What Climate Action Platform should I choose?

There is a great and growing range of Climate Action Platforms, all improving, and enrolling and engaging more people. To make the different approaches and benefits of each clearer to you, we’ve compiled a Climate Action Platform Inventory.

If you’d like to recommend other platforms we should consider adding to the inventory, please let us know.

If you represent an organization such as an employer, consumer brand, or community group, the time is here to become part of the climate solution. Individuals are anxious to see and become a part of the solution, and the wealth and range of Climate Action Platforms make it quite possible for your organization to show how. We’re sharing all this so you can step up and do the right thing now.


  1. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/segmenting-the-climate-change-alarmed-active-willing-and-inactive/#:~:text=We%20identified%20three%20distinct%20groups%20within%20the%20Alarmed
  2. The relevance of social expectations have been demonstrated for solar panels, Bollinger & Gillingham, 2012; Graziano & Gillingham, 2015), meatless meals (Sparkman & Walton, 2017), and food waste (Nomura, John, & Cotterill, 2011)
  3. Heller, Kate, et al. “Six Behaviors Policymakers Should Promote to Mitigate Climate Change.” Behavior Science & Policy, vol. 7, no. 2, 2021, pp. 62-73, https://behavioralpolicy.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/BSP_Journal_Volume7_Issue2.pdf
  4. Rare, “Levers of Behaivor Change” https://behavior.rare.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Understanding-Behavior-Change-Levers-and-Strategies-scroll-July-2021-.pdf
  5. Leiserowitz, A., Carman, J., Buttermore, N., Wang, X., Rosenthal, S., Marlon, J., & Mulcahy, K. (2021). International Public Opinion on Climate Change. New Haven, CT: Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and Facebook Data for Good. https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/international-climate-opinion-february-2021d.pdf
  6. Cunsolo. A., Harper, S.L.,. Minor, K., Hayes, K., Williams, K.G,, Howard, C. (2020). Ecological grief and anxiety: the start of a healthy response to climate change? The Lancet Planetary Health, 4, e261-e263, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30144-3
  7. Cunsolo. A., Harper, S.L.,. Minor, K., Hayes, K., Williams, K.G,, Howard, C. (2020). Ecological grief and anxiety: the start of a healthy response to climate change? The Lancet Planetary Health, 4, e261-e263, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(20)30144-3

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This post was produced in collaboration with Rare, a global conversation non-profit specializing in social change for the environment. Rare is part of the Count Us In leadership team. Together, we are working to share data and insights as part of a public good, intended to help anyone who sees themselves as part of the movement to address climate change, the biggest challenge humanity faces.

Count Us In harnesses the power of popular culture to inspire and engage mainstream audiences to take climate action – driving wider systems change. With a network of 100+ partners, including climate action platforms, we can help you find the right match for your audience, objectives and campaign. Get in touch.

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