Come for the heat pump, stay for the (climate justice) revolution? A bold bet on a new kind of advocacy-focused business model

“Issue-based organizing has been the primary model of the Left for the last 40 years…and issue-based organizations do not grow to scale,” says Peter Murray, founder of US-based organization Accelerate Change.

Why It Matters

In Canada, many advocacy organizations struggle to raise the funds and grow their base to the scale where they can affect lasting policy change. Could it be because of a flaw in the traditional advocacy business model?

This summer, if all goes according to plan, residents in three regions of the country will be able to type their postal code into a new website and get a precise sense of the sometimes-deadly risks of climate change they face in their neighbourhood. 

In Vancouver, the unceded traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, for instance, it may be flooding, caused by extreme storms, unsafe indoor temperatures, caused by heat waves, or food insecurity, resulting from climate-related breaks in supply chains. 

But perhaps more important, even, than predictions of doom — the platform will also provide a draft plan for what residents can do about it: How to sign up for emergency weather alerts, get a grant to retrofit their house with a heat pump, or contact their local politician to demand better flood-proofing for the future. 

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