‘Don’t Choose Extinction’ and Other Ways Innovators Can Make a Climate Difference

Dallas Innovates recently caught up with EarthX's Rose Stark to recap the nonprofit's involvement at November's COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland.

Here are takeaways.

In a short film, Frankie the Dino, who “knows a thing or two about extinction” urges world leaders not to choose extinction.

The talking dinosaur, voiced by actor Jack Black, kicked off the U.N.’s “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign at the COP26 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland last November. 

A contingent of Dallasites from environmental conservation nonprofit EarthX—including founder Trammell S. Crow, then-Co-CEOs Lynn McBee and Michael Fletcher, and SVP of Impact Matt Tranchin—hosted the premiere of the “Don’t Choose Extinction” campaign to end fossil fuel subsidies, along with a series of events.

World Premiere of ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’

Frankie The Dino addresses the UN General Assembly with a message for our species. [Image: Video screenshot]

In the video, Frankie says humans need to stop making excuses and start making changes to address the climate crisis.

“At least we had an asteroid. What’s your excuse?,” Frankie says, adding the punchline: “Imagine if we expend hundreds of billions per year subsidizing giant meteorites. That’s what you’re doing right now.”

EarthX wasn’t involved in making the video, but as the campaign’s exclusive nonprofit media partner, it’s intimately involved in developing and executing the U.N. campaign’s strategy.

We recently caught up with EarthX’s Rose Stark to recap the Dallas-based nonprofit’s involvement. “We’ll be co-organizing events and creating partnerships to amplify the campaign’s impact throughout 2022 in the lead up to COP27,” Stark said. 

[Image: Video screenshot]

Stark believes the video is memorable “because it took a serious issue like climate change and turned it on its head using humor and allowing important messages to penetrate.” 

She also emphasizes the value of marketing and media partnerships to address climate change. “It’s our job to get people to understand the importance of what we’re facing and what they can do to help the future of our planet,” Stark says.

COP26 Takeaways

At COP26, for the first time ever, language was included by the UNFCCC (which hosts the COPs) that explicitly called for the phasing down of coal and fossil fuels. Also, nations agreed to double climate adaptation funding by 2025.

The EarthX team shared key takeaways:

+ After world leaders blocked efforts at COP24 and COP25 to formally welcome the science behind the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement, COP26 established consensus that limiting warming below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels was how success for the climate movement should be defined.

+ For the first time ever, language was included by the UNFCCC (which hosts the COPs) that explicitly called for the phasing down of coal and fossil fuels. This is a big deal.

+ Nations agreed to double climate adaptation funding by 2025.

+ Previously, nations were expected to revise their climate goals (known as Nationally Determined Contributions) every five years at COPs, but COP26 established that nations would need to revise their goals again heading into COP27

+ Island nations led the effort to create a Loss and Damages Financial Facility to provide resources for countries on the front lines of climate change, but it was not successful. This will be a focus at COP27.

How Innovators Can Make a Difference

“While world leaders came together to address the climate crisis, action is not happening at the scale or speed required,” EarthX told us. “That’s why it’s imperative that innovators design solutions that change humanity’s current trajectory.”

The organization encourages start-ups and businesses to “work more collaboratively with governments.”

Governments themselves are not structured to successfully innovate, but they can establish public-private partnerships to scale the impact of private sector and civic innovators.

How to Get Involved

Next up for EarthX: Commemorating Earth Day this April with the EarthX EXPO, an annual event to celebrate progress, hope, and innovation. Stay tuned for more details here. 

Also, the annual EarthX Film Festival will be held May 12-15 at the Dallas Arts District. Read about that in our story here.

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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