The Climate Economy has developed a simple 3-step model to illustrate the how we can cause the change we want to see.

The main goal of new venture creation under this model is behavior change.  To cause behavior change, we start with a vision of the future we want to see, for example:

The year is 2030. People in Carbondale, Illinois have embraced The Climate Economy, where businesses and lifestyles are good for the climate, the economy, and humanity. Everyone who can work has a job paying living wages and offering healthcare benefits. Community gardens and local farms make the city a destination for foodies and trainees for local food production. A massive recycling, composting and repurposing maker space combined with a biogas digester make the city a zero-waste leader. Solar panels provide the city with 100% clean, renewable energy. The community is a model for economic development and the people have the highest rate of life satisfaction and lowest rate of poverty in the country.

This is a beautiful vision for the small rural town of Carbondale, is it not? With the novel Climate Venture Map developed by The Climate Economy Education Inc, this is always where we start: our vision of the future. From there we commence on a journey that brings us to our Target Actions, or behaviors that result in direct improvements in people’s lives, our nurturing environment, and our method of productivity. After we determine the target action we want people to take, we have to understand the cause of the problem action and readjust motivation, ability and trigger to get to the target action, and identify our early adopters. Then we look at what we need or need to do to get it done. Then we do it! That’s how we cause the change we want to see. We use the climate venture map as our guide or compass.

Everything is location specific, so we dig up all the information and stakeholders we can find. Then we do a full Climate SWOT analysis, and think about possible different scenarios. We choose one or more, set our vision, and then we work out the CVM. (See the Climate SWOT and Scenarios Course for more info.)

Traditional business schools teach about economics and supply and demand, producing at the lowest cost and selling at the highest price possible, and as much as possible. In order to switch from an economy that destroys the environment, considers death from things like pollution acceptable, and results in big financial rewards for only a few, to one where everyone thrives authentically, we’re changing the goal posts. What we’re doing here is different: our goal is to cause positive change and we develop our activities around that. The Climate Venture Map will help people, businesses and organizations set up new “climate ventures,” which can be anything from a community group effort, to attempts to change practices in an existing business, to a completely new business. 

The climate ventures result in and reward what we want, the “products and services” of a climate venture, which is Target Actions. Target actions are individual human behaviors that:

  • Reduce Emissions and Waste (from energy and everything else we do),
  • Increase Community Resilience, and/or
  • Increase Human Well-Being (by becoming a more engaged citizen or helping those in need)


  • Learning – Taking a course on about transitioning to clean energy; taking a course on community resilience; taking a course on how to start a group in your community; getting a degree in climate science or clean energy; learning how to make biochar or improve the energy efficiency of your house
  • Creating –  Building a course to teach people your area of expertise for e.g. reducing emissions; starting a new community group or a group effort; creating a new climate venture that helps people reduce emissions; starting a neighborhood group to increase community cohesion and disaster preparedness
  • Doing – Taking target actions to improve the energy efficiency of your home, participate in a community group or effort, get solar energy in your home, drive less, reduce your consumption and waste

If possible , we’d like to be able to make our target actions measurable and verifiable, so that we can quantify and reward people for specific actions that reduce emissions and can be credited to the person.

On the Climate Economy’s site for collaborative change, All4.Earth, people can earn points for taking target actions on the site, such as completing a course, participating in an online group, sharing content and getting others to join. You can also learn about other target actions you can take offline and how to get involved in local climate ventures.

We won’t always need points or rewards to get people to take target actions, but for now we want to make it fun, easy and understandable. Instead of doom and gloom and giving up, we’re moving towards a fabulous future. To visualize and plan out business models and lifestyles that are good for the climate, economy and humanity, we have developed the following unique visual representation:

Climate Venture Map with Sheilds


The Climate Venture Map is a ground-up tool to transform our economy so that we first do no harm to people or planet, and finally result in quality lives and productivity for everyone. We identify behaviors that need to change, and guide people through the transformation, always with the cleaner, better future end goal in mind. We always keep our most vulnerable populations front and center and create a future where everyone can lead healthy, productive lives.

We measure progress with the Sheild.

Lessons Integrated Into the Climate Venture Map

Many useful tools and organizations exist to help people develop traditional products, services and organizations. However nothing is traditional about Climate Economy Ventures, and nothing puts everything into one place the way that the Climate Venture Map does. The Climate Venture Map combines all of the following concepts:

Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas is a well-known business tool developed to help businesses visualize the key components of their success. Our Climate Venture Map business model canvas is based on this well-known concept. The business model canvas is a useful way to help people envision the parts of a system to sell products and services, beat competition, and make money. In the TCE Funnel Canvas we’re looking to find the key components of changing behavior.

Applying the Natural Step Process as a “Compass”

Gayle Hudgens’ book “Collaborative Spunk: The Feisty Guide for Reviving People and our Planet” outlines a strategy for applying the Natural Step process as a “compass.” The Natural Step process is based on systems thinking and principles to help define more sustainable pathways. The “Compass” helps to determine the direction we should go by looking first at our vision of the future, then “backcasting,” or looking back from the future to our current situation to determine our path. With backcasting we create the future without locking in behaviors keeping us on the current path to unsustainability. Step 2, Causing the Change, of the Climate Venture Map reflects this directional quality.

Resource Funnel

As part of the Natural Step process, we see the increasing demand for natural resources combined with humanity’s increasing use of resources is closing the funnel (see Figure 1). To sustain human life, we need to instill sustainable practices and re-open the funnel. This means changing the way we do things that are causing the climate emergency. There are many sources of information about how to measure and optimize resources, including the Natural Step Four System Conditions and the FutureFit Benchmark. The simplest way to consider the funnel is to deliberately analyze climate, economy and humanity for each venture; we want the outcome of our efforts to result in deliberate improvements in climate, economy and humanity. We need to hammer home that opening the funnel needs to be at the core of every human activity.

Figure 1


Human behavior is hard to change, but for humanity to continue as a going concern on planet Earth, behavior is the key thing that has to change. Humans’ choices and actions going forward will determine Humanity’s fate. If people have better information about how to make better choices and different behaviors that are available, people should be able to make better choices towards more sustainable behaviors. BJ Fogg’s Behavior Design Model was developed to explain how when one element is missing, a behavior will not occur. Therefore, all three elements must be considered to get through the Funnel: Motivation, Ability and Trigger. 

Fogg behavior map

Figure 2


System Flow

A venture needs to be able to sustainably support itself, and produce its output in a productive way. The Inflows/Outflows section of the Climate Venture Map is where we define this aspect of our venture. The following excerpt from “Land-Use Planning for Sustainable Development” illustrates the thinking behind inflows/outflows:

When we think of our community as a living system, the “elements” of a  comprehensive plan become the centers of wealth or capital of a local living  economy. These centers of wealth, or “nodes,” interact as a system and are  linked through nutrient cycles and energy/material flows. Thus, each node in this living system receives both deposits and withdrawals, so to speak, from the other nodes; therefore, each node is the source of wealth/energy  that converts such wealth/energy and transfers wealth/energy. In this  framework, all nodes benefit from the free flow of the energy, and as a result, a new understanding of economic integrity emerges: a network enabling the sustainable flow of energy and capital—human, financial, and natural. In such a system, just as in ecosystems, energy is constantly brought in, broken down or converted, and used, not only for repair but also for regeneration and to adapt to changing environmental conditions.

TCE will focus on what author Marjorie Kelly calls “generative” economy which is community-based: “It is a new kind of economy, designed to create fair and just outcomes, to benefit the many rather than the few, and to enable an enduring human presence on a flourishing earth.” Business models include resident owned communities, community land trusts, social enterprises, cooperatives and state banks.

Climate Equity

An integral part and a defining factor of all activities of The Climate Economy Education Inc relate to “climate equity,” or “climate justice.” This refers to the fact that the world’s most vulnerable communities, which are the least responsible for the climate emergency, are feeling the effects the hardest. These “frontline communities” have already been feeling the effects of climate change as droughts, fires, storms and the encroaching sea intrude into their lives and livelihoods. Our efforts will always include consideration of the welfare of the most vulnerable populations first, because they have little or no resources to deal with the effects of climate change.


At the end of the day, we’re aiming to cause “climate resilient development:”

The Venture Canvas requires some savvy for application at a business level, as does any type of business model canvas or similar tool, and every aspect of the canvas could benefit from “expert” research and consulting. But at the same time there is no reason a regular person can’t also use it to evaluate something they want to try. Once a person runs through this process a few times, it becomes intuitive. Training courses are available because it’s a new unique way of looking at putting together ventures and defining Verifiable Target Actions. People will be able to fill out an online form to take them through the CVM for their ventures, and they will be able to share them or keep them private. Hopefully over time there will be a large searchable repository of ventures in the CVM Listings on All4.Earth.

The Climate Venture Map is the Secret Sauce

Helping people to build ventures in their own corporations, small businesses and daily lives is an infinite source of creativity and productivity. 

Course Discussion