Saving the Earth by increasing Gen Z and youth engagement in climate advocacy.

Photo of Maria Cheng
6 11

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Website or social media url(s) (optional):

Website: | Instagram and Twitter: @climarate | Linkedin: | Email:

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Start-Up (first few activities have happened)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

The world's top scientists estimate that Planet Earth only has 11 more years until the devastating effects of climate change become irreversible. That means with this looming threat comes more frequent natural disasters and the threat of entire coastlines going underwater by 2030. Because adults not only refuse to take action but refuse to recognize the crisis itself, Gen Z youth urgently need to mobilize and make change for our futures' sake.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

ClimaRate ( is an all-inclusive, climate-specific platform that connects both the prospective and proactive climate enthusiast to organizations, resources, reviews, and more in one place. We're strategically partnering with diverse environmental groups across the US, from activism to conservation, giving each cause their own customized profile page, complete with events, press releases, news, and information. And, we're frequently hand-picking and featuring causes, along with offering our recommendations to further highlight grassroots efforts around the nation. Subsequently, we're giving users the chance to review each cause, whether it's writing a review or leaving five stars for upper-level leadership. By utilizing user-sourced reviews, we're ensuring that every enthusiast can find their perfect campaign, as told by the activists themselves. Finally, we're producing articles, videos, and other media to serve as resources for our users, offering activists inspiration, tips and tricks, and mentorship. As activists ourselves, we know the challenges in fighting for the Earth; that's why we're here to bring the climate community together, every step of the way.

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I discovered climate action by accident. I mean, I've always known about global warming, but I never knew what to do other than reducing, reusing, etc. Back in March, I was debating an impromptu round when the topic was—verbatim—schools should sponsor Climate Strikes. My team and I spent that entire round arguing its ethics, and frankly, I was amazed that kids like me could sacrifice so much for the Earth. That night, I thoroughly looked up the cause. I found Greta, the trailblazing teen behind it all; Isra, Co-Exec of the US Strikes; Jamie, director of the group Zero Hour, among many others. And on that day, I told myself to get out there and speak for the Earth. Because it's people like Greta, Isra, and Jamie that inspire me to not only be a climate activist but a climate leader, someone who brings more voices into the fight for our futures in an effective, accessible way for all.

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Tino is a young, Gen Z bartender from Mesa, AZ. He's interested in the fight against climate change, but doesn't know what to do or where to go. His friend Jim refers him to, and Tino quickly and eagerly creates an account, getting to work. He browses through causes and finds the US Climate Strike. Going through the group's page, he sees favorable reviews and high impact rates, both user-contributed statistics. There, he decides to sign up for a City Hall strike on Friday. Tino then refreshes on legislation and protest tips, among many others, using ClimaRate's resources, and finds out that Mesa doesn't have an action plan. A few days later, he attends the strike, educated and connected with the world of climate advocacy, and makes the most out of his day in his community. That night, Tino leaves his unbiased review of the event, and signs up to strike the next Friday.

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

There's two key differences that puts ClimaRate in a unique position within the advocacy world. First, there is no existing all-inclusive platform for those interested in specifically climate action to find organizations, resources, ratings, and more. Our closest competitor, Charity Navigator, is limited to causes with 501(c)(3) status, something grassroots causes usually don't have, and donation-specific action. Finally, ClimaRate is the only group that uses the methodology of transforming climate urgency into action; we're utilizing the 11 year timeframe to fuel our cause and make change.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

The ClimaRate team has made significant strides in the span of the past few months. We've built our social media presence from scratch, finding 180+ prospective and proactive climate activists interested in our platform. We've received interest from causes including the US Climate Strike and Project Love Back to be featured on our platform. But even though our passionate, tight-knit team of teenage climate optimists is just starting out, we're looking to tap into the 65 million members of Gen Z in the US. And as it's statistically proven that 55% of Gen Z say they aren’t involved with activism because they don’t have the connections, ClimaRate would build a user base of 350,000 with just 1% of our target audience. Even just connecting this audience with the 175+ member organizations of the US Climate Action Network, we'd be able to see positive, real change for the Earth by 2030.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

In the coming months, ClimaRate is looking to scale in three main ways: development, funding, and outreach. On the development side, we're assembling a team of dedicated, volunteer web developers to build every aspect of our platform, starting with our minimum viable product in early September. We're also looking to secure 501(c)(3) status by the end of the year, utilizing grants and crowd-funding to fund development and marketing costs. Finally, we're reaching out to grassroots climate groups and the youth of Gen Z over social media, starting with our ambassador program that's kicking off mid-September. By the end of 2019, we're anticipating a base of 1,500+ beta testers to validate our MVP and transition into final product development.

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Management

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $100-$1k

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media
  • Recommended by others

Evaluation results

3 evaluations so far

1. Overall evaluation

5 - This idea rocked my world. It’s awesome! - 0%

4 - This idea seems really exciting. With a little more polishing, it’d be among my favorites. - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - It didn’t make my heart beat faster. - 0%

2. Changemaker Quality

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

3. Creativity

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 0%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 0%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 100%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

4. Commitment

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 100%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 100%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer - 0%

5. Connection

5 - Absolutely, 100%! - 33.3%

4 - I feel really good about this - very promising - 66.7%

3 - This has some good elements and some areas for development - 0%

2 - This doesn’t inspire me so much - 0%

1 - This entry is weak here - 0%

No Answer or No Connection - 0%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Shreya Chaudhuri

Hey Maria, this is such a great idea! As someone who is also working in the field of environmental education through my non-profit Project Planet, I really believe that educating the youth about climate change is crucial to securing our future. I would love to possibly collaborate in the future sometime!

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