On Tuesday, July 12, 2011, Human Impacts Institute (Hii) joined the new Change By Us NYC online community. The social media website just launched by the City of New York is an exciting new platform for collaboration on local projects by residents, non-profits, and city agencies. It offers Hii a convenient and dynamic way to share its current and future projects and partnerships with the larger NYC community and also has the potential to spark new collaborations.Growing Our Roots, Hii’s neighborhood tree planting, adoption, and stewardship program now has its own project page on Change By Us, with partner MillionTreesNYCrepresented as an ‘official resource’.Change By Us users can join each other’s projects to make comments and post links, but are discouraged from leaving the passive ‘likes’ of Facebook. The ‘post-it note’ format of Change By Us encourages spontaneous yet thoughtful interactions between users, whether they’re residents with fresh ideas or organizations with large scale projects already underway. In the ‘ideas’ section users post anything that comes to mind, like “more rooftop gardens,” without having to develop any specific project goals. By browsing through these ideas, users can invite others to join their established projects, there’s even an algorithm that matches ideas to projects automatically. Hii will integrate the ideas section into upcoming youth workshops with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) in Western Queens, where participants will create Change By Us accounts and post the results of their neighborhood-greening brainstorm sessions.
Since the theme for the launch of Change By Us is making the city “greener,” Hii is perfectly at home in the new community. In addition to Growing Our Roots, Hii has also created project pages for EcoPreneurs and The NYC Climate Coalition which are already attracting new members. Open, online collaboration is integral to Hii’s operations and Change By Us is a natural extension of that practice. We look forward to watching Change By Us grow and hope to see our partners sign up and, of course, everyone is encouraged to join our projects!
By Peter Tzannes, 2011 Environmental Services and Education Intern