The purpose of the Cool City Challenge is to bring to scale proven behavior change and community engagement methodologies to help households achieve deep carbon reduction, create disaster resilient neighborhoods, and catalyze demand driven green economic development.

David Gershon
Managing Director, Cool City Challenge
Empowerment Institute

Northern California Mayors, City Managers, City Commissioners,
research specialists and Low Carbon Diet participants.  


Watch the video ...


  • "Can humanity free itself from climate change paralysis?" ... The change that's going to be necessary is going to happen in cities, and it's not going to happen anyplace else.

  • Right now [cities with Climate Action Plans]... are cities that want to do something... but now we don't have resources, we don't have models to engage our cities especially in the residential sector.  With the Cool City Challenge we'll be able to do that.

  • The world's cities are responsibile for up to 70% of GhG emissions.

  • [The CCC is based on proven programs, practiced in] 300 cities in 8 countries... The households averaged greater than 5000 lbs reduction.  But we had gone a mile wide and an inch deep. We knew we had to actually now pull in the reins and ... go deep in a few communities.... We will be working with 3 cities over 3 years.....household by household, neighborhood by neighborhood.

  • David is a visionary.  He has learned what works and doesn't work.   He has taken motivation and turned [it] into a science.
  • [We set out to answer] three questions.  Can we change behavior?  Can we sustain it over time?   Can we take it to scale?... We used a structured program, recipe-style actions, peer groups of neighbors, and replicated it over hundreds and hundreds of blocks.

  • We are tapping intrinsic motivators... Amazing conversation and amazing action was happening in our one group.  What gets me really excited is imagining that happening... in all kinds of different homes.... rippling out over the whole community... It is incredibly powerful, and very simple at the same time.

  • The opportunity of the Cool City Challenge, without the need for policy, is the best government I can think of.

  • If we can scale this beyond a few communities.. it looks like a different future for California, for the country, for the world.


"What we do in the next few years to address climate change will determine our future. This is the defining moment."

         - Chair, UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change



To help the Cool City Challenge succeed, contact
David Gershon at

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Sue Lebeck 

  Cool Block Platform Director

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