Our Horizon is creating a campaign to take climate change labels on gas pumps global.
27

patrons

$229
per month
Your monthly support will help us get climate labels on gas pumps all over the world.

Short version:

In early 2013, I left my job as a lawyer to launch a campaign to get climate change warning labels on gas pumps. My idea has since been endorsed by over a hundred academic leaders in various disciplines from universities across North America. While our work is now creating historic global precedents, the project actually has no funding. We've received some financial support over the past three years but I've had to pay for most of the campaign out of my own pocket.

I want to get these labels on gas pumps all over the world but I work 90+ hours a week and am already at full capacity. Volunteers across Canada are helping me build a database of politicians' emails from around the globe (we already have thousands of emails but we still need more - you can volunteer to help out here). In early January, 2016, I plan on sending a massive email about our idea to legislators around the world to encourage them to pursue the idea in their own jurisdiction. What I really need to make this thing work is a full-time, paid employee. Your monthly contribution will help make that happen.

Check out the  Globe & Mail, VICE, Business InsiderGlobal TVCBCCTVThe AtlanticClimate Progressand more for recent media coverage about our campaign. You can also read this article I wrote in the Huffington Post earlier this month for an update on our campaign or watch my TEDx talk for an overview of the concept. I have no paid staff and I haven't been paid in three years (you can read more below to find out how I've made ends meet). Our Horizon is a climate change non-profit that punches way above its weight. I promise you that your dollar will find a really good return here.

To learn more about me, please read  my bio here.

Long version:

On January 17, 2013, I launched a globally unprecedented effort to get climate change information labels on gas pumps. The concept is now being passed into law. It's an idea I had a couple of years prior but didn't develop until my grandfather passed away during the summer of 2012. The last words he spoke to me prompted me to close down my legal practice and launch a non-profit to advocate for the idea. I'll be sharing more about this story in my first video update to monthly supporters.

Why climate change labels on gas pumps?

Our greatest obstacle to transitioning to a more sustainable future is the systemic inertia of the status quo. While we tend to focus our attention upstream (e.g., oil sands, fracking, offshore drilling, pipelines, shipping, etc.), we rarely question the simple act of pumping gas. There is a complete disconnect. On the demand-side of the equation, we have a habitual, automatic behaviour that has been normalized for several generations. Complacent, disconnected markets don't drive change; we have the perfect downstream environment to perpetuate the status quo.

The warning labels take the unexamined act of gassing up and de-normalize it. By communicating the impacts of fossil fuels to end-users in this way, the labels disrupt the status quo solution and stimulate broader demand for alternatives. This drives change upstream as businesses and governments deliver solutions to meet this shift in demand.  Our simple, low-cost idea will be a critical intervention to help accelerate our transition to a more sustainable future.

To learn more, please watch my 10-minute TEDx talk below. If you want to dive deeper, you can read our reports and watch my longer video lectures at Our Horizon.


The exciting thing is that the concept has been formally endorsed by city and town councils across Canada. I've been able to leverage these endorsements in conversations with provincial governments and I've just reached out to the federal government (here's my recent letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister McKenna). Several councils have now passed the idea into law and are implementing them in their own communities. These votes were called historic global firsts by media outlets across North America and beyond. The story was shared via social media all over the world. You can get an update on the campaign by reading this Huffington Post article I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

My goal is to have climate change labels on gas pumps all over the world within two to three years.

How am I currently funded?

It all started with a small cheque from my Grandfather that bought me three to four months of not having to worry about paying my bills. It was the gift of time that allowed me to step away from my legal practice and explore an idea that I had a couple of years prior. A few months later, I found myself launching a non-profit organization that would become the vehicle through which I would advocate for climate change labels on gas pumps. Our other sources of funding include:

  • 2013:  Crowdfund that raised $15,075 for a cross-Canada speaking tour.
  • 2014:  Crowdfund that raised $6,496 to hire a student to seek academic endorsements.
  • 2015:  A generous Canadian gave me $5,000 when I was no longer able to pay my bills.
  • Online donations:  Close to $10,000 in donations through our website since we launched.

While I’m grateful for all this support, it hasn’t been enough to sustain the campaign and I’ve had to fund the vast majority of the project myself.

My savings is spent, I’ve maxed my line of credit, and I’m now running the project on my personal credit card. I’m able to partly make ends meet by renting out my home in uptown Toronto while living in a small room in downtown Toronto. The difference between rental payments in and rental payments out means that I’ve been able to volunteer my time on this project for the past three years. I’m not paid and I have no paid staff. The good news is that it’s been worth it. We’re now inspiring governments to create historic global precedents and we’re about to spread the idea all over the world.

People sometimes ask, “Have you applied to the XYZ foundation for a grant?” I have. Unfortunately, given the political nature of our advocacy, we’re unable to secure charitable status. This means that foundations are unable to support our work. I’ve tried lots of other approaches and I’ll dive into that in a video answer that I'll post one day. For now, I’ll cut to the chase: I need a small budget and you can help.

Two ways to help:

What I really need to make this thing take off is a budget. If I have enough funds to hire just one person, we’ll double the organization’s capacity.* A lot of big environmental organizations have budgets in the millions of dollars. Just think of the marginal impact your dollar makes in supporting a small non-profit.

1) Become a monthly supporter.

Please contribute $2, $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, or $50 a month. Apart from giving me a budget to work with, each donation is also a boost to my spirits and really keeps me going. No matter how big, they each seem to say, “I believe in you, I think what you’re doing is important, and I’m sharing the fruits of my labours because I want to see you succeed.” While this is a non-profit organization, I also love the idea of having “shareholders” in this venture and being accountable to you. All supporters will receive a private YouTube update once or twice a month where I share the highs and lows of running the campaign. So please become a monthly donor and join me on this journey to change the world.

2) Tell your rich friend about this project. Seriously.

What I really need is a high net worth individual that’s serious about addressing climate change to cut us a cheque and say, “Now you can afford a small team. Now you’ve got a travel budget to spread the word. Now you can get paid. Go change the world and report back to me in three years when you have.”

This project would be so much further ahead right now if I had a small budget to work with. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that funding is often about who you know. You may not know Jeff Skoll, Tom Steyer, or Mark Zuckerberg, but maybe you’re one or two degrees removed from them? Or maybe you know an influential, connected person who can put me in touch with someone that can help my efforts? If you know someone like this, please take a moment to reach out to them. Your email could lead to the one cheque that changes everything.

Thank you so much for your support,




Rob Shirkey
Founder & Executive Director
Our Horizon


*Technically not true. I work 90+ hours a week so having a new person would only increase our capacity by 50%. But you get the idea.

Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per month
3 patrons
Video updates + warm fuzzies.
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. Warm fuzzies for knowing you're supporting a great cause.
Pledge $2 or more per month
6 patrons
Video updates + Our Horizon sticker.
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with the Our Horizon logo so you're a part of the team!
Pledge $5 or more per month
14 patrons
Autographed label (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude. I'm pretty sure this will be worth something one day :)
Pledge $10 or more per month
9 patrons
Personalized thank you card (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card to you or to whomever you like. Would make a great gift for the holidays.
Pledge $15 or more per month
0 of 20 patrons
Our Horizon t-shirt (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card to you or to whomever you like.
  5. A white t-shirt with the Our Horizon logo on the front and sleeve.
Pledge $20 or more per month
0 patrons
Coffee with me (+ above, - t-shirt).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. Autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card addressed to whomever you like.
  5. Coffee and a delicious almond croissant with me if you're in the GTA. If you're not in the GTA, we'll try to coordinate something while I'm travelling. Skype coffee also works! If you're one of my friends and you've noticed we barely hang out anymore, this is a great way bribe me to catch up! Sorry for being an a-hole, I promise I still love you :)
Pledge $25 or more per month
0 patrons
Recognition on our website (+ above).
All of the above plus you'll get listed on our website as a campaign sustainer.
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 patrons
Corporate logo on our website (+ above).
All of the above plus your business will have their logo displayed on our website as a corporate sustainer.
Pledge $100 or more per month
1 patron
Talk for your organization (+ corporate above).
I will give a talk for your business where I describe the idea, how I made it happen, and what my bicycle trip across Canada taught me about small wins and perseverance. For a partial list of my previous speaking engagements and some testimonials, please read my bio at our website.
Goals
$229 of $2,000 per month
Help us take climate change labels global!

Over the past few months, our volunteers have helped us develop a massive database with politicians' emails from around the world. We plan on sending them info about our project and a YouTube lecture but we really need a full-time, paid employee to make that happen. Your contributions will give us the capacity to share our idea with the world.
1 of 1
Your monthly support will help us get climate labels on gas pumps all over the world.

Short version:

In early 2013, I left my job as a lawyer to launch a campaign to get climate change warning labels on gas pumps. My idea has since been endorsed by over a hundred academic leaders in various disciplines from universities across North America. While our work is now creating historic global precedents, the project actually has no funding. We've received some financial support over the past three years but I've had to pay for most of the campaign out of my own pocket.

I want to get these labels on gas pumps all over the world but I work 90+ hours a week and am already at full capacity. Volunteers across Canada are helping me build a database of politicians' emails from around the globe (we already have thousands of emails but we still need more - you can volunteer to help out here). In early January, 2016, I plan on sending a massive email about our idea to legislators around the world to encourage them to pursue the idea in their own jurisdiction. What I really need to make this thing work is a full-time, paid employee. Your monthly contribution will help make that happen.

Check out the  Globe & Mail, VICE, Business InsiderGlobal TVCBCCTVThe AtlanticClimate Progressand more for recent media coverage about our campaign. You can also read this article I wrote in the Huffington Post earlier this month for an update on our campaign or watch my TEDx talk for an overview of the concept. I have no paid staff and I haven't been paid in three years (you can read more below to find out how I've made ends meet). Our Horizon is a climate change non-profit that punches way above its weight. I promise you that your dollar will find a really good return here.

To learn more about me, please read  my bio here.

Long version:

On January 17, 2013, I launched a globally unprecedented effort to get climate change information labels on gas pumps. The concept is now being passed into law. It's an idea I had a couple of years prior but didn't develop until my grandfather passed away during the summer of 2012. The last words he spoke to me prompted me to close down my legal practice and launch a non-profit to advocate for the idea. I'll be sharing more about this story in my first video update to monthly supporters.

Why climate change labels on gas pumps?

Our greatest obstacle to transitioning to a more sustainable future is the systemic inertia of the status quo. While we tend to focus our attention upstream (e.g., oil sands, fracking, offshore drilling, pipelines, shipping, etc.), we rarely question the simple act of pumping gas. There is a complete disconnect. On the demand-side of the equation, we have a habitual, automatic behaviour that has been normalized for several generations. Complacent, disconnected markets don't drive change; we have the perfect downstream environment to perpetuate the status quo.

The warning labels take the unexamined act of gassing up and de-normalize it. By communicating the impacts of fossil fuels to end-users in this way, the labels disrupt the status quo solution and stimulate broader demand for alternatives. This drives change upstream as businesses and governments deliver solutions to meet this shift in demand.  Our simple, low-cost idea will be a critical intervention to help accelerate our transition to a more sustainable future.

To learn more, please watch my 10-minute TEDx talk below. If you want to dive deeper, you can read our reports and watch my longer video lectures at Our Horizon.


The exciting thing is that the concept has been formally endorsed by city and town councils across Canada. I've been able to leverage these endorsements in conversations with provincial governments and I've just reached out to the federal government (here's my recent letter to Prime Minister Trudeau and Environment Minister McKenna). Several councils have now passed the idea into law and are implementing them in their own communities. These votes were called historic global firsts by media outlets across North America and beyond. The story was shared via social media all over the world. You can get an update on the campaign by reading this Huffington Post article I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

My goal is to have climate change labels on gas pumps all over the world within two to three years.

How am I currently funded?

It all started with a small cheque from my Grandfather that bought me three to four months of not having to worry about paying my bills. It was the gift of time that allowed me to step away from my legal practice and explore an idea that I had a couple of years prior. A few months later, I found myself launching a non-profit organization that would become the vehicle through which I would advocate for climate change labels on gas pumps. Our other sources of funding include:

  • 2013:  Crowdfund that raised $15,075 for a cross-Canada speaking tour.
  • 2014:  Crowdfund that raised $6,496 to hire a student to seek academic endorsements.
  • 2015:  A generous Canadian gave me $5,000 when I was no longer able to pay my bills.
  • Online donations:  Close to $10,000 in donations through our website since we launched.

While I’m grateful for all this support, it hasn’t been enough to sustain the campaign and I’ve had to fund the vast majority of the project myself.

My savings is spent, I’ve maxed my line of credit, and I’m now running the project on my personal credit card. I’m able to partly make ends meet by renting out my home in uptown Toronto while living in a small room in downtown Toronto. The difference between rental payments in and rental payments out means that I’ve been able to volunteer my time on this project for the past three years. I’m not paid and I have no paid staff. The good news is that it’s been worth it. We’re now inspiring governments to create historic global precedents and we’re about to spread the idea all over the world.

People sometimes ask, “Have you applied to the XYZ foundation for a grant?” I have. Unfortunately, given the political nature of our advocacy, we’re unable to secure charitable status. This means that foundations are unable to support our work. I’ve tried lots of other approaches and I’ll dive into that in a video answer that I'll post one day. For now, I’ll cut to the chase: I need a small budget and you can help.

Two ways to help:

What I really need to make this thing take off is a budget. If I have enough funds to hire just one person, we’ll double the organization’s capacity.* A lot of big environmental organizations have budgets in the millions of dollars. Just think of the marginal impact your dollar makes in supporting a small non-profit.

1) Become a monthly supporter.

Please contribute $2, $5, $10, $15, $20, $25, or $50 a month. Apart from giving me a budget to work with, each donation is also a boost to my spirits and really keeps me going. No matter how big, they each seem to say, “I believe in you, I think what you’re doing is important, and I’m sharing the fruits of my labours because I want to see you succeed.” While this is a non-profit organization, I also love the idea of having “shareholders” in this venture and being accountable to you. All supporters will receive a private YouTube update once or twice a month where I share the highs and lows of running the campaign. So please become a monthly donor and join me on this journey to change the world.

2) Tell your rich friend about this project. Seriously.

What I really need is a high net worth individual that’s serious about addressing climate change to cut us a cheque and say, “Now you can afford a small team. Now you’ve got a travel budget to spread the word. Now you can get paid. Go change the world and report back to me in three years when you have.”

This project would be so much further ahead right now if I had a small budget to work with. The biggest thing I’ve learned over the past few years is that funding is often about who you know. You may not know Jeff Skoll, Tom Steyer, or Mark Zuckerberg, but maybe you’re one or two degrees removed from them? Or maybe you know an influential, connected person who can put me in touch with someone that can help my efforts? If you know someone like this, please take a moment to reach out to them. Your email could lead to the one cheque that changes everything.

Thank you so much for your support,




Rob Shirkey
Founder & Executive Director
Our Horizon


*Technically not true. I work 90+ hours a week so having a new person would only increase our capacity by 50%. But you get the idea.

Recent posts by Our Horizon

Tiers
Pledge $1 or more per month
3 patrons
Video updates + warm fuzzies.
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. Warm fuzzies for knowing you're supporting a great cause.
Pledge $2 or more per month
6 patrons
Video updates + Our Horizon sticker.
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with the Our Horizon logo so you're a part of the team!
Pledge $5 or more per month
14 patrons
Autographed label (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude. I'm pretty sure this will be worth something one day :)
Pledge $10 or more per month
9 patrons
Personalized thank you card (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card to you or to whomever you like. Would make a great gift for the holidays.
Pledge $15 or more per month
0 of 20 patrons
Our Horizon t-shirt (+ above).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. An autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card to you or to whomever you like.
  5. A white t-shirt with the Our Horizon logo on the front and sleeve.
Pledge $20 or more per month
0 patrons
Coffee with me (+ above, - t-shirt).
  1. Video update once or twice a month showing you the behind the scenes victories and frustrations.
  2. A sticker with our logo so you're a part of the team!
  3. Autographed climate change label with my gratitude.
  4. A personalized "thank you" card addressed to whomever you like.
  5. Coffee and a delicious almond croissant with me if you're in the GTA. If you're not in the GTA, we'll try to coordinate something while I'm travelling. Skype coffee also works! If you're one of my friends and you've noticed we barely hang out anymore, this is a great way bribe me to catch up! Sorry for being an a-hole, I promise I still love you :)
Pledge $25 or more per month
0 patrons
Recognition on our website (+ above).
All of the above plus you'll get listed on our website as a campaign sustainer.
Pledge $50 or more per month
0 patrons
Corporate logo on our website (+ above).
All of the above plus your business will have their logo displayed on our website as a corporate sustainer.
Pledge $100 or more per month
1 patron
Talk for your organization (+ corporate above).
I will give a talk for your business where I describe the idea, how I made it happen, and what my bicycle trip across Canada taught me about small wins and perseverance. For a partial list of my previous speaking engagements and some testimonials, please read my bio at our website.