Climate Masters at Home FAQ

• What is the Climate Master program?
• What kind of volunteer activities are Climate Masters trained to do?
• Why should my community start a Climate Masters program?
• Where can we house the Climate Master program?
• How much staff time and what skills does it take to run the program?
• How much does the program cost?
• What kind of support can the Climate Leadership Initiative provide?

Q: What is the Climate Master™ program?

A. The Climate Master program was developed by the Climate Leadership Initiative to increase climate literacy, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions at the household level, and build public support for climate-positive technology and policy. The Climate Master program consists of a thirty-hour training program in which community members learn to incorporate climate action into their daily life by reducing greenhouse-gas emissions in their home, yard, food, transportation, and general consumption choices. Individuals pay for this free or low-cost training with an equal amount of volunteer outreach on climate action over the year following the class. The training class also covers outreach strategies for sharing emission reduction information with others and how to conduct “climate consultations” to support households throughout the community in trimming their greenhouse-gas emissions. 

Q: What kind of volunteer activities are Climate Masters trained to do?

A. Perhaps the greatest asset of this program is the crew of volunteers trained to take advantage of an array of opportunities in the community. As the program continues, the volunteer brigade grows, as does their scope of activities. When designing or identifying volunteer opportunities, it is important to provide an array of options so that participants can find an activity that matches their skills and interests.Some suggestions follow.

Climate Masters can manage information booths (tabling) during community events such as fairs or farmer’s markets, speak at community events or to groups, conduct climate consultations (described below), teach workshops and run emission reduction support groups.  Volunteers can be encouraged to get creative (e.g. develop awareness building art, teach a class at their child’s school, set up a carpooling system for work, initiate a neighborhood lightbulb exchange program, build a compost pile for a neighbor, etc.) in how they fulfill their hours, but should check with a coordinator to get approval for their payback hours.

Climate consultations are one of the more intensive volunteer activities, in terms of potential positive impact on the recipient as well as coordination and effort on the part of the Climate Masters. In a consultation, Climate Masters can tailor their outreach to a specific household’s needs, offering support, discussing benefits of action, and troubleshooting obstacles. (Details in setting up and conducting consultations are provided in the Handbook for Community Organizers)

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Q: Why should my community start a Climate Masters at Home program?

A. Global warming is the most pressing issue facing the world today. The latest report from the largest group of scientists ever to study an issue, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that greenhouse-gas emissions must peak by 2015 and decrease by 80 percent or more by 2050 in order to avoid dramatic temperature increases and the severe economic, social, and environmental impact that would accompany such increases. According to the IPCC, making this shift requires action within the next two to three years at all levels of society. Research released since the IPCC’s latest report points to a more urgent need for immediate action in order to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of climate change.

The Climate Masters at Home program has proven to be successful at reducing individual greenhouse gas emissions, building community, and changing the way people think. Climate Masters reported slowing down their frantic pace of life as they planned their day to avoid driving and other sources of emissions. Others say they felt supported by a community of like-minded people and empowered to check off those lingering tasks on their carbon-busting to-do lists. Many reported feeling healthier as they walked and biked more and made changes to their diet to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions. Households receiving consultations benefit from reduced energy costs, increased physical activity resulting from biking and walking instead of driving, motivation to act to reduce their greenhouse-gas emissions, and recognition for what they have already done. Communities benefit from the coordinated efforts of a brigade of Climate Masters, trained and ready for action. This group can develop their own outreach events and programs or plug into existing efforts. Beyond that, with sufficient infiltration, communities may see decreased electric loads and traffic, reduced load on local landfills, an overall reduction in community greenhouse-gas emissions, and support for local policy aimed at combating climate change or preparing for impacts. The program may also result in an increased sense of community as a variety of people are brought together to tackle a common cause.

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 Q: Where can we house the Climate Masters at Home program?

A. Climate Masters at Home programs can be housed or hosted by a variety of entities, depending on the best fit for your community.  Programs may be hosted by nonprofits, universities, community colleges, extension programs, a city sustainability office or other local government entity, a utility company, or even by an eager individual or groups of volunteers.

Program organizers do not necessarily need to have significant substantive knowledge of the topics discussed during the training.  More importantly, the organizer needs to have project management skills, along with the enthusiasm, willingness, and ability to make connections with individuals in the community that do have the knowledge to present to the class. If you are also not comfortable facilitating the trainings, a facilitator can be hired to run the classes.

To initiate your program, we highly recommend developing a steering committee. A steering committee can provide feedback, suggestions, and increase participant commitment at the member’s institutions and within the community at large (particularly with public recognition for the committee). In addition, the steering committee may be able to recommend potential funding sources or even provide sponsorships from their own institutions. Your steering committee may have links to other members of the community that would be able to deliver presentations in the class.

The facilitator’s role is just that: to lead the discussions that precede and follow the presentations and that support adults in integrating the materials presented in the class. The ideal presenter is an expert in the field andhas experience speaking with the public. This person can present complex information in a straightforward manner and can adeptly field questions.  More information on selecting presenters is available in the Handbook for Community Organizers

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Q: How much staff time does it take to run the program and what kind of skills does that person need to have?

A. We estimate that, typically, the requirements for running this program involve approximately one dedicated quarter-time staff person to organize and facilitate the training course and to then coordinate volunteers. The program could be maintained with more or less staff time, depending primarily on how much the volunteers are managed. For example, if volunteers manage their own “payback” hours, a volunteer coordinator could simply arrange the staffing of information booths at events, organize speaking engagements, and perform other outreach activities that the community requests, rather than scheduling household consultations and actively seeking and coordinating volunteer opportunities. Tasks for the staff may include:

  • Establish program goals (with input from an advisory group or other stakeholders)
  • Adapt the materials to their community (the Climate Leadership Initiative will provide easily adaptable materials and can provide support on this task)
  • Gather resources and funding
  • Structure class and volunteer opportunities
  • Recruit participants
  • Run the program
  • Volunteer coordinating
  • Follow-up with households receiving consultations and with climate masters
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the program in meeting established goal

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Q: How much does the program cost?

A. Unless you hire CLI for consulting purposes, described in the question below, there is no charge for the program. However, we do have some limited requirements (see last question).

We estimate that it will cost between $4,000-25,000 to set up a Climate Masters at Home program in your community. The costs are dependent on whether or not a facilitator is hired, whether you rely on staff or volunteer time, the amount of printing you plan to do, and the fee charged for participants attending the training. In general, most participants pay between $20-100 to participate in the class. If they do not fulfill their payback hours in the allotted time (usually between six months and a year), then they pay $150-250 for the training.

Some other sources of funding for the program include: local business sponsorships for funds or in-kind donations; contributions from utility companies or public transportation systems, city or county governments; universities, community colleges, and extension programs; state or federal government grants; tipping fees from waste disposal; and foundations that support education, energy efficiency, pollution reduction or community building.

If you have limited staff time to commit to Climate Masters at Home or need technical assistance in designing or implementing the program (such as adapting materials to your community), the Climate Leadership Initiative is available for support. We would develop a plan of work and a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with your organization and be hired as consultants to your program. Please contact us at or at 541-346-0786 if you are interested in our services.

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Q: What kind of support can the Climate Leadership Initiative provide?

A.  The Climate Leadership Initiative will provide the materials you need to run your training program, including:

  • training manual for participants (For a file that can be easily made specific to your community, please contact CLI and we will send you the free file).
  • handbook for program coordinators,
  • template PowerPoints
  • curriculum for facilitators,
  • consultation materials (found in the back of the program coordinators handbook),
  • template pre- and post- surveys,
  • template publicity and outreach materials

CLI staff are available to support you in adapting materials to your community, helping you brainstorm potential funding sources and types of speakers to invite to your training, identify approaches to soliciting participants, and developing volunteer opportunities. Depending on the type and amount of support needed, we may develop a MOA and charge a consulting fee for the services. We do require that those using our materials and/or program contact us to let us know your intentions, at which point we will discuss the minimum requirements, including: that you run the class as designed with 30 hours of training and at least 30 hours of volunteer payback; that you use the name and curriculum provided; and that you evaluate your program and provide us with the results so that we can continue to improve upon the program.

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