Tactical Tech and 350.org


350.org and Tactical Tech have pioneered 'Project MOBiLIZE', a multi-country text message system that will allow the public to participate in the global debate on climate change. Individuals and groups across 20 countries will mobilise on this issue for the second annual International Day of Climate Action, organised by 350.org, on 24th October.


On this day, grassroots campaigners across the world, will unite to demand that world leaders deliver a sound international climate treaty at the UN Climate Talks to be held at Copenhagen in December. This message will be communicated through the number 350 which will become incorporated into group actions taking place in locations ranging from town squares to mountain tops  (see examples from last year here.) 350 refers to 'the number scientists say is the safe limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,' explains Phil Aroneanu of 350.org. To date, 1796 actions from 141 countries, set to take place on this day, have already been registered on the 350.org website.


During the lead-up to the Day of Climate Action individuals from any of the 20 countries participating in 'Project MOBiLIZE' can subscribe to receive text message updates of climate information and action taking place within their country and globally. Subscribers will also be able to take part in discussions on climate change by contributing their views via text messages which will then be posted on the 350.org twitter feed. These message will then be collated and delivered to the world leaders come December in Copenhagen.


Project MOBiLIZE will be managed using FrontlineSMS, a free software designed for NGOs, run on regular computers. An SMS to each of the 20 plus country nodes will be sent out through 350.org's central server. Once the message is received, the country nodes will automatically forward it to lists of local mobile numbers, sourced from 350.org and local partner organisations. 'Cascading SMS this way reduces costs and allows local partner organisations to have control of their own system. It also means they can send out country-specific information to subscribers within their country,' says Bobby Soriano, from Tactical Tech, who led the technical development for the project.


Ken Banks, who created FrontlineSMS, wrote that this is the first time this software has been used to ‘cascade’ messages to and from the local level through a chain of servers. 'It could also be a first for any grassroots global SMS campaign, and if it works could present an exciting new model for others to follow,' said Ken.


To find out more about 24th October and how to get involved, visit the 350.org website. To find out more about using FrontlineSMS in advocacy work, read this chapter in the Tactical Tech Mobiles in-a-box toolkit.


Image: How Project MOBiLIZE works.