Nikolaj Coster-Waldau calls us to act against climate change

The ‘Global Mindpool’ was presented at the Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon

The ‘Global Mindpool’, a collective intelligence platform that engages with people across the world to find solutions to the climate crisis was presented at the Web Summit 2021, in Lisbon.

The famous actor and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, introduced the platform which is part of UNDP’s Campaign ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’, and described the main idea behind this project while calling for citizens to get involved.

The core idea of ‘Global Mindpool’ is to develop a platform where citizens all over the world can share their observations, knowledge, and suggestions on climate change and energy policies and convert them into data, which subsequently will be used to better inform decision-makers in government, civil society, and the private sector.

To highlight the hugely negative effects fossil fuel subsidies, have on people and the planet and to spark a global conversation, UNDP distributed a short film in which a dinosaur name Frankie, gives a speech to the UN General Assembly urging world leaders to shift away from fossil fuel subsidies and asks people to take actions against the climate change.

In a joint press conference that took place shortly after a talk about progressing sustainable development in 2022 and onwards, at the main stage of Web Summit 2021, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Boaz Paldi (UNDP), and Mik Thobo-Carlsen (Mindpool) explained why this collective intelligence platform is of extreme importance and pointed out how the ‘Global Mindpool’ project could be beneficial to future societies.

As pointed out by Boaz Paldi the world spends 423 billion dollars annually to subsidize fossil fuels for consumers, the electricity that is generated by the burning of other fossil fuels, gas, and coal. “We want to spark a global conversation on this issue,” he said during the press conference. “The campaign revolves around the idea of engaging with people all over the world to move the conversation on decarbonization and moving away from fossil fuels in a substantive way”.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau underlined that it is important to start this dialogue immediately and try to reach as many people as possible to be part of UNDP’s new global campaign. “I didn’t know about the 423 billion dollars until we started this campaign. The number is so insane. The oil crisis goes back to the 70s and that’s when the fossil fuel subsidies started,” said the famous actor. “We have to transition away from fossil fuels, that is a fact. So why not just take that money and use it for that transition, or at least start the dialogue. The UNDP is not a political organization it is for every country in the world, it is about discussing these things”.

As he also explained, “we’re in a time now where I think everybody is very good at pointing fingers at each other. The fact is that we know that fossil fuels are a big issue. Regardless of where you live, it is the same issue, and we know that people have power”.

From his point of view, Mik Thobo-Carlsen highlighted that we experience a climate revolution and fossil fuel remains amongst the most important problems, which global society needs to deal with. “We want to get the crowds of people globally to take part in the conversation and start coming up with ideas and predicting outcomes in local places and all of that data goes directly to the UNDP and with their network, we can put pressure, or at least influence politicians with something they are insanely interested in and that is the public opinion” he declared during the press conference and drew a parallel between collective intelligence and ‘traditional’ democracy.

“Technically we can say collective intelligence is a democracy, but the technologies have developed and now we have machine learning and algorithms to help us find patterns,” he noted and explained the way ‘Global Mindpool’ operates to convert people’s ideas and opinions into useful data.

As UNDP pointed out in a press release, the ‘Don’t Choose Extinction’ campaign aims to raise public awareness of how fossil fuel subsidies are canceling out significant progress to date towards ending climate change and are driving inequality by disproportionately benefitting the rich. That’s why Frankie’s film has already been translated into 36 languages and the UNDP has also built a wide and deep digital ecosystem behind this campaign to reach as many people as possible. “We truly believe that our campaign is a global campaign. We are trying to reach as many people as possible with a simple message. Fossil fuel is a very complicated serious issue, but it is a very simple message, and we feel can reach people all over the world,” said Boaz Paldi.

George Mavridis is a freelance journalist and writer based in Greece. His work primarily covers tech, innovation, social media, digital communication, and politics. He graduated from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki with a BA in Journalism and Mass Communication. Also, he holds an MA in Media and Communication Studies from the Malmö University of Sweden and an MA in Digital Humanities from the Linnaeus University of Sweden.