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  • Writer's pictureSteve Hamm

It's Time to Pivot

Updated: Jan 13, 2022

By Steve Hamm

The onrush of COVID-19 in March of 2020 was terrifying because of the speed of its spread and how little we knew about it. But there was one good thing: The pandemic awakened people to the risk not just of viral pandemics but to all manner of disasters related to environmental imbalances. The drumbeat of concern about climate change had been building for years but now, suddenly, it was deafening in its intensity and impossible to ignore.

Pivot Projects emerged out of that milieu. Prompted by warnings of widespread death and overwhelmed healthcare systems, a small group of people who knew each other mostly through business connections came together and decided to help the world and communities become more sustainable and resilient. They believed in the power of collective intelligence, systems thinking and modeling, and technologies including AI-assisted research tools and digital collaboration platforms to help surface surprising insights. Soon, by tapping their personal networks, they had convened a global group of volunteers determined to help guide policymakers and to engage with communities to help them chart more sustainable futures. More than 500 people have participated in the enterprise at one time or another.

Here we are, 19 months later, and world leaders are preparing to gather in Glasgow, Scotland, for the UN’s COP26 climate conference. The COP (Conference of Parties) was canceled last year, so this is the first such gathering since the COVID-19 crisis began, and the pressure is on global leaders to do something significant about climate change.

And Pivot Projects has a seat at the table—not in the conference itself, of course, but in Glasgow, where tens of thousands of climate activists are gathering to advocate, share ideas, and educate. We’re presenting our ideas and inviting conversation at an event, It’s Time to Pivot, on Nov. 6 as part of the Malin Group’s Spotlight series. The marine engineering firm’s headquarters is on the south bank of the River Clyde across from the COP26 venue, prime real estate, and they’re using the location to call upon businesses to play leading roles in addressing climate change and to explore initiatives and ideas that leading businesses are pioneering. Malin Group generously offered us a chance to participate, and we gratefully accepted. We will be standing at the center of the world stage when people are paying intense attention.

Here's the press release:

Pivot Projects and Malin Group free COP26 learning event Rev00
Download PDF • 569KB

The event will start at 1:45 p.m. UK Time and last approximately 90 minutes. It will include a bit of musical entertainment, a lively panel discussion, and some inspiring videos of young people describing their dreams of a more sustainable future. It will be both in-person and live-streamed. You can register for either by following this link.

Meanwhile, if you want to learn more about Pivot Projects and our work, please visit our website and consider joining us and helping out. We will be publishing essays related to our work during COP26—aligned with the themes designated by the UN’s High Level Climate Champions. And if you plan on being in Glasgow for the conference, keep an eye out for us. Our little band of video storytellers will be circulating in the streets recording people talking about their hopes and dreams and plans for a better future for all humans.


Steve Hamm is a freelance writer and documentary filmmaker based in New Haven, CT, USA. He was embedded as a journalist in Pivot Projects and tells the story of its journey in his new book, The Pivot: Addressing Global Problems Through Local Action, which was published by Columbia University Press.

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