Future protests and folding proteins: Changing the world from home during COVID-19

DCMN is usually all about good promotion. Today we want to use our platform to promote good. More specifically, it’s two great causes that join the whole world in solidarity while we’re all perfecting our social distancing skills to help flatten the curve (corona levels, not cholesterol unfortunately).

These turbulent times have led to a torrent of solidarity and innovation on so many levels: Pop-up support for local businesses, grassroots volunteering initiatives for the sick and elderly, forming Facebook groups for struggling parents. (Let alone the public-sector financial aid programs for everybody from multinationals to freelancers.) On an optimistic note, COVID-19 has given people everywhere a better understanding of how they are connected and how each can impact the big picture. It seems clearer than ever that we’re best off fighting this together.

One effect of this has been the renaissance of science as a trusted authority and calming voice of reason. There are many fantastic examples where tech expertise and the crowd join forces to support scientists fighting the crisis – whether it’s using data donations from smartwatches and fitness trackers to monitor the coronavirus spread, or open-source repositories for 3D printing ventilators and other medical equipment. But we shouldn’t forget the other big – most likely even larger – scientifically proven crisis that existed before COVID-19 (remember those days?): the climate emergency.

We want to pan the spotlight on two projects today that deserve our attention and support: Washington University’s folding@home project and the upcoming virtual global climate strike organised by Fridays For Future.

Save the world by Folding@home – nothing to do with dirty laundry

Did you know that you can help find a cure for COVID-19 just by installing an app on your computer? Welcome to 2020! The Folding@home project of Washington University in St. Louis’ School of Medicine is a stellar example of how science, tech and the power of the crowd can join together to find innovative answers to even the most complex problems.

By installing a software on their private computers, users donate unused processing capacities in their CPUs and CGUs to the scientists who use them to simulate certain dynamics of proteins – more specifically: the folding patterns of amino acids. A better understanding of how those operate is essential to finding therapies, vaccinations and cures for many diseases including cancer, Ebola, Alzheimer’s …and COVID-19. However, solving this problem for the SARS-CoV-2 virus requires a comparatively enormous number of computer calculations. In short, the more help they get from a decentralised network of private computers, the faster they may arrive at a cure. The goal is very simple: reach one million folders worldwide. Become one of them today! (or find out how it works and donate.)

Fridays For Future – Online Climate Strike on April 24

Even when our society returns to post-corona normal, the climate crisis is a fight that’s going nowhere. After several global strikes initiated by the broad coalition of the worldwide Fridays For Future movement and its support network of NGOs and other For Future groups, COVID-19 restrictions have robbed them of their most prominent and powerful instrument: mass demonstrations in the streets. But just as the movement demands a quick change of course and rapid innovation from governments and businesses to prevent a climate collapse, Fridays For Future has responded to the situation with swift adaptation and re-imagination of mass protests. And this time it’s digital.

Fridays for Future is calling on everyone to join the first online climate strike on April 24 from home – proving that geographic distance does not mean less noise and solidarity. There will even be individual digital placards! One of the demands is that any COVID-19 aid program being rolled out now needs to include a stimulus for the advancement of a climate-friendly economy and society. #netzstreikfürsklima

DCMN has the honour to again support Together For Future with a big marketing campaign in Germany. This campaign runs on paid channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Google search, Google display and YouTube, while we are able to support the cause with pro-bono campaigns thanks to the generosity of our partners Vice, ESC media and DataXu.

DCMN has been working with Together For Future since 2019, running marketing campaigns for the big September and November climate strikes. Clarize Marais, online marketing expert & project lead at DCMN: “This is a project that has always been dear to us, and especially during these times it feels natural to us to help the planet with our resources – even from home office. The idea of a “digital” climate strike has been an intriguing one. While we were formerly focused on inspiring people to hit the streets and physically stand together in solidarity for the planet, this time we were able to put our digital expertise to serious work, and with the generous help of our network of partners, we are confident that this campaign will be even more successful than the others. Join the protest, post your selfie, and let’s fight climate change together!

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