As I have started digging the realms of sustainability in the vast green internet, I wanted to see if anyone had solved the problem of showing environmental impact in a way that would engage people and turn their excitement (or horror) into action.
In my first round, I landed on Oroeco, an application that provides a carbon footprint calculator and allows the user to share impacts with friends and acquaintances in the hopes to motivate one to do the same. The concept is great, but as I downloaded the app, I encountered some issues that quickly turned me off: the sign in button with Facebook kept sending me in a loop and I couldn’t really navigate the app or peruse it in a logged in state. I could still see a list of actions and their estimated carbon footprint and dollar savings by practicing them on a yearly basis, but there was no further interaction. As of today (I tried it again just before writing this post), I still cannot login but can see the impacts list to get an idea of annual savings in U$ or lbs CO2e estimate per activity.
In my second round, I found GoodGuide, a website (also app) that shows ratings for ~75k products on toxicity levels, ranging from personal care products to household and babies and kids products. What I found interesting is that you can filter products by traits, such as USDA BioPreferred, Ecologo or Vegan products, for example. The site navigation is not optimal, with multiple layers between search and results, but the info is there! This is a good starting point if you are looking into buying greener products and have no idea of what to get!
In my most recent round, I found a free web application called Your Plan, Your Planet created by Google, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The web app is simple, well designed, easy to navigate and it has tips on how one can change habits in four areas: Energy, Water, Food, and Stuff (like clothes and ways to support a more circular economy). I particularly enjoyed the section about Food as it has some staggering numbers around water waste for foods that are not consumed (see my note about yogurt waste in this post). The app also allows you to “pledge” new environmental friendly actions and even add them to your Google calendar as a reminder. I pledged a few new things, such as wearing something that have been parked in my closet for about a year and deciding it on keeping and wearing it or donating it.
So, here you have it: 3 sites and 3 different approaches to adopt a greener lifestyle. Nothing is perfect and making these changes are always hard… So instead of looking for the perfect one that may solve everything, where shall we start? Wasn’t it Voltaire who said that “Perfect is the enemy of good”?