This new app will offset your carbon footprint, then help you shrink it.
While Al Gore is sending satellites into space to check up on whether countries and industries are delivering on their promises to reduce their carbon footprints (see Carbon Emission Tracking), a recent survey of Americans who recognize that humans are causing climate change, nearly a third said that they didn’t think they could personally do anything to make a difference. Wrong!
Individual action also matters, and the good news is that a new app is designed to help you with the first step: offsetting your own emissions by supporting credible carbon-reducing projects.
“Individual carbon offsetting, we found, is one of the most effective things that you can do as an individual that really produces measurable results,” says Markus Gilles, cofounder and CEO of Klima, the Berlin-based company behind the eponymous new app. “But unfortunately, the services that are out there are still serving an early adopter community. And we felt that there’s real potential for a mass movement here.” In the US, a survey from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago suggests that 30% of Americans are willing to spend an extra $20 a month to fight climate change.
While solving the climate crisis essentially requires systemic change and collective action, individual action plays a key role in achieving structural change. By being aware of how personal choices affect the climate, people are more likely to change their behaviors and consequently demand meaningful collective action.
When you sign up for a monthly subscription, the app gives a running tally of how much you’ve helped. “We wanted to make sure that we don’t have that experience of donating into a black box, but really showing that your money is working for you,” Gilles says.
To estimate your carbon footprint, the user-friendly app factors in such variables as the number of flights you take each year and your diet, and lets you choose categories of well-vetted offsets to support through the monthly subscription, including reforestation initiatives, solar power projects, and “clean cookstove” projects that improve the livelihoods of families in developing countries.
To keep you motivated, the app displays in real time a counter that shows exactly how many trees have been planted by the money you’ve funded or how many kilowatt-hours of solar energy you’ve added to the grid.
The app also makes suggestions about how to lower your own footprint, including changing your diet or the way you commute. As your footprint shrinks, your monthly subscription cost goes down as well. “Carbon offsetting has this great advantage that you can do it today,” he says. “You can become carbon neutral in an instant. But we also have to play the long game. We will also need to decarbonize our societies, and so reduction is just as important.”
Original source: FastCompany
Carbon Emission Tracking: How a new effort to trace emissions in real time, led by Al Gore, could reshape climate talks.
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