There are many websites, phone apps, and books telling us how to “be green,” “save energy” or “reduce your carbon footprint.” There are dozens of labels claiming a product is ecofriendly or carbon neutral. But just having that information doesn’t mean that we will use it. Which sources can we trust? Why should we be motivated to do what they say? These questions continue to plague those in the advocacy community and those who just want to help others live a more sustainable lifestyle.
Andrew Krause, co-founder of eEcosphere, hopes the app can help address these problems. It offers sharable, easy advice on how to make your life more sustainable.
“Our vision is to help people, specifically millennials, connect with actionable ideas in their network so they can work together, near each other or from afar, on the causes that matter to them,” Krause told The Huffington Post. He says he knows they cannot compete with general social networks like Facebook and Twitter, so they hope to use them as a tool to spread sustainable ideas.
When it comes down to it, Krause says, trust is more important than information in decision making. On top of this, the main source of behavior change is social comparison -- "people like to be similar to others," he says. That's why sharing and seeing what others are doing makes up a big part of eEcosphere. The app will allow users to cooperate on different sustainability goals that are straightforward and specific, for example suggesting that you "bring a takeout container to a restaurant" instead of just "reduce food waste."
eEcosphere's developers hope to use collaboration and planning to make you and your friends more sustainability-minded. The app allows you to complete “challenges” to figure out how to green a certain area of your life and add these ideas to your “plan.” It also allows any user to post ideas for being more sustainable. User’s suggestions range from the familiar – “hang your clothes to dry” – to the more out there “stop washing your jeans.”
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The app also features ideas from businesses with sustainable ideas – for example, a challenge by Justin’s, an all-natural nut butter company, helped users figure out how to make their homes more bee-friendly to help protect vital bee populations.
Once you complete an idea, you post a picture of it. When you complete “the eat less meat” idea, for example, post a picture of the water-saving, emissions-reducing vegetarian dinner you made. This then shows up as a completed idea on your plan. You can see what your friends and others are completing and share on Facebook and Twitter. The app's developers hope that because sharing is easy and because photos add transparency and accountability, they will be able to create a network of sharing personal, actionable ideas.
The app has been released for iOS and you can download it here. Krause says they hope to build the app and its community "around the lifestyle that people want using sustainability as a lens, not a destination."
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