The UN Climate Change Conference is almost through its twelve day session in Copenhagen. The UNFCCC brought representatives from countries all over the world together to try and agree on how the world community is going to face climate change. Solutions, debate, and international talks are generally macro-level commitments for countries to reduce their Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions. While this is an integral part of the solution, we must recognize what we individuals can do as well.
There are many things individuals can do to reduce their carbon footprint. Despite the savings that come with switching to more efficient appliances and practices, many still have not changed their behavior. People need a push to kick their inefficient addictions and practice greener habits.
Recently, I sat down with Cole Ingraham, Press Secretary at Earth Aid, who told me a little about how his organization is doing just that.
Earth Aid is a green startup that helps people manage their utility bills and encourage energy savings through rewards points. By displaying electric, gas, and water usage in easy to understand charts, people can compare their consumption to past months, or even other users. I signed up on their website and was amazed at the sheer simplicity of their system. In addition to tracking usage, the Earth Aid website gives further tips and incentives for cutting down, including tips on what appliances to buy that help reduce water, electric, and gas usage. There are even links to tax credits and rebates to help toward the purchase of more efficient appliances. I look forward to watching my usage through the Earth Aid system and racking up points.
While we all hope solid commitments to reduce emissions come out of the Copenhagen meetings, it is startups like Earth Aid that will encourage individuals to start making reductions. People simply need those extra - and very clear - incentives to change old, inefficient, and costly habits.