2016 Resolution: Measure Your Personal Carbon Footprint


The Urgency

It is almost 2 months since the historical COP21 was successfully held. The fact that 196 delegations gathered in Paris – the first agreement that takes ALL nations in the world to fight climate change – building on foundation of universal commitments should not be underappreciated. Instead, it renews the hope as we enter 2016 and we should be motivated than before to be part of the change.

Not long after the Paris Agreement, the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016 put the “failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation” as the greatest global risk in terms of impact, which is also the first time ever to put environmental issues on the top rank since the report’s initial publication. Climate change was considered to have potentially greater impact than weapons of mass destruction (2nd), water crises (3rd), large-scale involuntary migration (4th) and severe energy price shock (5th). It is, moreover, on the third riskiest in terms of likelihood, just behind large-scale involuntary migration (1st) and extreme weather events (2nd).

Yes, everyone knew there is a risk of global warming since several years ago. But now the risk has never been this high and this close than today. We are not living in a Business-As-Usual era anymore. Live with climate change breakthrough in mind should be everyone’s 2016 resolution.

Lifestyle Does Count

Two-thirds of people believed that major change in the way they live is needed to reduce the effect of global climate change, rather than relying on technology advances alone, according to Global Attitude Survey 2015 by Pew Research Center. While people recognized the need to change, did the survey ask if they were wiling to make those lifestyle changes? If we continue to believe that we as an individual are powerless to have significant contribution in emission reduction and only governments and “green” organizations can, then it is almost impossible for us to make any changes to our lifestyle. Thus, we need to nudge ourselves into countable action.

Self-Measurement Challenge

As Peter Drucker famously said “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” The world leaders are currently working hard to follow up the Paris Agreement with massive-scale strategic framework for monitoring progress of emission reduction and holding countries accountable. Meanwhile, buildings have LEED rating system and food with its USDA certification or other organic label. We can see that the nations, buildings and food have similar non-enforcement but measurable target called “name and encouraged” system going on. Now what about us? In the recent years we may have been using LED bulbs, use less water, more public transit, shop with reusable bag, throw trash in separate bins, and feel satisfied about being “green” enough. But without knowing how big or small does our lifestyle actually count to the global emission reduction or compare to others, it can be difficult to increase our impact or even maintain it.

I found this really cool social platform in the internet called Oroeco, a web and mobile application that helps us measure our personal lifestyle impact to the environment. It can give tips on how to reduce carbon footprint, create fun competition with friends, and at the same time shows how much money we save. Check out this video. Isn’t it interesting to see more green social platforms become popular as much as other photo-sharing social media? I hope you find it exciting too and help spread this app to your community!

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“The best deal possible in Paris will still only get us halfway to solving climate change. Climate change is a massive collective action problem that we all contribute to through our lifestyle choices, including our diet, shopping, transportation and home energy decisions. Governments can play a role in making our choices cleaner, but we also need incentives in the right places to nudge us towards cleaner choices on a daily basis.”Ian Monroe, founder and CEO of Oroeco


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