According to NASA and NOAA scientists, 2016 was the hottest year on record. In fact, 2016 was the hottest year of the three consecutive hottest years on record. According to a Gallup poll, 64% of Americans worried a great deal/fair amount about global warming. Meanwhile, in January 2017, severe thunderstorms and tornados hit the southern United States leaving upwards of 18 dead. After a Google search and review of articles in national newspapers, there is limited, if not nonexistent reporting that explicitly links the deadly storms to global warming.
It is not a mystery that severe weather related events are occurring around the world at an ever-increasing frequency. Headlines that come to mind are drought-stricken California, the disappearing Maldives islands, and the vanishing Miami Beach coastline due to raising water levels. In September 2016, the world passed the symbolic 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the world’s atmosphere. If the world has now reached a point of no return, how can individuals change their behavior to cope with climate change?
Americans can continue to reduce their carbon footprint by consuming less fuel by driving less, converting water intensive lawns to drought tolerant gardens, and conserving energy by turning of the lights. What are other more innovative ways that will change behavior?
In the age of FitBits and Apple Watches that track our steps, stairs climbed, heart rate, sleeping habits, weight, etc. What if a similar monitoring system tracked our energy consumption? There are new consumer devices available such as Sense, Curb, and Neurio. An electricity and water monitoring system could send us real time information with the amount of money spent to heat/cool our home, take a shower, run the laundry machine, etc. If people knew, in real time, the cost of their consumption, it would have a considerable impact on behavior. A similar system could track the cost of miles driven.