Campaign to Label Carbon Footprint of Consumer Goods

A team has started a Kickstarter campaign to label a product’s carbon footprint so consumers can make better decisions about which brand to buy. The labels are meant to bring attention to the additional cost of wasteful production and a bunch of brands have already joined the initiative.

Of course the best way to help the environment is to follow the first R and reduce your consumption in the first place.

Solutions to seriously mitigate climate change exist, but they are not free. You know what is free right now? Emitting greenhouse gases. Let’s change that.

By joining Certified Climate Neutral, businesses can choose to pay for all of their carbon emissions and accelerate the implementation of low-carbon technologies. Becoming Climate Neutral Certified is so affordable, immediate, and measurably impactful that it should be the minimum standard for what it means to be a sustainable business. 

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Why Urban Areas Are More Efficient Than Suburban Areas

It’s been known for years that urban centres have a lower carbon footprint than the lands of urban sprawl. This is a for a variety of reasons and it’s rather complex, sure most of it comes down to density, but the exact know how is still being figure out.

Over at Alternatives Journal they looked at how building sustainable cities makes better cities overall. This is how and why people make resilient cities.

FOR EXAMPLE, existing low-density suburban developments “actually increase the damage on the environment while also making that damage harder to see and to address,” wrote Green Metropolis author David Owen. Although Forbes ranked Vermont as the greenest US state in 2007, Owen’s 2009 article revealed that a typical Vermonter consumed 2,063 litres of gasoline per year – almost 400 hundred litres more than the US national average at that time. This vast consumption is primarily due to single-use zoning and the absence of a comprehensive public transit system. Contrary to popular belief, dense cities such as New York City typically have the lowest carbon footprints. NYC emits 7.1 tonnes of greenhouse gases per person per year, or less than 30 per cent of the US national average. This is due to its extreme compactness. Over 80 per cent of Manhattanites travel to work by public transit, by bicycle or on foot. Population density also lowers energy and water use, limits material consumption and decreases the production of solid waste. For example, Japan’s urban areas are five times denser than Canada’s, and the consumption of energy per capita in Japan is 40 per cent lower.

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Slow Increasing Carbon Waste by Growing Cities

People living in cities have a lower carbon footprint than those in the suburbs and rural areas. Some people find this rather counter intuitive for reasons I don’t fully understand. There are researchers looking into the future of our global carbon footprint and they have concluded that if we increase the percentage of people in urban places instead of suburban/rural we can lower the rate of wasteful carbon increase.

By taking these key steps, particularly in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, the analysis concluded that the world’s cities could limit themselves to using 540 exajoules of energy in 2050 (it takes the U.S. about three weeks to produce enough crude oil to generate 1 EJ of energy). That’s a lot of energy—more than double cities’ 2005 energy demand of 240 EJ. But it’s a quarter less than the projected demand of 730 EJ under the business-as-usual scenario analyzed.

Given that most of the energy used by humanity today comes from fossil fuels, improving the energy efficiency of cities could deliver big climate benefits. Cities account for so much of the world’s energy use that a recent U.N climate report concluded they’re responsible for three quarters of yearly carbon dioxide pollution.

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Do You Make the World Better? There’s an App for That

By now most people have heard what a carbon footprint is, but have you heard about your gloabl ‘handprint‘? The notion is that it’s the opposite of a negative counter of your impacts on the planet. Handprints are recorded online or on your phone as you make little (or big) improvements to the world around you.

You can create a handprint in three ways. First, you simply cut your footprint: say, by cycling to work, rather than driving. Second, you can champion an action suggested on the platform (carpooling, say). Or, third, you can come up with a completely new idea. In each case, Handprinter calculates the benefit and your part in bringing it about. If, for example, you share a link and someone clicks on it, you get credited with that action. Everything is subtracted from your footprint, which you calculate at the beginning.

Read more at co.Exist.

Competitive Carbon Footprint: GreenPocket

A German company had created a ‘game’ called GreenPocket that aims to make shrinking your carbon footprint competitive and fun. I’m quite curious how this will actually work, but I’m happy to see that the idea of making energy conservation entertaining is gaining steam.

Based in Cologne, GreenPocket is a software provider focusing on the visualization and interpretation of smart metering energy consumption data. As a complement to its smart metering and smart home solutions, the company recently launched a social metering app to sustain consumers’ interest in monitoring their energy use over time. Push notifications inform consumers as to how well they are doing compared with their friends in weekly energy efficiency contests, for example, as well as about other positive developments related to their energy consumption behavior. Users are also able to share their data on Facebook for others to view. GreenPocket CEO Thomas Goette explains: “This combination initiates an innovative dialogue between the utility and the customer and opens up an entirely new channel for utility marketing campaigns.”

From Springwise.
GreenPocket’s site.

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