As individuals, it is very difficult to imagine that our actions can truly make a difference in the larger scheme of the climate crisis. However, when individual choices are mobilized and compounded, they can make a real impact upon climate solutions and can drive municipal and international governmental policies. All it takes is a large, citizen commitment to action to influence our planet. There are a wide variety of businesses and organizations that have begun to take the steps to involve citizens in the climate sphere in a manner that enables their daily life choices to be related to their impact upon the climate, allowing individuals to recognize the difference that they are able to make.
Today, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an event at COP 25 called Zero Hour: Citizen Mobilization for Climate Action. At this event, three different private organizations located in different nations described their attempts to engage citizens in the climate space from an individual standpoint that allows them to organize themselves with other concerned citizens and understand how their daily decisions can make an impact on our globe.
- The first of these was an app created in China called Lvdoya, which allows owners to reduce their carbon footprint by notifying them of how much carbon is attached to each of their purchases. In addition, it includes a purchasing platform for products that have been created in a carbon neutral manner. This app has been very successful thus far in increasing individual involvement and tracking of carbon usage; in fact, since its creation, 100,000 Chinese have downloaded the app, and 200,000 tons of carbon have been reduced.
- The W-Foundation, a Korean organization, has also been successful in engaging citizens with climate activism. They have primarily done so through their brand, Hooxi, which translates to “Green” in English. This brand has been used to produce many different items and has funded events, including Korea’s very first boxed water and various concerts and speeches. Hooxi was created in response to a noticed lack of climate branding. Branding in this manner allows individuals to engage with the climate conservation on a daily basis through consumer goods, which is very unusual in a capitalist context. Hooxi’s newest feature is a gaming app, which uses missions to incentivize people to be mindful of the climate and have a positive environmental impact. These missions can include anything from planting a tree to recycling, and when they are completed the app owner can receive points, which correlate to a cryptocurrency that can be used to purchase products. These missions are also public, as the app is also a social media platform, and, therefore, there is an additional social pressure to complete missions on time.
- Lastly, a Swedish banking company called Doconomy has also worked to engage average people with climate activism through traditional financial institutions. Their work has culminated in the creation of DO, a credit card that maxes out when an individual uses a certain amount of carbon emissions. DO was created with the SDG 2030 consumption goals in mind, ensuring that the carbon emission usage of individuals is on track with international goals. This credit card allows people to be mindful of how their purchases impact the environment.
It is clear that these businesses not only have a stake in engaging citizens with climate, but have also been economically successful in doing so. To solve the climate crisis, it is necessary that climate activists and politicians are not the only ones involved in the climate movement, but that regular, every day citizens have a stake in solving climate changes through normal activities. Organizations such as these three give individuals the power to make small impacts that can make a difference, and lead our world a bit closer to solving the climate crisis.