If people try to lose weight and be fit and healthy, the first thing they generally do is reduce the amount of calories they eat. If they’re not sure how many calories that sticky toffee pudding or Armenian vegetable casserole actually contain, it’s not so difficult to find out. It’s even on the labels of the ingredients they buy.
But for people who are not Weight Watchers and belong instead to the North London EcoCounts group, the info they need is the CO2 emissions, not the calories. Their task is an order of magnitude or two harder, and the data is constantly changing. It’s so difficult, society appears to have given up and advocates a strict diet extended across their whole lifestyle: go vegan, don’t drive and don’t fly.
EcoCore set up the EcoCounts as a separate charitable entity, with the aim of bringing together local people to be as sustainable as possible, and to record how they manage it. We are working with spreadsheets in the initial phase to keep track of our impacts and our progress towards sustainability.
The technology though needs to become more user-friendly than the spreadsheet-based approach, to get more people using it, which means for the vast majority of people a mobile app with a connection to data on the emissions and environmental impact of the products they wish to buy, something that is easily accessible to show product info both before purchase, and after purchase as part of a personal carbon footprint calculation.
The plan for the EcoCounts organisation and participants is:
- to collate data on all sorts of everyday sources of CO2 emissions
- to build up a record of their CO2 emissions across a comprehensive set of activities and purchasing habits
- to show how they perform sustainability-wise as a group
- to benefit from personal variations in lifestyles within the group by introducing personal carbon trading to reduce the carbon footprint of the group as a whole
- to incorporate businesses and local government into various facets of the program
- to transplant the blueprint of EcoCounts to other areas
EcoCore is committed to helping build the technology platforms that EcoCounts needs, starting with spreadsheets and taking it to whatever level is required to make it easy, engaging for the group, effective and efficient, and demonstrable to the outside world.