App aims to make solving climate issues "fun and rewarding"

Oroeco app screenshot
© Oroeco

Oroeco's personal climate action app tracks the carbon impacts of our choices, with the intent of gamifying behavior change for a more sustainable world.

As the world collectively holds its breath and waits to hear the outcomes of the Paris climate summit, which is focused on large-scale policies and frameworks, one startup maintains that these actions are not nearly enough, and that personal climate action is the missing piece of the puzzle.

"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

It's true that even with the most well-intentioned climate policies and incentives in place, without a bigger buy-in of the concept of 'owning up' to our personal responsibility for our actions and the impacts that those actions have on the bigger picture, it's hard to see getting past the halfway mark in addressing climate change. As long as we continue to believe that it's all up to governments and organizations to keep the climate livable in the future, and that our own actions are too small to count, then we probably won't be compelled to make any changes to our lifestyle, because somebody else will take care of it.

That's probably not how you feel, dear TreeHugger readers, but we all know people who are totally on board with the green/clean/sustainable/renewable movement in principle, but who still live their daily lives as if we've got an infinite amount of resources and time to be able to "fix" things later. And so for those fence-sitters, the Oroeco app may be a useful conversion tool, as it uses gamification and social engineering (as well as hard figures on carbon impacts) to motivate its users to tackle climate change 'from the bottom up.'

We previously covered the work of Oroeco last year, when it was still just a lowly web app (I know, that sounds weird, but because of the ease of use of standalone apps, which can be accessed from a smartphone that users tend to keep right at hand, web apps aren't nearly as compelling) that helped to "monitor your carbon footprint based on your purchases." However, since then, Oroeco has made strides toward making
the solving of climate issues "fun and rewarding for everyone" and now offers a brand new version of its platform for both iOS and Android devices that turns personal climate action into a social game, complete with both virtual and real-world rewards.

Instead of using doom and gloom scenarios to motivate behavior change, Oroeco rewards its users for the actions they take to reduce their carbon footprints across the categories of transport, work, home, food, and other elements of daily life, while also suggesting ways to reduce their environmental and climate impacts even further. A leaderboard function acts to add a gaming component to the platform, with users being able to see how their lifestyle compares with others in their local area, in their social circles, and with other global users, and a community newsfeed function allows the app's users to share their ideas and actions, as well as participate in both daily and weekly challenges.

"The consequences of climate change are scary. But gloom and doom don’t motivate most people. Most of us are much more motivated by immediate actions with immediate rewards. Oroeco tracks your personal climate footprint, compares you to your friends, then gives you a list of personal climate actions with virtual and real-world prizes.” - Linda Chen, product development lead at Oroeco

Here's the original Oroeco explainer animation, which is a few years old, but still relevant to the company's mission:

Oroeco is still available as a web app, but is also a free app for both iOS and Android, and the onboarding and setup process is fairly quick and simple (just answer a set of questions about your behaviors, habits, and expenses to begin). For more information about the app and the mission of Oroeco (as well as info on another Oroeco initiative that seeks to create a sustainable investment fund), see the company's website.

Tags: Apps | Carbon Footprint

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