Have you ever wanted to do something to help save the environment, but felt like the challenge was just too daunting for one person to make a difference? Then you should take advantage of the power of online mass collaboration and join Carbonrally.com.
For those of you that attended ictQATAR’s Connected Speakers event with Wikinomics author Anthony D. Williams, you heard him talk about Carbonrally as an example of how people are using the Internet to find new ways to take on major global challenges. The Carbonrally concept is simple: If many people commit to small, positive actions, they can have a major overall impact.
To become a part of Carbonrally, you simply register (which can be done using Facebook Connect) and then look through a variety of “challenges” you can “accept.” All of the challenges are relatively simple and contain an informational component about how the challenge will help in reducing CO2 emissions.
I opted to accept the challenges of “Right Now, Less Cow” and “Bring Your Own Bags.” For “Right Now, Less Cow,” I committed to not eating meat on at least two days a week, because, according to the site as much as 22% of greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture and nearly 80% of that figure can be directly attributed to livestock production. Wow! For “Bring Your Own Bags,” you commit to avoid using plastic grocery bags, and instead bring your own bags, like the canvas ones they sell at Carrefour or Lulu. The numbers Carbonrally share on this one are from the U.S., but I am certain they are just as bas if not worse worldwide: Americans consume over 100 billion plastic shopping bags each year. Less than 5% of those bags are recycled. The rest end up buried in landfills or wandering the landscape as litter. Again, wow!
By committing to just these two challenges, I personally help reduce 2.1 pounds of CO2 – not much, but a start. To get a sense of what each challenge is accomplishing globally (and to feel part of a bigger movement), Carbonrally creates a nice map that shows the CO2 emission reduction for each city by challenge. For example, in Boston, the “Right Now, Less Cow” challenge has led to a CO2 reduction of 2.88 TONS! Now that is proof that a lot of small actions can lead a major impact.
Carbonrally goes to the next level in making the reduction of CO2 emissions more fun by introducing teams and competitions. You can form a Carbonrally team with other members and take on other teams for each challenge. Many schools and universities are forming teams, and even entire communities are starting to face-off. What about a Carbonrally challenge between Doha and Dubai? I say bring it on!
According to some sources, Qatar has the highest carbon footprint per person on the planet – almost three times that of the United States. There are many things people in Qatar can do to reduce their carbon footprint and Carbonrally is a great place to discover some of these. When I signed-up for the site, there was only one other member in Qatar, which is sadly consistent with the perception that people in Qatar do care at all about the environment. We need to change that and online collaboration may be a good way to start.
I would love to see the universities in Education City take each other on in a Carbonrally challenge, and maybe my idea about Doha vs. Dubai should happen (they don’t do much better in terms of carbon footprint!). I for one will be proudly carrying my canvas bag into Lulu this weekend and filling it with vegetables! Join the Carbonrally – and encourage your friends to as well!