I’d like to see a new green fad for electronic jewelry with real-time displays of carbon footprints. These could be mood rings, bracelets, lapel pins or anything else that could change color depending on how much electricity you use, how much gasoline your car burns, how much you travel.I like that idea a lot. I am no fan of jewelry in general, but I could get down with this.
The displays might change color from red to yellow to green as a carbon footprint diminishes. (There might even be a little glowing footprint on it.) The green might be a dim shade for those who have bought carbon credits to offset their energy use, but a much brighter shade for those who’ve reduced emissions to below-average without having to buy the credits.
Of course, it would be a chore to set up monitors for energy use, but plenty of greens are willing to give lots of time to the cause. Some are accused of being religious zealots — global warmists. But one of the advantages of religion is that it inspires people to acts of selflessness for the common good. Why not reward devout conservationists by letting them display their virtue?
This would be a strictly voluntary system — climate contrarians could either ignore it or proudly wear their flashing red lapel pins — and it would cost taxpayers nothing.
Besides putting the enthusiasm of greens to practical use, this fashion statement might also inject some realism into the debate about global warming. Once you start keeping track of all the energy you use, you begin to see the difficulties of making drastic reductions — and the difference between effective actions and ritual displays.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here. First, with your help (go to tierneylab.blogs.nytimes.com), we have to work out the details of this device, starting with what it should measure and what it would be called.
The Green Lantern is an obvious name, but there may be trademark problems. GreenGlow? Eglow? Enudge? The Nudgie? Further research is clearly needed.
The problem is, where do you get the data from? Maybe you could just go to a website and fill in data to calculate your carbon footprint. But then, when would the bracelet change colors?
What I would really like would be if each merchant calculated the footprint for each product, and then passed this along to the credit card company. Then your credit card bill could specify the amount of carbon you have used along with the amount of money you have spent. This data could then be wirelessly transmitted to your carbon bracelet.
Until that day, I think it would be possible to get electronic data of carbon emissions via your monthly electricity and natural gas bills along with the gasoline and airline ticket purchases on your credit card. This would get the major energy components and carbon emissions. Your bracelet could be updated monthly to reflect your latest purchases.
Over at Earth2Tech they mention another way to use peer pressure to reduce your footprint: a Facebook App CarbonMinder that compares your carbon footprint with that of your friends.
via NY Times