Linking spending decisions, greenhouse gases, and social games

Via the inbox, I get word of a company trying to develop an app/website to make the greenhouse gas impacts of your spending decisions plain.  Of course, they’d like your support to get started.

Many frustrated Americans would like to take climate action
into their own hands, but it’s hard to know where to start. Enter

“The basic idea is that every dollar we spend on products or services impacts the environment and society for better or for worse,” says Oroeco’s CEO, Ian Monroe, who also teaches courses on climate change and renewable energy at Stanford University. “The problem is that these impacts aren’t apparent when we’re deciding what to buy, particularly now that global supply chains have shifted problems half a world away. We are building a tool that automatically connects purchase data from debit and credit cards (via to scientific climate impact data – so you can track the climate footprint of your groceries, gas, airfare, home energy, clothing, etc. You can also see how you compare to your friends and earn points and prizes.”

There are lots of services to track home energy usage/impacts, like Opower and the now defunct but awesome Microsoft Hohm.  I’m not familiar with others that go beyond energy use to purchasing decisions.

Some communities try to inventory consumption impacts, like King County and the City of Minneapolis, but an app/game will probably be a lot more effective at reaching residents and consumers.