Remember when “green social media” meant “submitting a link to Hugg?” Yeah, that was also back when we all used to say “Web 2.0” a lot… The look of programs designed to drive environmental action has changed about as much as the devices designed to support them, and you can do much more now than submit a link and hope that it gets upvoted. More apps now provide ways for us to hold ourselves accountable by allowing us to track everything from our carbon emissions to our food waste. A new app, eEcosphere (yes, that extra ‘”e” is supposed to be there) takes the accountability angle up a notch by allowing us to commit to sustainable action within our social networks (and, hopefully, get some of them to join in!).
Co-founder Andrew Krause told The Huffington Post that collective action underlies his company’s app: “Our vision is to help people, specifically millennials, connect with actionable ideas in their network so they can work together, near each other or from afar, on the causes that matter to them.” The urge to work together on such actions stems from the desire to be like others within a network; trust of other members drives specific actions. So, eEcosphere allows users to commit to specific actions (no “reducing food waste” – the app pushes users towards “take a reusable carry-out container with you to a dinner out”… for instance). Users themselves submit “challenges” that others can attempt. Once you’ve completed a challenge, you submit a picture as proof.
To some degree, this is “gamification” of green living – as far as I can tell, there’s no scoring system, but no doubt friendly competition will arise even as network members cooperate with one another. The network in question appears to be one’s Facebook friends – that’s a sticking point for some users. Currently, the app’s only available for iOS (another sticking point). Finally, I’d love to see some kind of “trust, but verify” element added… because, no doubt, some people’s friends will have skewed ideas about effective environmental action. Still, I think this is a great concept (and hope it comes out on Android soon!).
Have you tried out eEcosphere? Compared it to other green smartphone apps? Check out the company’s video above, and let us know what you think…