As our good friend Max Gladwell has pointed out repeatedly, the social web provides a wealth of opportunities to change the world through social media. Finnish start-up One Did It is shooting for a spot on Max’s list: this small company, which shared its story with us on the Finnfacts Clean Tech Bloggers Tour, aims to promote European approaches to thinking about sustainability through a decidedly Silicon Valley model. Their platform, which combines lifestyle assessment, action tips, and opportunities for friendly competition among its community, provides users with the means to measure the impact of their lifestyle choices, and to see the effects of behavioral changes on their environmental footprints.
What gets measured gets managed: the Ecological Backpack
It turns out that my use of the term “footprint” illustrates my American perspective on environmental impact; One Did It relies on the metaphor of the “ecological backpack,” which originated in Europe, and has really taken off in Germany. While similar to the footprint concept, the backpack approach provides a bit more comprehensive evaluation of the burden your choices place on natural systems. According to the company’s site,
Eco-backpack calculations are based on the MIPS-method developed in the early 1990s in the Wuppertal Institute, Germany. MIPS stands for Material Input Per Service Unit. The method can be used to estimate the environmental burden caused by a product, service, or even a lifestyle. The entire life cycle from cradle to grave (extraction, production, use, waste and recycling) is considered.
In short, the eco-backpack measures resource efficiency: what are you getting out of the inputs that go into a product. The concept doesn’t focus on waste and pollution; rather, it assumes that more efficient use of resources inevitably decreases these outcomes.
Weigh your backpack… and then lighten it
One Did It starts a user off with its ecological backpack measurement test: users provide information on elements of their lifestyle including
From the information you supply (have your utility bills ready), the test calculates your backpack. From there, you can start taking action… and the site has tons of suggestions on this front, along with the “weight” this removes from your backpack. You can even join groups, and have your actions included with others’ activity.
Making a Game out of Saving the Earth
Ultimately, the approach One Did It takes involves creating a game: both individuals and groups can compete with other members to create the lightest impact. This isn’t necessarily a new model — it reminds me a bit of Make Me Sustainable — but it should be effective: think of it as a “keeping up with the Joneses” approach to greening your lifestyle.
One Did It is currently still in stealth mode, even as it has basic features up on its existing website. They plan to focus on the European market first, but look for American versions of the service… this is sure to attract attention within the existing green social media space.
Had a chance to play with One Did It? What did you think? Share your thoughts…
Please note: Finnfacts paid for my trip to the Clean Tech Bloggers Tour. And One Did It gave me, and all of the bloggers, an actual backpack made from Finnish army jacket material.
Image credits: One Did It