Your country’s carbon emissions are going up, and the numbers don't compare well to the rest of the world – as a nation, you're producing 4.3 times more CO2 than the average if you’re American; 1.7 times more if you’re Andorran. So what can you, as one person, do about it?
Taking even the simplest steps will make a difference, the winner of the World Bank’s Apps for Climate competition explains in a detailed, country-by-country breakdown in his web app Ecofacts.
On June 28, the winners of the Apps for Climate competition were announced in a celebration at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. It was the end of one competition, and the start of another – at the ceremony, MTV and the World Bank-supported Connect4Climate also announced the next big global climate competition, this one focused on young singers, musicians, videographers, and photographers.
1st Place: Turning climate data into compelling lessons
Andres Martinez Quijano, the Argentinian developer who built the winner of the Apps for Climate competition, Ecofacts, said he was inspired in his youth by the book 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth. By helping people understand how they’re contributing to climate change, letting them see how their country’s CO2 emissions and energy use are increasing, and then giving them simple actions to take, he said he hopes to help others better the world, too.
“The way people live in industrialized countries – their way of life causes climate change,” he said. “It isn’t the corporations. It’s how people live, what they buy and how they use energy.”
The Ecofacts app, using the World Bank’s open data, teaches users about energy consumption and climate change and shows how individual actions can translate into large-scale changes at the national level. For example, “If 50% of the houses in the United States turned off one light of 60 watts each, that would save 9.03 TWh per year, which is the output of 7.53 coal power plants, which means 8.58 million tons less of CO2 released into the atmosphere, per year.”
2nd Place: Turning policy into action
Second prize went to My Climate Plan, which allows users to create their own national plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The initial version is based upon Norway’s policies, allowing public users and politicians to see the cost and impact of each policy and to understand that it will take a mix of policies to reduce climate-changing emissions.
“A white paper takes a week to read and understand. This take 5 minutes to create a plan and see the impact,” said the app’s presenter, Henrik Lund, head of institutional relations for the Oslo-based Bellona Foundation, where Håvard Lundberg and Aleksander Johansen created the app.
3rd Place: It’s one big, connected world
Third prize went to a colorful app called Globe Town, which uses illustrations and the World Bank’s climate data to show how countries are connected globally through trade, immigration, or international assistance – and how that also connects to CO2 emissions and the impact on each country's environment, society, and economy.
“The goal was to show that we’re all part of this – we’re all connected," said Andrea Prieto, a designer from Colombia who built the project with Jack Townsend, Richard Gomer, and Dominic Hobso of the United Kingdom.
The “popular choice” winner in the competition, picked by fans, was CC Climate for Children, a collection of interactive classroom presentations and games for teaching students about climate change, created by university student Darko Bozhinoski and Gorgi Kakasevski of Macedonia.