Today, there exists huge amount of information on environmental issues such as pollution, water and air quality, deforestation, climate change etc. Typically, all this environmental information is based on an approach that there is an external world out there, and we must measure it by some technical apparatus, to understand it better, and to know how to act wisely. However, out fundamental problem is that even though we know hell lot about all the problems, still the state of the global environment is getting worse. Perhaps there is a need for a new approach.
The biggest environmental problem is in our minds
We may try changing our approach from externally focused to an internally focused one – towards our own minds. Maybe the human mind can be the solution too. Unfortunately, we lack a tool to assist us in this process. Today, there exists no global, real-time data collection of quality of the local environment on an individual, smaller scale – from people’s own perceptions. Locals have a natural, vested interest to monitor changes nearby their homes. When rating places that they visit, ourists get added value to their trips, and a handy tool to access to the most beautiful areas. And what would you do if you lived in a remote area and needed to report a chemical spill or an illegal dump? By using people as individual ‘sensors’ to collect and log data, we can create a global early warning system for man-made, chronic environmental degradation based on citizen science data collection method. This may become a huge change.
“Imagine”, singed john Lennon with such a beautiful voice. So, that’s what we do:
Imagine the day when 100 million people with their smartphones have become watchdogs for mother earth, creating a real-time living world map of the state of the local environment.
“100 million people – ýou must be dreaming, eh?”, you may ask. Well, this graph shows the potential:
Today, there is over 2.5 billion people with smartphones in the World. According to several international research on people’s concern from country to another, even though there is remarkable variations in results, a conservative estimate is that approximately half of the people are concerned with their local environment. So, here we go: Smartphone app EnviRate is essentially a tool to activate the unused resources – the environmentally concerned people – for the environment. Now is the time to harness the potential of these people with the full power of communications technology, to change for the better.
Facebook changed the way you interact with other people. I believe that EnviRate may fundamentally change the way you interact with mother earth.
Somewhat amazingly, there has been no previous attempts to solve this problem. Why? Maybe the global coverage of smartphones has not been wide enough. Maybe because the advantages of cloud computing were not available until now. Or, maybe we just haven’t yet understood deeply enough the possibilities of citizen science approach and the potential of people’s collective power. Anyhow, now we are at the point of history, when this can all be changed – to overcome the dire environmental challenges we are facing as humankind.
What really happens when you use EnviRate
First, ease of use is a fundamental characteristic of the app. Simply by tapping Look-Hear-Breathe anyone can rate the environment in 10 seconds.
Second, you get that great feeling of satisfaction, safety and perhaps even something extraordinary – a subtle feeling of connectedness with the planet. You have been doing good by helping the environment by adding your ratings to the collective whole. As a result, you see a global heatmap on the state of the environment like other people have perceived it – and you know you’re not alone in this global change. So many others have been rating before you. This, again, gives you a sense of belonging to a bigger entity of humanity that acts responsibly. You zoom the map to your local environment, and know that together people’s voices matter. You feel social connectedness to your friends/groups, and you may act with higher environmental awareness in your daily life. Congratulations, you have become a watchdog for the mother earth!