In an effort to create an entertaining, easy way to learn about eco-friendly living, Google paired up with the California Academy of Sciences and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation to create Your Plan, Your Planet for Earth Day. Using interactive quizzes, tips and visual aids, Your Plan, Your Planet gives users a concise set of messages that will help anyone understand the simple ways they can do their part in helping save the planet’s precious resources.
With a trusted name like Google behind Your Plan, Your Planet, you know it will be both accurate and user-friendly. For example, the water pillar explores all the ways, both obvious and not-so-obvious, that we waste water every day. The app gives specific, sourced facts for elements to consider all over the home, from how much water is wasted by having a drippy faucet each year to how much water can be saved from using a dishwasher instead of hand-washing.
The other pillars focus on two equally as important angles to help the environment: energy and food. Did you know that keeping your lights on for four hours per day in a two-bedroom home annually produces the CO2e (“carbon dioxide equivalent,” a unit for measuring carbon footprint) as driving a car for 40 hours? The energy pillar lets you pinpoint exactly how many kilowatt hours of energy your own home produces in a year, and that is only one section of the pillar. Among other things, the food pillar shares helpful ways to store food properly to prevent wasted groceries (“Two-thirds of the food tossed out at home could have been eaten if it had been stored properly,” the app explains). Once you’ve reached the end of each pillar, a choice of pledges awaits with links to share on social media and a chance to add reminders of the pledge to your calendar.
In order to unlock all the tips, you have to make it through the entire interactive program (it only takes a few minutes, and there is plenty of helpful advice along the way). Users can sign into their Google accounts to save their progress and track pledges.
The original three pillars — water, food and energy — are now being joined by stuff on Earth Day 2019 to raise awareness of detrimental “fast fashion” as well as many people’s affinity to throw their stuff away without a second thought. These bad habits have lead to the equivalent of one garbage truck full of clothing (2,625 kg) being burned or sent to the landfill every second, a fact revealed early on in the app. On average, a piece of clothing that is made poorly is tossed in the trash after being worn just seven or eight times.
The pillar was designed to help users understand the circular economy — the system aimed at managing ways to minimize waste and find better ways to expend the earth’s resources. Instead of the former mindset of “make, use, dispose,” circular economy is designed to keep resources in use as long as possible, rather than just throwing things away after we’re done with them. The facts revealed throughout the app are based on extensive Ellen MacArthur studies, such as The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics & catalysing action and A New Textiles Economy: Redesigning fashion’s future.
Some examples of the pledges on Your Plan, Your Planet include:
“I pledge to take part in Fashion Friday — Every Friday pledge to wear clothing you haven’t worn in a while. After wearing it, decide whether to keep, resell, reuse or donate your clothing.”
“I pledge to prevent single-use plastics — Pledge to limit the purchase of single-use plastics, invest in reusable shopping bags, water bottles and straws, and reuse your plastic to keep it in use.”
A simple change in just one of these patterns can have a considerable impact on your carbon footprint and contribution to the decay of the planet’s environmental resources.
Some of our favorite tips? Get inventive when it comes to recycling! “Donate extra toys to a daycare, drop off old hangers to your local dry cleaner or advertise items on your neighborhood social media channels.” These are just a few ways to cut out the middleman and make sure that the items you don’t need anymore wind up in the hands of someone who could really use them. Another good tip from the app: “Choose to buy from a company that takes your products back [after you’re done with them].” Doing a little extra research before making a purchase can be the difference between trash and treasure.
It’s no secret that minimalism and environmental awareness is gaining popularity. Videos and articles on sustainable fashion and eco-friendly options for waste have been popping up more and more as the plight of the earth’s resources is worsening.
The stuff pillar has been available for teachers to use as a lesson plan since April 15, but Google has now made it available to everyone to celebrate Earth Day. Your Plan, Your Planet is great for both adults and children and an excellent way to learn together! You can access the program via g.co/yourplanyourplanet.
Images via Your Plan, Your Planet