"Be the change you want to see in the world" is a well-worn cliché. Most of us, however, feel overwhelmed in the face of the climate and environmental challenges.
An overwhelming problem
An ocean filled with plastic, carbon emissions out of control despite major international agreements, and every year the world's population increases by about 1 percent; approximately 80 million people.
In South Africa these problems are felt even more precariously than if, for example, one lives in Norway where the effects may not be seen in day to day life.
"In Cape Town, we feel the need for a more sustainable and fairer world every day. Food security is an issue, the predominantly fossil fuel based electrical grid is under strain and climate change will only exacerbate these problems” says Danielle Laity.
But instead of giving in, Laity and her team decided to do something. They’ve started a new community: Aurora Sustainability.
The climate crisis has been created by the sum of all human actions, so if each of us does something, we can contribute a little to solving the problem.
On the Aurora community platform, anyone can log on and take a quick quiz that tells you the size of your carbon footprint. The intention is not to compete or compare yourself to others; it’s to get a measure of how sustainable you are today, and then receive the information and inspiration needed to make sustainable lifestyle changes.
Aurora Sustainability is now beta testing its second version, and they have already gained over 10,000 users. It was launched in South Africa, but they are now rolling it out in Norway as their second country.
Aurora Sustainability will use the network effect to change the world.
When a network effect is present, the value of a product increases according to the number of others using it. Our users will be able to tell each other about changes they have made, and point each other towards greener choices. When you take the quiz, you get an Aurora score divided into five areas. The higher the score, the more sustainable you are. The five areas measured are energy use, transport, food, other consumption and investments. If, for example, you start cycling to work, then you will be able to see what change this makes to your CO2 footprint.
“It’s possible for consumers to drive industry if we come together to make a difference”, says Laity.
When you take the quiz, you get an Aurora score divided into five areas. The higher the score, the more sustainable you are. The five areas measured are energy use, transport, food, other consumption and investments. If, for example, you start cycling to work, then you will be able to see what change this makes to your CO2 footprint.
In your dashboard you will have a complete overview of how sustainable your lifestyle is (or not). For many, it does not make much sense to talk about kilograms of CO2 saved, therefore Aurora also makes comparisons to units that are more specific. For example, how many loads of washing you have saved.
Her ambitions for Aurora Sustainability are grand: “We will be the community for everyone who wants to make a difference. Those who don’t want to wait for politicians to make all the choices, but who make concrete choices in their everyday lives. There are enough people to be able to make a big difference here and now”, says Laity.