Climate change can feel like an insurmountable issue, especially to a lone person. It’s easy to feel like you can’t make a difference, that whatever efforts you might take can hardly make a dent in the astronomical amounts of carbon dioxide that NASA estimates exists in our atmosphere today — amounts that have quite literally melted ancient glaciers.
But global warming was a problem made by humans, so it only stands to reason that humans be the ones capable — and responsible — to fix it. All it takes is for someone to get the ball rolling.
As the saying goes, there’s an app for everything, and now there’s one for tracking how much carbon you produce from your daily choices and activities. Capture is an app that looks much like any of the slick fitness trackers and meditation guiders you might find on the App Store — only, instead of keeping score of how many calories you’re dropping, the app tells you how much carbon you’ve released into the atmosphere every month. And the answer isn’t always pretty.
The app begins with a short questionnaire about your life: What type of transport you use the most, how many flights you take a year, and how often you eat meat (the link between a carnivorous diet and climate change is a well-established one). You’ll then get a ballpark figure for the amount of carbon dioxide that your lifestyle generates.
To make the figure more accurate, users can turn on the app’s smart GPS function, which estimates what sort of transport you’re using based on the speed that you’re travelling at.
So what do you do with these numbers? Aside from being able to make adjustments where you see fit, Capture also offers users a way to offset their carbon footprint with a selection of certified carbon offsetting projects, which includes forest conservation in the Americas, tree planting in Panama, and the development of renewable energy in Taiwan. Each of the programmes are certified with The Gold Standard, an international benchmark for environmental projects that was first set up in 2003 by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
You might wonder how Capture measures the carbon footprint of each action in the first place. So did we. While the company remained vague about its data, it assured us that the statistics in the app are backed by data from the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as research from climate and materials scientist Joanne Norris, who is currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of Delaware.
Capture’s co-founder, Josie Stoker, understands how abstract the issue of climate change can be for some.
“The first step to reducing our emissions is being able to understand what they are,” says Stoker. “We aren’t pretending Capture will be the solution to climate change, but empowering individuals to be ‘carbon conscious’ is a great place to start.”
“Nobody is perfect, and I think it’s really important to not be deterred, or feel like a failure if you need to take a flight for a work trip,” she adds, “or if an iced coffee accidentally came in a plastic cup with a straw and a bag, even though you asked a thousand times to have it in a glass.”
Find Capture on the App Store or on the Google Play store.