Can Greenie Make Environmentalism Fun?

What if saving the planet was less of a chore and more like a video game? While it takes teaching urgent truths about global warming seriously Greenie app puts people’s competitive impulses to use saving the planet.

Greenie provides valuable tips on how average citizens can change their daily lives to combat climate change. But it also pits its users against each other in a competition of who can be the most green.

I have nothing against the environment, so I figured I’d give it a shot. When I downloaded Greenie app, I was led through its mission statement, which was about an overabundance of CO2 in the atmosphere that we need to reduce or something? Then rising sea levels, dying forests and global warming, yadda yadda yadda.

Look. I’ve seen An Inconvenient Truth. Or most of it, anyway. I get it. The earth’s getting hot. And I think a lot of people understand that fact as well. The issue isn’t getting the information out there. It’s changing behavior. And changing behavior is just what Greenie is trying to do.

Once logged in via Facebook, Greenie greets you with an earth-saving tip: turn off your computers. My tip states that 5-10 percent of electricity used in homes is from computers left in standby mode and accounts for one percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions.

OK. Mind blown. No more sleep mode for my computer. I’m shutting this puppy down every night going forward.

While offering mind-blowing, earth-saving tips, Greenie gamifies being green. Greenie charts how much CO2 you’ve reduced each day and shows how your stats compare with the rest of the Greenie community. So yeah, you get to win at environmentalism. “In your face, losers. Your carbon footprint is gigantic.”

In addition to following best environmental practices, Greenie allows you to buy your way to green glory. Through the app, you can pay to plant carbon emission-reducing trees at $4.99 per planting. Along with trees and tips, the app lets you add actions to your daily life like making sure you unplug all your phone chargers when not in use.

With the actions you commit to, Greenie tallies how much money you save each day and lets you to earn “Greenie badges” for when your progress is on par with or exceeding other members of the Greenie community.

And it might seem silly to have to make environmentalism into a game, considering that we should already have ample motivation to reduce, recycle and reuse our resources. After all,we face global catastrophe if we don’t. But, we can’t argue with success.

And anyway, if enough people try to beat this game, we all win.