JouleBug is a great place to kick-start environmental improvement habits
The goal of challenge #5:
- Find and trial an app that aims to support sustainable lifestyle improvements
Heads down, hunched backs, finger and eyes on screens, obliviously blocking out the activity around us. It’s not quite the behaviour I aspire to, but in today’s digital world, most of us are well and truly hooked to our phones. I sometimes find it sad to see how so many people have developed a social awkwardness, for example, being unable to stand comfortably and soak up their surroundings whilst waiting for a train or meeting a friend, but rather find comfort in default phone browsing mode.
Nevertheless, the technology at our finger tips enables so many great possibilities. We have endless instant information and online communities can help create some really wonderful movements. This week I decided to look for inspiration from some of the apps out there that encourage eco-lifestyle improvements. This MUO article gave a helpful overview of a few options.
I was particularly attracted to JouleBug, as it is very much in line with the concept of Better Me Green, in looking to identify small changes across a wide variety of topics, whether food, travel, energy, out and about, or at home etc…. It is set up in a very light hearted, positive and encouraging way, meaning you can jump on board with very little effort.
To be honest, I generally have a short attention span when it comes to apps. My pre-conception was that JouleBug was going to be something novel for a day or two, not more. I was, however, pleasantly surprised.
Here is what I liked about JouleBug:
- Inclusive & Easy – From energy use at home, to transport, food and local community engagement, the app presents ideas for everyone, most of which are really manageable rather than intimidating. Yet they definitely include lots of items that give ideas to even a seasoned sustainable soul.
- Feel good effect – With each eco-friendly activity you buzz for points and can learn how much impact you have over a year when adopting these habits long-term.
- Positive community spirit – After each achieved action, you can add a photo or comment within the JouleBug community, which leads to encouraging exchanges between people. You can follow people and join specific challenges to make it a bit more fun too.
- Transparent Statistics – With every buzz you get some interesting information about how much energy/water etc. is saved over a year. Some are a little abstract, (how many hours I could heat a hot-tub is not really relatable for me) but how long an average home can be powered for is an interesting incentive. The app is developed using American statistics, so knowing there is a different in average C02 emissions between Germany and the USA, I would be interested to find a similar app based on European statistics. Do let me know if you are aware of any.
Changes this week thanks to the app
Although I had already integrated a lot of the actions into my daily routine, JouleBug definitely influenced my decision for the better in several situations within just one week:
- I took the train, despite initially having planned to take the car.
- We car-pooled when going to visit friends 100km away, rather than taking two cars. The journey was all the more fun with 6 of us instead of 2, and the sing-along with our fellow 4 year-old passenger, Karla, was great fun!
- I timed my shower for the first time in my life.
7 minutes including a hair wash was not bad I think.