The hacker’s guide: a new online approach to old environmentalism

iStock_000008226291XSmall.jpgAre we done with the tips? Turn down the air conditioning. Hang your clothes out to dry. Switch your light bulbs. Most people have heard these over and over and, for many, the changes we have made in support of the environment and society are now habits. With iPhones, laptops, widgets, and more, it’s time to take your dedication to all things green a step further.

Figure out what you’re really worth.
Sure, you’ve taken public transit a few more times to save on gas. Great. But what have you really saved and what more can you do? Online tools can take you a step ahead by helping you calculate, plan and search for a greener life.
Search the Green Web: this widget, available for almost any social media site, conveniently narrows your web searches to pages focusing on environmental topics. Less time sorting, more time discovering.
Eating Green calculator: plug in your weekly food intake and see what it really costs. 3.5 ounces of chicken and one egg used 2.7 pounds of fertilizer and created 91 pounds of manure. Uck.
Calculate your carbon: offers a series of one-minute calculators to gauge and manage your carbon output.
Emission Reduction Calculator: see what all those new light bulbs have changed. By inputting your planned, or real, energy reductions you’ll see the GHGs saved and more. (Mainly a states-side thing, but still useful!)

Make a meaningful contribution.
Many organizations offer online petitions so you can throw your support in with a click. But to go further try this:
Volunteer online: The United Nations Online Volunteering Service posts assignment that can be done from home. Translate a brochure, create an environmental education plan, design a web site, write policies and more. links Neighbours (online volunteers) with Villages (local communities) in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Connect to help establish and complete projects but also share ideas and find solutions to local issues.
Citizen science: Help track how climate change is affecting our planet by contributing to collaborative projects. For example, track bee populations in your backyard with The Great Sunflower Project a citizen science initiative in the U.S. and Canada. Participants plant sunflowers and check one of them twice a month for visiting bees, among others and log their results online. Stewardship Canada’s Citizen Science program offers a listing of projects looking for volunteers.

Connect with communities.
Find like-minded people seeking social and ecological change and get going. Many online communities rally around a particular cause or event but you can also find others in your area through a meetup group or discussion board to organize offline actions. Check out,,, or the general to get started. A quick Google, Twitter or Facebook search about an issue or topic that is big in your area can yield some great places to start meeting people online.

Whatever your tactic, using your mouse and keyboard can be a great start to getting involved and share. Any suggestions for more online tools? Let us know in the comments!

2 thoughts on “The hacker’s guide: a new online approach to old environmentalism

  1. Wow, cool facts. I had no idea that that much fertilizer is used for my morning breakfast. Very cool article. Keep them coming.


  2. There is a Canadian emission reductions calculator tool you should know about produced by Earth Day Canada. The EcoAction Teams calculator is a interactive commitment and action tool (waste, water, energy, transportation, food related activities) that will measure all your savings based on what you commit to doing.
    Find out how many litres of water, kilowatt hours of electricity or green house gas emission you’ll save from your green daily habits. It’s free to sign up, and easy to use 🙂


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