What If All You Needed Was A Decoder?
In 1799 a French captain named Pierre Bouchard discovered the Rosetta Stone which was carved with weird symbols, arrows, circles, and lines. 23 years later, French Egyptologist called Jean Francois Champollion (1790-1832) became the first man to translate the carvings on the stone. They were called the hieroglyphic writing system and opened a whole new, forgotten Egyptian world for all of humanity. Suddenly, all of us could get information on stories about the Pharaohs, life after death, and religious texts dating as far back as 3000 BC.
But let’s fast forward 5000 years. To modern times. Our times. Research-based times. 97% of scientists today agree that humans are responsible for climate change.
We know everything about global warming, and we hear these 2 words on every channel of the world’s media. We see it as an important part of business strategies. We hear about it from our politicians. And yet, we don’t really understand what you, me, or anyone else, can actually do to solve this issue. It all looks like… Hieroglyphics to us.
Let's head north for a moment.
The city of Trondheim. By the river bank. Close to the old town bridge. Here is a red, wooden building, and on the top 5th floor, the headquarters of one brave startup: Ducky. Ducky has developed a set of tools to engage people to live more sustainably. You might have noticed. There is no Egypt, nor hieroglyphs. But still, something connected with translating symbols. That something is called: Climate Decoder.
What Is Climate Decoder?
This is a special service that uses creative, yet scientifically credible ways to decipher and visualize climate data. In other words: It is a way to tell inspiring and interesting stories by transforming boring climate data.
Let's say you've used public transport for 30 days. With Ducky’s Footprint Calculator, you could quickly figure out that you've managed to save 86 Kg of CO2e. In addition, you had “Vegetarian Wednesdays”, adding 4 kg CO2e to your total savings. And finally, you never wasted any of your food, so you managed to save 9 kg of CO2e on top of it all.
Let’s see your total:
86kg + 4kg + 9kg = 99 kg CO2e
Now, you can proudly say: "Yeeeey! I’ve managed to save almost 100 kg of CO2 equivalents!" It sounds big! But what is CO2? Here it is…
Looks… Well… Interesting?
And Then You Finally Realize...
...Isn’t this just like the carved Rosetta Stone, from the beginning of our story? What is the real deal here? Let's see. We have YOU, ME, or ANYONE using a monthly public transport ticket. Guys and girls eating veggies on Wednesdays, making sure to finish daily meals without leaving any scraps. Okay. Is that all?
No. In these everyday, normal activities, lies so much more...
And This Is Where The Climate Decoder Jumps In!
First of all, in order to extract stories from all of this, we need to understand what 99 kg CO2e, actually means. To do that, we need to know what we can relate the weight of CO2 with. The good news here is that you can relate CO2 with almost anything!
For example, we know that a grown-up tree can absorb 22 kg of CO2, annually. Meaning that your monthly savings did the yearly work of nearly 5 grown up trees.
We also know that using public transport on a monthly basis, plus being a vegetarian once a week equals the production of 1 250 bananas! That is 1 banana a day for 3 years and 155 days.
Or 20 hours in an average shower - 200 days worth if you spend on average 6 minutes per shower.
Or let’s say you are having a two-way car trip from the Comic City to Venice of the North? Yep, your CO2 savings would cover it!
Now Sit Back And Think About This For A Moment.
You can play this song while you reflect upon the next lines. Under the 6 feet shade of a grown-up tree, 8 people can sit comfortably. 5 grown up trees would mean we could fit a whole school class of 40 pupils under their treetops.
A small banana per day for a 6 months old baby is an ideal meal. Can you imagine how many babies you could feed with 1 250 bananas for a whole month? Exactly 41! Or how about donating 20 hours of short showers to the ones who need it most? How do you feel?
Yes, I feel good about that too. And you know what? This is only a speck of dust in an endless field of opportunities of telling this story. Of one’s lifestyle. One’s culture. Of doing good, for the planet and humanity, by deciphering “chemical carves” of our everyday actions. Sue Monk Kidd, the author of “Secret Life of Bees”, said:
“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.”
Let's challenge ourselves and others in 2019! Let us call our powers, make history, and tell the remarkable story of who we are, and why are we here.