1. How do these findings reflect on us as humans?
2. At what point is a change too much to be “worth it”?
3. How much are we willing to change for our planet?
Connie Hwang, SJSU Graphic Design Professor
Earl Gee, SJSU Graphic Design Professor
Benoit Delaveau, SJSU Environmental Studies Professor
Climate change is the most urgent and pressing danger of our time. Studies have shown us the terrifying conseqences of climate change time and time again, and we’ve begun to see them for ourselves. Whether it be the Australian fires of 2020, or the increasingly dangerous hurricane season in America, we know it’s only going to get worse. The collapse in biodiversity and ecosystems has consequences we have yet to know the full extent of. People are often frustrated by the slow pace of policy that helps combat climate change. Sometimes we feel as though if we can’t get legislation passed that addresses this issue, there’s not much else we can do in the meantime to reduce our environ- mental impact.
Although laws to fight climate change are important, there’s more we can do to fight our own role in this issue and to hurt the planet less. Bringing awareness to how reducing an individual’s impact on climate change by reducing their carbon footprint through lifestyle changes can help make a difference.
After running a short survey to determine whether people are interested in resolving the issues that we as individuals contribute to global CO2 emissions, the results I found were overwhelmingly positive. Granted it was a majority young, college educated sample, but I believe these results speak to the need for a tool that would help people willing to make changes to their lifestyle. Not a one-size-fits-all solution, but something that addresses each unique individual’s lifestyle and helps them make changes.
1. What’s your age group?
2. What is your level of education?
3. Does climate change concern you?
4. Would you sacrifice convinience for eco-friendliness?
5. What areas are you willing to change?
6. How much are you willing to change?
7. Have you taken steps to reduce your environmental impact?
8. How much do you prioritize climate change over other political issues?
After reviewing existing offerings, I found that they didn’t address the issues my survey found a need for. I explored several options, and an app seemed best suited to offer a solution. The main feature of this app would also be to help change users’ habits, but with a more proactive approach that would vary from user to user, as it would change and adapt to their lifestyle. This would make users more likely to stick to the changes as it would only ask for them to make relatively minor changes to their lifestyles that, overtime, would add up to less CO2 emissions in our atmosphere.
I originally approached the design of the app in a more utilitarian sense, but over time began to look for inspiration elsewhere. Rather than finding inspiration in existing carbon tracking apps, I was inspired by more dynamic and fluid interfaces, like that of the Apple Watch. Something that changes and adapts; an interface that feels alive. This would also go on to influence the color palette of the app, which is made up of vibrant but airy colors that make for an almost soothing experience.
Based on what I learned from the survey I conducted and from my own research into exploring different possible ways to solve the problem of people having the will to make eco-friendly lifestyle changes, but not knowing where to start, I decided an app would be best positioned to address the issue. I named the app Lessn, and it would learn the habits of users through the places they frequent and spend time in, analyzing the businesses in the vicinity and suggesting eco-friendly alternatives that would help users reduce their environmental impact.
Alternatives are shown with the newest nearest the top. The size of the circles corresponds with how much of a match it is for the user, and the tint of the circle represents eco-friendliness: the lighter it is, the less environemtally harmful that option or business is. It also allows people to compare their CO2 footprint with friends and to encourage one another.
Most are willing to make changes to their
lifestyle to combat climate change... they
just need to know what those changes are.
We as a society can become more environmentally conscious, and together we can make a significant impact in the fight against climate change.
Most people believe climate change is a major threat, and they recognize its severity. Most are willing to make substantial changes to their lifestyle in order to help combat climate change. If presented with an alternative that is more eco-friendly and sustainable than what they are used to, many are quite likely to give it a try. People just need to know what those alternatives are, and they need to see how all those little changes add up into big shifts in our behavior and habits. We are social beings and are susceptible to influence from our peers.
If that influence pushes us in the right direction, we as a society can become more environmentally conscious, and together we can make a significant impact in the fight against climate change. I believe Lessn addresses the issues that can make a transition to a more sustainable existence so difficult by presenting users with environmentally conscious alternatives to what they’re used to.