Monday, June 16, 2008


Carbonrally (Cambridge, MA) is a new web-based service that offers individuals and groups a fun, simple and competitive way to have a measurable impact on climate change.

The site poses challenges that entail personal lifestyle changes. Each challenge translates directly into a reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions measured in pounds of CO2. Sample challenges include drinking tap water vs. bottled water, avoiding disposable coffee cups, and reducing the number of catalogs in your mailbox. The current challenge is to compost your kitchen waste for three months. Carbonrally reviews the science and provides an entertaining analysis linking each challenge to a CO2 value.

Participants act individually on and may also form teams to add a competitive element to the experience. The teaming aspects of Carbonrally have already led to formation of over 290 teams of friends, classmates, and colleagues on the site. Although the site is still in its infancy, thousands of participants have collectively reduced CO2 emissions by more than 100 tons. That's equal to turning off the electricity to about 100 homes for a month.

Carbonrally's team play makes it very popular for groups including friends, colleagues and associates wanting to engage in healthy competition around shared goals.

I remember an essay Bill McKibben wrote in Orion magazine that said that all carmakers needed to do to improve gas mileage was to install MPG meter readers into conventional automobiles (like they have in the Prius), and Americans would use their competitive nature to figure out how to drive better to save gas. Carbonrally is harnessing this competitive nature for good stuff--so invite your friends and form a team.

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