For this year'sYahoo! Green Award, Yahoo! looked for a "green mashup" that would inspire people to use social technology to help the environment. After reading through the project submissions in the "Environment" Cause Area of the NetSquared Project Gallery, they chose Live Climate to be this year's Yahoo! Green Award recipient.
Below is an e-interview with it's co-Directors, Nick Handler and Matt Evans (who is also the Founder).
1. How does Live Climate work? Where did the idea come from?
Live Climate is a non-profit, online marketplace for carbon offset projects that do more than just reduce greenhouse gases - they also help fight poverty, create jobs in poor communities and protect local ecosystems. We identify these offset projects and then connect consumers to them through our website - www.liveclimate.org. We provide information and media on the projects that describe how they work and how they positively impact low-income communities and local environments. The consumer can choose the project, or projects that they'd like to support and purchase offsets directly from them.
The direct connection between the consumer and the carbon offset projects of their choosing distinguishes Live Climate from other carbon offset retailers.
This idea came about through the realization that the voluntary carbon market has not nearly reached its potential for helping the communities that need it most - the places where jobs are scarce, where habitat and resources are in danger, and where people are least equipped to deal with the threat posed by climate change. We wanted to create a marketplace where the social and environmental benefits of these small, community owned offset projects are highlighted and fully valued.
2. What are the next steps for Live Climate? Where are you now in its development, and what are some of your goals for the future?
Live Climate is currently in a pilot phase during which we are offering three offset projects to choose from. Through this pilot phase, we are looking to demonstrate that there is sufficient demand for carbon offsets of this kind, and that customers may even be willing to pay more if they know that they are supporting communities in need and that their offset purchase dollars are going directly to the communities implementing the project. As we move forward, our short-term goals are to find more projects for the site, collect user feedback, and do a site revision. In the long-term, we would like to explore the possibility of using the Live Climate marketplace to raise money that will be used to fund new community-owned offset projects in the developing world.
3. What are some of Live Climate's challenges?
One big challenge for Live Climate has been finding projects. As I mentioned before, up to this point, the voluntary carbon offset market has not been geared towards supporting small, community-owned projects, so there aren't too many projects being implemented and certified that fit our mission.
Another big challenge for Live Climate is distinguishing ourselves in an increasingly crowded market. More and more companies and organizations are moving into the carbon offset space, so we are challenged with the task of highlighting our new approach and drawing in the customers who are interested in both climate change and development issues.
5. How has winning the Yahoo! Green Award impacted Live Climate?
Winning the Yahoo! Green Award will allow us to dramatically expand our marketing efforts, which will be essential to the success of our site. We are confident that if we can start bringing people to our site using online advertising, word will spread and the demand for the types of offsets offered on Live Climate will grow.
6. How can readers help to move your work forward?
The readers can support us (and more importantly the projects on our site) by visiting www.liveclimate.org, browsing our projects, calculating their carbon footprint, and offsetting their footprint by purchasing offsets from one of the projects. The multiple social and environmental benefits of supporting these projects make them a great choice for conscious consumers and travelers. We are also really looking for feedback on our site, the projects offered, and the user experience, so the readers can also help us by filling out our short site survey after they make a purchase.