In celebration of Earth Month, we’re spotlighting some incredible young people helping make our world cleaner and greener. Motivated by their first-hand experiences with pollution, climate change, and deforestation, these girls stepped up to solve the sorts of environmental problems we all live with.
And they’re not alone. They’re joined by Technovation Girls teams around the world who are committed to fighting climate change on a local level. In 2020, 20% of all Technovation Girls submissions addressed environmental issues, making it the second-most popular type of problem girls chose to solve. It was also the second-most popular problem teams chose to solve in 2019, 2018, and 2017 — over 1,400 teams have created apps related to the environment since we began categorizing submissions.
The apps below use behavior interventions and educational games to help users understand the impact of their daily decisions on the environment. Read on to learn more about these innovative games and tools and the passionate young women who built them. If you’re looking for even more inspiration, explore our App Gallery of tech projects built by young people around the world to solve problems they care about.
Ecotopia, developed by Team Green Globe (United States)
Ecotopia encourages users to think about small tasks they can perform in their daily lives to improve sustainability and minimize their impact on the environment. Team Green Globe felt compelled to take action after witnessing the effects of climate change first-hand during their childhoods in the San Francisco Bay Area. These young women have watched yearly wildfires in California get worse every year, and are committed to doing their part to combat climate change. Ecotopia engages users in eco-friendly challenges with their friends, making a greener lifestyle more fun and accessible. Project Green Globe aims to make it possible for anyone to join the fight against climate change by engaging in a variety of challenges and feel empowered to do more to make a difference in their daily lives. Through partnerships with non-profit organizations, Ecotopia also facilitates environmental rewards that extend beyond the small scale changes that our users are making on an individual basis.
EcoPal, developed by Team Hustle (Canada)
To meet climate goals set for itself, the United States must cut emissions by 57-63% by 2030. Ecopal helps users contribute to this reduction in emissions by helping them track their carbon footprint—in realtime. As they move through their daily lives, users can receive information on how their actions shrink or grow their carbon footprint. Team Hustle elected to focus on individual actions because of their research that showed 32% don’t know how to reduce their emissions and 27% don’t even know their carbon footprints. EcoPal allows people to track their emissions and learn how to reduce them, and offers tips on reducing their carbon footprints. The team prioritized user experience by streamlining the user interface and testing in the ideal user scenario, which is daily use. With plans to expand to an enterprise version and to develop collaborations with established climate-focused organizations, team Hustle has their eye on the long-term and cumulative impact of their app.
Live Better, developed by team Live Better (Venezuela)
Live Better helps children and teenagers learn to use basic resources such as water and electricity less wastefully and how to properly dispose of waste. As the climate warms, water and electricity use are projected to increase substantially, which is of special concern to those living in regions who already do not have access to adequate water or electricity. Team Live Better created their app to help families learn how to use utilities more efficiently. Their research showed that many people in Venezuela need additional support in understanding how to access public services related to utilities and waste disposal. Their app helps bridge the gap. Through a question and answer game format, Live Better helps children ages 7-14 learn how to use resources more responsibly. “Live Better helps young people develop into responsible citizens and symbolizes the quality of life every person on the planet deserves. We can make a difference with good habits!” the team told us in their submission.
You can stay up to date on the team by following them on instagram!
TECO, developed by Team CoCo (Kazakhstan)
TECO is an interactive 3D mobile game that helps people make behavioral changes to reduce their carbon footprints. In TECO, users play as an astronaut who has to take care of a planet by performing tasks that correspond to the users’ real-world choices. The app helps users track how much carbon they prevent from entering the atmosphere when they choose low-emission forms of transportation, and offers an augmented-reality recycling education program. The app connects to hardware that can be attached to trash cans around a school or city which can be added to a map for users to find more easily. When users dispose of trash properly in one of these receptacles, they earn points in the game. The team believes that this gamification makes sustainability more appealing, particularly to younger children. “Gamefication and the augmented reality … inside this game is more visually and psychologically attractive to people,” Dilnaz (one of the developers) told Silicon Angle. And the team seem to be right about that — when they introduced the app and the hardware to their school, the eco-friendly trash cans quickly filled up with properly disposed of waste!
TECO is available for download in the Google Play store, if you want to give it a try!
ClimAx, developed by team Int-Ellectuals (Nigeria)
Nigeria is losing trees at an unsustainable rate due to illegal logging, with a 3.5% annual deforestation rate. In addition to being a major contributor of carbon emissions, burning the felled trees negatively impacts health–WHO estimated that 98,000 Nigerian women die annually from use of firewood to cook all meals.
Five young women from Nigeria are pushing back with their app ClimAx. ClimAx provides a bottom-up approach to address climate change and prevent deforestation by helping users plant more trees. Users can plant trees in their community and then upload a picture as proof of their contribution. The organization team Int-Ellectuals founded provides users with the trees (having carefully selected trees that are most effective at storing carbon). After planting 25 trees, a user becomes a ClimAx ambassador. Users earn carbon credits which they can exchange for money. ClimAx also includes a 2-D game and additional resources to help users learn about green energy. Team Int-Ellectuals are committed to their work, and are working on a collaboration with the Ministry of Environment, administering surveys to evaluate community impact and interest, and donating trees to communities in more remote regions.