The idea for Green Naropa was born late in 2015: Every year, people form resolutions about changes they want to make in their lives or goals they want to accomplish. If we made it easy and fun, could climate actions not easily be part of that list, too?
Inspire Small Actions
Our goal was to inspire people to integrate small and easy actions into their every day life. The first step was to provide people with a list of actions that they could take. These actions were grouped in four major categories: Transportation, Home Energy, Food, and Consumption.
Each category had about ten actions ranging from using a re-useable water bottle to having more plant-based meals to borrowing and exchanging used books rather than buying new ones.
None of these actions required major lifestyle changes — often times people had already been wanting to do such things, but what was holding them back was knowing how.
How many times have you considered offsetting your carbon emissions from flights, but then did not end up doing it because you did not want to spend the time researching and comparing the various carbon emission offsetting websites? That’s where our step 2 comes in.
Provide Tips and Resources
Once people were inspired to integrate a few new good-for-the-climate practices into their lives, we wanted to make it as easy as possible for them to succeed. For us, that meant providing a list of tips and resources for each action that would help with its implementation.
Make a Commitment
And lastly, we wanted people to make a commitment on the website to their actions. This was not only for them to hold themselves more accountable, but it was also so that we could reach out to those who had made commitments to check in on how they were doing as well as provide them with new tips and suggestions regularly.
In addition, it allowed users to share their commitments publicly on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. A practice that, we imagined, would strengthen one’s commitment. In addition, it might also inspire that person’s friends to take on a few climate actions.
To spread awareness of the site, we put up twenty posters around the three Naropa campuses. The posters came in four different varieties (see Posters below) and were printed poster-size to be more eye-catching.
In addition, we worked with Naropa University, the Naropa Sustainability Council, and the Student Union of Naropa — all of which shared a link to Green Naropa on their Facebook pages.
Lastly, we attempted to encourage word-of-mouth propagation by making it easy and convenient to share one’s climate commitment goals on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
The resulting impact — compared to the time of development — remained rather small.
As you can see from the analytics graph, visits spiked in the week after launch in early February and then declined quickly. It shows that those people that were interested in a website like this did not choose to return — and why would they? There was nothing to keep their engagement going: Making a commitment on this website was a one time action.
We were aware that we were not permanently engaging our visitors, but we had hoped that we might go viral enough at Naropa University to draw in new users every week. Thereby effectively keeping our number of visitors steady.
Since engagement dropped so quickly, we soon ceased continuing to work on the website. Nothing had been happening in terms of updates or marketing since at least April 2016, if not earlier.
In total, we had 43 signed up users for a total commitment count of 235.
- Domain: www.greennaropa.com
- Language/Framework: Ruby on Rails
- Server: 512 MB VPS (DigitalOcean)
Check out the source code on Github.