As COP28 draws to a close – mired in inaction and controversy – a new app is launching to let the public take matters into their own hands. “Earthize” will allow people to avoid any companies that greenwash, invest in fossil fuels, or damage the environment. That is, you can now stop using corporations that fuel the climate and biodiversity crises.
COP28: what’s the point?
At the end of COP28 on Tuesday 12 December, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) promised to try again to strike a deal as the Dubai climate summit passed its deadline. At-risk nations and Western powers rejected a proposal that stopped short of phasing out fossil fuels.
The 13-day COP28 summit in the glitzy metropolis built on petrodollars has debated a historic first-ever global exit from oil, gas, and coal, the main culprits in a planetary crisis of warming. But a draft put forward by COP28 president Sultan Al Jaber, himself head of the UAE oil company, fell well short. Instead it presented reductions in fossil fuels as one of several options.
Negotiators described a mood of anger and tension in talks that again ran through the night, with activists confronting delegates and island leaders saying their very existence was at risk. The Emirati hosts put a brave face on the outrage, saying they were working on a new draft and noting that UN rules require consensus from the nearly 200 countries at COP28.
Scientists say the planet has already warmed by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times and that 2023 — marked by lethal disasters including wildfires across the world — has likely been the warmest in 100,000 years. Yet COP28 still failed to properly address this.
So, what can the rest of us do? Well, a new app will go at least some way to helping people make climate and biodiversity-informed choices.
Earthize: making climate and biodiversity-informed choices
Earthize is a new website and Android app launching Wednesday 13 December. It will allow users to search for eco-friendly brands, cutting through the greenwash and having a real impact on the environment:
Users can type keywords into the search bar on Earthize such as “banks”, “mobile phones”, or “crisps”, and the app shows them a list of the most eco-friendly goods and services.
Each entry in the app’s database has specific markers so that consumers can see whether products are vegan, plastic-free, or made with only renewable energy. More complex services like bank accounts or mobile phone contracts have a written description to inform users why they’re more eco-friendly than your average high street name:
Unlike similar websites, Earthize doesn’t require users to sign up and hand over their personal details, there are no subscriptions, and it’s designed to avoid overloading the user with too much information.
Earthize managing director Daniel Johnston said:
Our politicians, lobbied heavily by fossil fuel companies, have failed us again at COP28. We developed Earthize to beat them at their own game. If the only thing on their minds is profit, then we’ll have to hit them in the pockets.
People often don’t realise how much power they have in their own hands to fight climate change without turning their lives upside down. It’s about giving those eco-friendly brands a fighting chance and making sure your money doesn’t end up in a fossil fuel company’s offshore bank account.
The website and Android app launch together on 13 December, just in time to check out the most eco-friendly places to grab your last minute Christmas shopping. The Earthize team plans to release an iPhone app in future, as well as adding more brands and features to the existing app:
Visit the Earthize website here. From 13 December you can download the Earthize Android app here.
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