Personal Kyoto (via O’Reilly Radar) is a great idea. The site allows residents of New York to register their electricity accounts, and see the change in usage that’s required for them to do their part to meet the targets set in the Kyoto Protocol.
While the protocol itself does not go nearly far enough to have a serious impact on climate change, it is good to see so many communities and individuals in the US reacting to the government’s failure to act by taking the initiative. Tools that help people see the impact they are having, coupled with ideas of how to improve that, are vital.
What’s particularly interesting to me in this example is the fact that the tool is only provided for New Yorkers. Personally, I’d love to have it work for Grand Rapids too, but the limitation is probably a very good thing. Sites like my footprint and others that help people work out their ‘ecological footprint’ try to get some context-based information but rely on large generalisations for most of their calculations.
By building a set of tools focussed on specific regions it’s possible to reduce the generalisations and to connect in with actions and responses that are appropriate for the lives of the people using the tools.
Eyebeam/Openlab, the developers of the system, state that they’re looking to partner with developers who want to bring Personal Kyoto to their town. I wish I had time to volunteer. Hopefully someone else locally does?