Netflix has revolutionised watching television. Spotify has revolutionised listening to music.
Can Ecologi help revolutionise everyday climate action?
Ecologi are an environmental organisation whose goal is to help millions of individuals have a positive impact on the environment and climate. They want to help people and businesses become climate positive.
As we’ve seen with the likes of Netflix and Spotify, millions of small changes can help shape huge change.
I recently signed Tiny Eco Home Life up to an Ecologi subscription, where my monthly fee will help fund verified carbon offsetting projects and separate tree planting. You can take a look at my Ecologi page here.
Can the climate positive movement take off?
What is climate positive?
Before we take a closer look at Ecologi, what does climate positive mean?
The climate positive movement is about going further than carbon neutral or carbon zero.
Because of the sheer amount of carbon dioxide now in the environment, creating a carbon neutral Earth at this time isn’t going to help avert the climate crisis. The global CO2 average is now around 419 parts per million (ppm). The last time the Earth hit these levels of CO2 was around 3 million years ago.
We need to create an overall climate positive movement where more carbon dioxide is actively being taken out of the atmosphere and stored long-term in the Earth than is accumulating in the atmosphere.
Many businesses are starting to realise the benefits associated with removing CO2 from the atmosphere and are taking actions to be climate positive. Whether this is from an ethical viewpoint or from a future business perspective, achieving a scenario where more carbon is being absorbed from the atmosphere than emitted is the ultimate goal.
Alongside climate positive, you may also read about carbon positive. As carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas impacting the environment, carbon is often used interchangeably, in this instance, with climate – if you’re being carbon positive, you’re also being climate positive.
Carbon Positive vs Carbon Negative: What’s the difference?
If you or your company are taking positive strides to reduce carbon emissions, then you can say you’re being carbon positive.
However, as your actions are causing less carbon dioxide to be emitted into the atmosphere, you’re also creating a net negative effect: you’re being carbon negative.
In everyday language, positive and negative are opposite terms but in this scenario, carbon positive and carbon negative mean the same thing.
Some companies opt for carbon positive messaging whereas others prefer carbon negative. The fact that both terms mean the same thing is slightly confusing and may muddy the water to the wider public.
You can say that ‘climate positive’ helps to wrap up both terms.
The bottom line is that all these terms mean the same thing – reducing carbon in the atmosphere.
Who are Ecologi (previously known as Offset Earth)?
Ecologi was founded by three friends – Elliot Coad, Alex Price and Lucy Jack – in Bristol, England. They started life out as Offset Earth but have since changed their name to Ecologi.
The mission of Ecologi is to make it easier for everyone to make a meaningful and positive contribution towards the climate and the Earth.
Their aim is to restore our planet and remove 50% of global CO2 emissions by 2040. Their plan to achieve this is through the collection action of millions of people funding climate solution and tree planting projects across the world.
An awful lot of people in the UK and around the world want to do something about the environment. The problem is that progress has been slow in bringing sustainable living to the masses. Many are unsure on how to go about it, they find the solutions are too difficult or it’s just not feasible in their life without radical change.
Ecologi’s platform makes it incredible easy for people like you and me to contribute towards real climate action.
It doesn’t alter people’s everyday lifestyle choices, which are still incredibly important to living in an environmentally friendly way, but it helps to make a more positive climate impact on a wider scale.
What do Ecologi do?
Ecologi offer a subscription service for people and businesses to have a positive impact on climate change.
There are a lot of climate solutions and on-going projects already out there, but not many of these are available to the masses. This is what Ecologi wants to change.
Their easy-to-use platform connects people to climate action in a highly convenient, transparent, engaging and cost-effective way.
In short, the monthly subscription fees they receive go towards the funding of two main climate actions:
- Carbon reduction projects
- Tree planting
Ecologi don’t carry out the work themselves, they are an intermediary between you and the action. Let’s see how this works.
Carbon reduction projects
Ecologi invest the money they receive from subscriptions into verified projects that remove more carbon dioxide than an individual emits. It covers your carbon footprint, plus more.
All of the carbon reduction projects that Ecologi funds are backed by science as having an high impact on reducing carbon. They are also certified at the highest level by independent organisations such as Gold Standard, an environmental body established by World Wildlife Fund and others in 2003, and Verified Carbon Standard.
For the average business subscriber (such as me), Ecologi aims to offset 22 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the course of a year through funding projects across the world.
Each month, Ecologi selects different climate projects to fund on your behalf. For example, the first two projects that my money went to fund were an onshore wind farm in Taiwan and forest protection in Zimbabwe, near the Zambian border.
Other climate offsetting projects funded by Ecologi, include:
- Renewable energy investment
- Forest protection,
- Wildlife corridor support
- Cleaning drinking water infrastructure
- Distribution of efficient cooking stoves
Alongside carbon reduction projects, funds are also used separately for tree planting initiatives.
There are big tech companies investing millions to research, design and manufacturer carbon capture technologies. Maybe these will be necessary and make a difference in the future.
But we also have the original master carbon absorber: trees.
Trees have been soaking up carbon dioxide for hundreds of millions of years. They have evolved to do just this in order to create their own food source. Annually, photosynthetic organisms, including trees, convert around 100-115 billion tonnes of carbon into biomass.
Not only this, but trees are a keystone organism and play a crucial part in ecosystems through the world, supporting all manner of animals and other lifeforms.
With unmanaged deforestation hitting mind-boggling levels across the world, we need to reverse this.
Ecologi have joined forces with tree planting partner, Eden Reforestation Projects.
Eden Projects are a responsible, non-profit tree planting organisation who care about sustainable forest restoration. So far, they’ve planted just short of half a billion trees in Asia, Africa and Central America. They use funds to employ local people to plant trees and have created almost 5 million workdays.
According to Eden, it costs between $0.10 and $0.20 to plant one tree in a developing country, which covers all salary, transportation and maintenance costs. Being fully transparent, you can find a list of Ecologi’s tree planting receipts here.
Ecologi have also started to plant trees in the UK, which do cost more. However, you can get a photo of the actual tree that’s being planted plus GPS coordinates of where it is.
Some environmental organisations in the UK, such as Rewilding Britain, think that tree planting should only be used as a last resort and that natural regeneration should take precedence. You can read more on the natural regeneration vs tree planting debate here.
Ecologi don’t class tree planting as part of their carbon reduction projects. The reason for this is that trees may take decades to grow and start capturing large amounts of carbon.
The monthly subscription fee covers both climate offset projects and tree planting, which will eventually capture lots of carbon dioxide over the long term.
Is Ecologi a charity?
Ecologi are not a charity.
They are an environmental organisation and social enterprise, run for profit.
Although this might seem a little odd at first, there are good reasons. Operating as a social enterprise gives more financial freedom to invest and grow. It also means they can be self-sustaining rather than relying on charitable donations.
However, Ecologi have some great charity-like elements. They are a fully transparent organisation and make all financial documentation publicly available. You can find detailed revenue data alongside quarterly reports.
With the subscription money they receive, 85% goes towards funding climate projects. The other 15% goes on running the organisation. This is similar to how charities operate.
Ecologi review: Why I signed up?
I signed up to Ecologi in March 2021 to help Tiny Eco Home Life become climate positive.
This website is all about giving information on how to live a more eco-friendly, sustainable life. I hope in my own tiny way that this website helps people to make more informed decisions.
But I also wanted to back up my words and own daily choices with wider actions to have an even bigger, more positive impact.
I run this website on my own, but I’m currently subscribed for two employees – one for me and one for Murphy the Cocker. As this website grows, so will my climate positive impact.
The brilliant thing so far about Ecologi is that everything is very transparent, simple and highly visual. You can see how your money is being used, where trees are being planted and the exact projects you are helping to fund. This completing of the circle, which you often don’t see with charity donations, is engaging and motivating.
You can even see your own little digital forest growing! It shouldn’t come down to this in order to work, but it helps massively to stay engaged, share with employees and shout about to clients.
Some people may argue that you can fund projects directly instead of using Ecologi as an intermediary.
Yes, you can but it would take hours and hours of research to find different projects, work out which ones are legitimate, then setting up a regular donation. The beauty of Ecologi is that they do all of this for you across a range of different carbon reduction projects.
For less than the price of Netflix or Spotify subscription, you can help to create real climate positive actions – this is brilliant.
Have your own carbon positive impact
All that being said, offsetting carbon should be an additional action. The first port of call should be making more conscious, ethical sustainable choices in how you live, the food you eat and how you go about your everyday life.
It defeats the point if you only offset carbon to live a high pollution, unsustainable life. I don’t want to speak on their behalf, but I think Ecologi would agree with this also.
Making good environmental, ethical choices and carbon offsetting could be a great way forward.
You can have your own positive impact by signing up for your own account or if you don’t want to set up a recurring subscription, you can donate some trees to the Tiny Eco Home Life digital forest.