An app that tells you the true effect/footprint of what you are about to buy.
Much of the suffering in the world is easily preventable. When we go to the grocery store, we can choose beans or beef. When we go clothes shopping, we can choose Forever 21 or vintage. When we are selecting holiday transportation, we can choose train or plane. We have choices: Eat a plant, or murder a sentient cow. Have your clothes made by slaves in polluting factories, or buy pre-loved. Pollute a little or pollute a lot. The problem is that most people aren't aware of all of their choices, and don't realize the full impact of those choices.
I would like to see an app that shows you all of your choices and their footprints: on animals (based on the principle that animals should not be used; after all, a slave that is treated nicely is still a slave), on people of all ages and locations, on the earth, on local businesses and the economy, on your health, etc.
Caroline, actually this does already exist. Check this out: http://sourcemap.com/
Jay Adkisson commented
As an engineer at GoodGuide.com, I'd be super interested to talk more about this. You pretty much just described our product :)
@Graceful Sadie, we're still working on expanding the catalog, but we recently passed 100K products.
Graceful Sadie commented
It seems that the problem isn't that an app needs developed, but a database of such information is a difficult thing to research, build, and maintain. Good Guide is trying, but research is time consuming and costly. http://www.goodguide.com/
Mindy, your points 1 and 2 are myths.
As for the treatment of animals. You can give me fields upon fields to roam, but if you are using me for your own purposes without my permission, and planning to kill me, then I am not being treated humanely! Murder is messy, unjustified, and certainly not a humane action. Learn more here: http://www.abolitionistapproach.com/media/slides/theory1.html
Ultimately, the developers who create this app will decide what principles and standards they wish to include. It it a complicated issue for sure, but hopefully they will see that the exploitation of other animals for superficial reasons (e.g. it's tasty) is to be ended.
I really like your idea, but disagree your judgements and recommended ratings.
There isn't universal agreement on what is important, or even what is "green."
I especially disagree that eating meat is the problem. Torturing animals = terrible. Killing them humanely for nutrition = optimal.
At the risk of getting into a big debate about the merits of omnivorous over vegetarianism, I will say two things:
1) Humans evolved eating meat, in fact this was one of the distinguishing factors that allowed our brains to develop. Restricting meat from our diet often results in severe, long-term health consequences.
2) Nearly every vegetarian friend I have, and I have had many, are no longer vegetarians because of health problems. Issues may take 10 or more years to surface, but most people's bodies don't do well on restricting animals from our diets.
Here are some proposed alternative ranking systems:
- Humanely treated animals
- Locally grown food, locally made products
- Conditions of factories that goods are produced in, including whether the workers are paid a living wage and that basic safety and age regulations are adhered to
- Human Trafficking
- How recyclable the packaging is
- Safety of ingredients in product, (Environmental Working Group has some data on this).
- Amount heavy metals and other toxic pollutants that the manufacturing of this product puts into the environment
Understandably, these metrics would be very hard to gather and maintain, but if the basic infrastructure was in place (technology) it can be an evolving process to update and validate the metrics, and ideally filter by what is important to each consumer.