In 2018, President Emmanuel Macron delivered an address to the US Congress about climate change, reinforcing our joint responsibility toward a better future for our children and grandchildren. He spoke eloquently and delivered a poignant argument:
“By not mitigating CO2 emissions, and destroying our biodiversity, we are killing our planet. Let us face it, there is no planet B.”
Now, this isn’t the first time a world leader has made a plea for the planet. But it was a unique moment where a world leader shone a light on the dangers of isolationism and its threat to global prosperity. [Read: it’s not cool to not think of the well-being of everyone, and everything.]
Luckily, this isn’t idealism. It’s also not a pipe dream to ex-entrepreneur turned climate activist, Gedas Kondrackis. Far from it, Gedas and his team at Active Youth are leading the change in normalizing climate-friendly behaviors and in shaping the discourse on climate change by informing and educating the public.
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Gedas and his team operate in the Baltics, and among their many projects, they are currently running a climate museum on wheels. Passionate about making a difference, for this project, they set out to tackle the challenge of accounting for the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions generated by their museum's visitors, as well as their own travel.
One might wonder how one would go about calculating the carbon footprint of thousands of visitors and kilometers travelled. The answer came to Gedas like a bolt of lightning: with a typeform!
A form of sustainability
Gedas and his team weren’t strangers to Typeform. In fact, they were using Typeform solutions for the recruitment of their teams and volunteers in some of their other projects. The platform’s user-friendliness was a step up from other forms the team had used before, and the ease of customization and partner integrations provided a landscape for possibility.
A powerful example of how technology can be used to create a more sustainable future, the typeform Gedas uses for his museum project has two versions: One is presented to incoming visitors with the guidance of volunteers that meet guests at the entrance. The other, is a self-serve typeform, accessed through a giant QR code and used at smaller events. Though the experiences are different, Gedas notes that both experiences have proven to be well-received by visitors.
More than just a mode for collecting data, for Gedas, it was critical to create an engaging experience for the museum’s visitors.
The typeform Gedas created using custom logic and calculations achieved this goal. It was engaging, and short. Both form versions asked a precise amount of questions in order for the team to calculate their impact. There are three, to be exact: how visitors get to the museum, how many people are in their group, and their estimated distance travelled in kilometers.
Responding to these questions takes approximately 15 seconds. At this point, the answers are automatically calculated, and the results are presented in real-time. If a volunteer is welcoming the guests, it’s an incredible opportunity to engage in a positive dialogue to help museum visitors get into an open mindset for the experience they’re about to encounter.
More than a vehicle to present informative or curious data to visitors, these typeforms have allowed Gedas and his team to capture data more quickly and accurately than ever before, which has enabled them to measure the carbon footprint of their museum’s visits. In the last year, the typeforms Gedas created enabled him and his team to account for more than 31,870+ visitors to the museum, and more than 90 tons of CO2.
Designing a mission
When Gedas embarked on this project, his mission was simple: to raise awareness. It’s the museum’s main function. They also have educational materials online, they communicate this mission with their partners, and volunteers are also informed of their purpose.
But the other part is to physically take action. To actually try to make the environment better, and cleaner than what it is. Equipped with the data that are gathered from the typeforms, Gedas is able to take that action, and essentially, make a positive difference in the world.
Now, let’s take a moment to level set. To be clear, one of the 21st century’s greatest threats to humanity, arguably, is climate change. One of the main ways to reduce our contribution to the warming planet is to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, of which CO2 is a main compound. And, though not a panacea for all of the planet’s ills, a very effective way to compensate for the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere is by planting more trees.
Now, Gedas, of course, knows the impact planting trees can make. So, at the end of every month, the team at Active Youth calculates the carbon footprint of their operation. This includes electricity to run the museum, travel from their visitors, as well as their own travel. Their travel needs to account for transporting their museum on wheels (four trucks carrying four massive containers).
The team then organizes, with their partner, a massive tree planting every spring. Worth noting, one tree costs 2 euro to plant, and that one tree is able to absorb around 10 kilograms of CO2 per year. Last year, Gedas and his team planted 323 trees to remedy the 90 tons of CO2, generated by the climate museum project. In total, Active Youth planted 897 trees to compensate for all of their projects, contributing to a greener, cleaner planet. After all, to quote actor Don Cheadle, what is more important than good and clean air?
From the perspective of making an impact, Gedas and his team at Active Youth are diligently creating a stronger business model while healing the climate. Armed with a for-purpose mission, their work is defined by the impact they make in the world, while also allowing the opportunity to be properly funded in order to run their team properly, and for that impact to be feasible. With a startup mindset, they’re also giving all of us a blueprint for how other businesses can make an impact by being part of the solution, instead of the problem.
True to Active Youth’s ethos for inspiring meaningful change in the world, here are a few key lessons worth noting:
1. Strive to create a more sustainable future for everyone.
2. Utilize the power of technology to collect data quickly, and accurately.
3. Use that data to create a strategy.
4. Take action in order to create impact and inspire others.
5. Work together to make a difference in the world.
Gedas' passion for creating a more sustainable future has been the driving force behind this project. His hope is to continue to inspire people to take action and make a difference in the world.
Making the most of 'Planet A'
From the human perspective, Active Youth’s tale is a great example of what kindness in numbers looks like. May we all remember that kindness is needed, both towards each other, and the planet. If you, or someone you know are wondering how to make a difference, the United Nations has released a campaign called Act Now. It’s never too late to make things better. In the words of former POTUS, Barack Obama:
"We may not be able to cap temperature rise to 2°C, but here’s the thing; if we work really hard, we may be able to cap it at 2.5°C instead of 3°C. That extra centigrade might mean the difference between whether 100 million people need to migrate, or a few. Incremental changes matter".