Although environmental problems are well-known all over the world, many people are still reluctant to reduce the carbon footprint by changing their daily habits. The main reason is that people cannot feel how much their decision can influence the environment. Our aim is to raise people’s awareness of their impact on the environment by calculating carbon footprints from traveling and food.
- Transportation: Cars were first invented in 1886. Since then, life has been greatly improved. People can more easily visit their friends. Goods can be more efficiently transported. However, this also brings problems when more cars are used. According to the EPA, “a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.” Furthermore, because online shopping is becoming more popular, carbon emission of transportation of these packages is exponentially increasing.
- Electricity: Since electricity is a clean and renewable source, some people believe it is not very important to save electricity. However, numerous power stations and electric grids can also leave carbon footprints. Indeed, people tend to notice the carbon footprint produced by vehicles, coal burned, or other traditional carbon emission sources. We compared the footprint produced by electricity consumption with that produced by vehicles, gasoline, coal, and more. By transferring the data of electricity consumption to the data of vehicles, gasoline, etc, we are able to give users a sense of how important it is to save electricity.
- Food: Although we usually think about transportation when it comes to carbon emissions, food actually has a major impact on carbon. From this second image, we can see that our food choices have a major impact on the environment. So, the next time you eat out or go to the grocery store, consider stocking up on more vegetables, and reducing your beef and lamb intake!
What it does
- The transportation & electricity consumption sections allow users to input the data of their daily routine, and the website will estimate the amount of carbon emission based on the users’ data by Carbon Interface API.
- The food section accepts an image URL, and upon pressing the submission button, shows you the picture that you submitted. It analyzes what kind of food the picture shows using the Clarifai API, then calculates the approximate CO2 of those foods.
- For all the pages, based on the amount of CO2 the user was estimated to use, the equivalence of that amount of emissions in terms of things like number of smartphones that could be charged, miles that could be traveled, and the number of trees it would take to sequester that amount of carbon is displayed.
Challenges we ran into
Initially, we weren’t sure how to use the Clarifai API to recognize foods from images. We were able to use a Python script, but then had to learn how to use Flask to integrate the recognition with the button submission (the onClick event). Afterwards, since we were also building additional pages with React, we struggled to integrate the Flask backend with the React frontend.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We’re proud of lots of things. From using Github for the first time to learning to use Flask and connecting the Flask backend with the React frontend (thanks to mentor help!), we’ve learned so much!
What we learned
We learned how to pass data from flask backend to react frontend and how to combine backend and frontend into a single project.
What's next for Carbonology
We hope to design a more interactive user interface, connecting the pages more than in just a navigation bar (for example, a weekly summary of your carbon emissions if you fill out information for the week). We also aim to recognize carbon emission numbers for a wider variety of foods, and potentially add image recognition to items besides foods.