Globally, up to one million species are at risk of extinction because of human activities, as reported by the UN. Climate change is one of the most pressing issues that faces society today, and it doesn’t only affect our society. Damage to the Earth hurts all organisms. The plants and animals around us are also facing the consequences of environmental degradation and we have the power to curb this. Yet, many people do not take action, do not know the immense impact of their actions, or simply do not know where to start or what they can do. This app aims to demonstrate that anyone can contribute to the effort with varying tips for becoming more sustainable. Helping the planet can take many forms of various efforts and resources, from being careful about electricity and water usage by creating small goals to growing your own garden and using only renewable energy. Our goal was to empower people through a fun and enjoyable, yet impactful and effective, online resource. We hope to enable others around the world to be conscious of their actions and to do their part in protecting the planet through encouraging political action and the use of sustainable habits.
What it does
EcoBud allows you to select a"buddy", all of which are endangered animals. This buddy will become your little companion. They'll hold you accountable so you can know the impact of your actions on the environment and on their species. But, they'll also help you learn and grow while having fun. Your EcoBud's goal is to show you that you can make a difference through lifestyle changes, both subtle and significant.
After picking your companion, you'll be led to a daily questionnaire. The point of this questionnaire is to track your actions and to give you recommendations on how to be more sustainable. You can even track your progress by checking out the scores from your previous questionnaires. Your score will impact the happiness of your companion; if you practiced many sustainable actions that day, your EcoBud will be happy! However, if there is a lot of room for improvement, your EcoBud's mood will decrease. But, they'll give you tips for improvement and encourage you to live a more sustainable life.
In addition to realizing your habits and tracking your progress, you can play mini games with your EcoBud! Each buddy has a unique mini game that you can play. These games all relate to struggles that specific buddy faces due to climate change and environmental issues; for example, the mini game for the Hawksbill Sea Turtle involves helping your buddy find food among the plastic waste that is found in bodies of water. Some buddies offer data visualization pages so you can directly see how their species is being affected by climate change; for example, the page for the Great Curassow bird shows the impact of deforestation through a map visualization.
Your EcoBud will also help you learn neat facts; both for fun and to inform you and help you find ways to make a change when it comes to environmental impact. For example, did you know that Galapagos penguins are ready for independent life at only 3-6 months old? Or that every year, over $13 billion worth of energy leaks through small holes and cracks?
Your EcoBud will help you learn, grow, have fun, and most importantly, make a difference in the world.
Welcome to Save the Turtles! The objective of the game is to obtain as much food as possible while all avoiding pollution. Jellyfish and seaweed each worth 1 point. Your turtle will lose a life if you collect trash, like plastic bags. Control your turtle using your mouse. Good Luck!
Welcome to Stay on Ice! The objective of the game is remain on an ice block as they slowly disappear. Use your arrow keys to move around.
Explore the map to learn about deforestation and climate change around the world. The pink areas represent of deforestation from 2001 to 2019; the darker the pink, the greater the loss. The red dots indicate the effect of climate change; the greater the circle, the greater the effect. Click anywhere on the map to view climate change statistics such as climate change readiness and vulnerability scores of that country.
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
Learning how to carry information from one HTML page to another to keep track of which EcoBud the user chose (to determine which images should appear, which game should be displayed, etc.) and their happiness score was a struggle. In addition, learning CSS was a bit tricky.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are especially proud of the sheer amount of learning that happened in just a few days through this project (more about that below)! We are also proud of all the neat graphics that we were able to create -- all of the animals, and details are original designs created for EcoBud! In addition, incorporating so many different elements (games, questionnaires, data visualization) into one project was a big accomplishment, and we are optimistic that the final product will inspire people to consider the impact of their actions on the planet, especially endangered species!
What we learned
What's next for EcoBud
We would love to add more species for users to select as their EcoBud! We would also like to make our pages more detailed and customized by including more questions on the questionnaire and having more facts and resources. In addition, we believe that data visualization is a powerful tool and incorporating more of it into EcoBud would be a huge next step. Finally, we'd love to allow users to have an account to store their progress with each species.