Misinformation is a dire issue in our society. Recent studies show that misinformation spreads six times faster than accurate information. This issue transcends all boundaries and directly influences our environment. From literature claiming that climate change is a “hoax” to propositions that our current estimates on air pollution are “absurd” and “inaccurate,” misinformation has plagued efforts to help save our environment.
Recognizing this concern, I was compelled to create EnviroFy. EnviroFy focuses on mitigating the spread of misinformation and helping people recognize the gravity of these issues and encourage them to take their own action.
Connection + Relevance To Theme
EnviroFy is entirely connected to the theme of N-Hacks. N-Hacks asks participants to create solutions that will help our environment and this is exactly what EnviroFy is doing.
Let’s first discuss how to help our environment. There’s three different populations in our society - there’s the people who believe in climate change and want to create change, people who are doubting climate change, and people who don’t believe in climate change at all. Considering the increasing polarization of our nation and the politicization of climate change, the population of the two latter groups is significantly increasing. Thus, the best way to help the environment is to target these populations - we have to create a solution that helps people recognize that climate change is real.
This is the issue EnviroFy solves. EnviroFy, in helping validate the credibility of a source, helps mar the spread of anti-environment material - this, in turn, helps people (of the two latter populations) recognize the true depth of these environmental issues and then try to begin to create change.
In limiting the spread of misinformation, EnviroFy creates a more knowledgeable society that can then *help our environment - a goal directly in alignment with N-Hacks’ theme.
What EnviroFy Does
EnviroFy focuses upon verifying the validity of a certain environmental source. To elaborate, a user may stumble upon an article claiming that climate change isn’t real. Now typically, that user would simply agree to the source because they had no alternative to help evaluate the actual validity of that article. Other anti-misinformation sources may exist, but a reputable study finds these to have a less than 60% accuracy rate. With EnviroFy, however, the user can input the source and our softwares, comprehensively built for environment-related sources, will then output to the user the validity of the source. EnviroFy also reflects upon the political bias of different websites and uses this in its calculations.
In diagnosing the validity of inaccurate sources, EnviroFy helps stop anti-environment materials from spreading, which in turn encourages people to engage with sustainable practices.
While other initiatives may help educate people about things like pollution and/or air quality, these solutions only reach the already environmentally-literate populations, thus only allowing for minimal impact. EnviroFy, however, is targeting the environmentally-illiterate population that has been subdued by anti-environment misinformation, thus allowing for substantial impact. To make it simple, we're creating change in people who do and don't want to change, while other initiatives only create change in people that already want to change.
Many other misinformation-detection softwares are very general in their creation; however, EnviroFy is specifically created for the environment. Our softwares have been built recognizing the most trusted environmental sources and have a very high accuracy. In other words, we’re built specifically to help our world and the environment!
What's next for EnviroFy
EnviroFy has a lot of expansion opportunities in the future; one of the biggest initiatives we’d like to take on is to integrate our website into a chrome extension. This way, when a user is looking through a website, our extension will automatically suggest to them the validity of the source, instead of the user having to manually enter the source.
In recognizing EnviroFy with an award at N-Hacks, our product will receive the recognition it needs to continue to expand and help create change in this world.
Holistically, we’re addressing the raw issue at hand. Our environment is not going to be sustainable if misinformation continues to spread - we can continue to educate people about air pollution and things like that, but if we don’t stop misinformation, people won’t engage with sustainable practices. EnviroFy is the solution to this issue - we’re helping address the actual, underlying issue of misinformation and helping convert all people (and businesses!) to become environmentally-conscious!
To view a prototype of EnviroFy, please view the following link: https://envirofy.dhruvpatel41.repl.co/index.html