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5 startups for reducing our environmental impact on Earth Day

George Carlin, in his schtick about the environment, declared that the “the planet is fine… the people are f*cked”.

If there’s any accuracy to the recent IPCC report on climate change – which heralds a future with enough flooding, disease, and wildfire to be worthy of a Cormac McCarthy novel – Carlin may be right on the second point.

So on Earth Day, it’s worth a look at the startups out there that help us reduce our own impact – after all, the report does say we have a chance…


Nest Labs

When Google bought smart thermostat startup Nest for $3 billion in cash, the media fixated on Orwellian fears of Google in your living room (as if it’s not already). There was scant mention of the fact that it was the biggest green tech exit in memory or that the tech has the potential to save 20% on your power bill. At $249.99, it’s not cheap – but it is beautiful. Order here.


Good Guide

Started by a Berkeley college professor, Good Guide turned heads when it raised nearly $4 million a few years back. The site and apps now offer social and environmental impact information on more than 200,000 products. The app is available for both iOS and Android here.


Smart Power Strip

10% of the power you use at home is totally wasted by all the appliances and devices constantly plugged in – so called “vampire power”. The Smart Power Strip recently cleared its $100k Kickstarter goal to scale production of its power strip that allows you to shut off power to devices from your smartphone. Post-Kickstarter, orders are available for $99 here.



Driving like Spicoli is fun, but it’ll cost ya. 10mph over the speed limit drops your fuel efficiency by 15%. Automatic is a good-looking device that plugs into the data port of most cars made after ’96. It gives you data on every trip via the app – and provides audio reminders when you’re wasting gas. As a bonus, it will now diagnose check engine alerts and can report your location if you’re in a crash. Order here for $99.95.



Recently launched Oroeco puts a carbon value on everything you buy, what you eat, and the energy you use via a Mint.com integration. The app provides tips on reducing your impact (and, in turn, your spending). We can’t decide if this is compelling or will turn our lives into one extended Portlandia episode. Sign up now on the site (the app launches any day now).

Who knows what’s in store for us. But one thing’s certain – there’s some astounding tech out there if we want to give this our best shot.

Now go forth (and go greener).


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