Klima Makes Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Almost Too Easy

The Earth needs long-term change

Key Takeaways

  • Klima is an app that charges you a monthly subscription to offset your carbon footprint. 
  • Your subscription goes towards helping plant trees, producing solar energy, or providing clean cookstoves. 
  • The app is great for a quick fix at helping climate change, but it doesn’t address any real problems Americans have with their carbon-heavy lifestyles.
Someone using a smartphone in a forest.

MarioGuti / Getty Images

Klima hopes to offset your carbon footprint by charging you a monthly amount, but it really just feels like a climate change subscription service for the lazy activist.

The app debuted on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store back in December, so it’s still relatively new. And, since Thursday is Earth Day, I thought I’d give the app a try to see if/how I could reduce my carbon footprint. After some time with Klima, I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve done more for climate change than I have in a while, but I don’t necessarily feel productive about it. 

While Klima is doing good work in making users aware of their footprint and holding them semi-accountable, we all should be doing more active work to reduce our carbon footprints. 

"I feel almost lazy that I'm just throwing my money at the problem rather than actively making a difference in my habits."

Reducing Your Footprint 

According to the Nature Conservancy, the average person in the US has a yearly carbon footprint of 16 tons, compared to the average global rate of about four tons. After answering some questions on Klima, I found out I have an average yearly carbon footprint of 16.91 tons (yikes). 

The app asks you various things like if you are a vegetarian or vegan, if you drive, how much you shop, if your home has a renewable energy source, and if you fly frequently and at what distances. 

Based on your answers, the app gives you a dollar amount for your monthly subscription, which you can lower by "committing" to do things like limiting how much you drive or stop eating beef. (Although, the app doesn't know if you are actually following through with these commitments or if you're just saying you'll do them to get a lower monthly rate.)

My subscription costs $18.31 a month based on my carbon footprint—more than my Hulu and Spotify subscriptions combined. However, if you don't eat meat, for example, or ride a bike instead of driving a car, your subscription could only cost you $7.

Above view of a field full of solar panels.

Mr.kitsadakron Pongha / EyeEm / Getty Images

The monthly subscription goes to three project categories: tree projects, solar power, or cookstoves. You can choose all, two, or one, depending on your preference. Within each category, Klima tells you what exact project the app is working with, along with some information about each verified project and what it’s doing to help climate change. 

The company claims that 70% of your money goes directly to your personal offsetting projects, with 20% going toward impact marketing, and 10% to cover its running costs.

I like how I can essentially sit back and know my money is going somewhere useful to help the environment. At the same time, I feel almost lazy that I'm just throwing my money at the problem, rather than actively making a difference in my habits. 

Is It Worth It?

What I like most is seeing the impact my money is making: the app tells you how many trees you've paid to have planted and how much solar power has been produced through your contributions. After just the first day, I already had helped plant one tree and produce 19 kWh of solar energy. 

Klima’s simple format shows you how specific lifestyle changes will affect your overall carbon footprint—you can watch your number increase or decrease as you add and subtract how much you shop, or by changing your diet. 

several people's hands holding a seedling in dirt.

PeopleImages / Getty Images

However, the app asks you for limited details that contribute to only a portion of your overall carbon footprint. Where you live also will significantly impact your carbon footprint (city vs. rural, different states, what the climate is actually like, etc.), which the app doesn't consider. 

Also, the app tells you it will provide you with frequent tips on how you can make simple changes to reduce your impact, but I have yet to see any of these tips within the app. 

While the monthly subscription that goes toward environmental projects is great, it's also important to get out there and make a change in your daily life by making conscious decisions to lessen your footprint, rather than just throwing cash at the problem.

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