Calming climate anxiety with Arbor
Net Zero

Calming climate anxiety with Arbor

Understory Team
Understory Team

Arbor is a mobile app that helps consumers reduce their carbon footprint and overall impact on the environment.

Ed Thomas, Co-Founder of Arbor, spoke at Understory's 'Startups Driving Sustainability' Showcase in June. To watch the entire presentation, click here.

Hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, drought. People across the world are experiencing the effects of climate change. And this is on the rise. A 2020 survey from the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that individual exposure to these effects rose 10% from 2009 to 2020 in America1. These experiences, news stories, and tragedies are distressing and worrying for many people - leading to what psychologists have now termed ‘Climate Anxiety’.

Climate anxiety, also called eco-distress, is the chronic fear of significant environmental impact. It can manifest as fear, worry, and even anger about the effects of climate change. Another 2020 Yale survey showed that more than 40% of Americans felt helpless and disgusted when it came to climate change1. The immensity of the climate change problem often leaves individuals feeling overwhelmed, unempowered, and guilty about the role they may have played.

The reality is that small, individual changes can lead to larger collective impact.

Behavior change and impact starts with one single swap. And the new app from Arbor allows users to take direct action on climate change with the tap of a phone. Arbor is a mobile app that makes it simple to have a climate impact by offsetting carbon-producing activities with contributions to climate positive activities.

The app streamlines offsetting a user’s carbon footprint from day-to-day activities with a simple interface. The backend does all the science and math to not only estimate the carbon footprint of certain activities, but also the amount of corresponding offsets needed to neutralize the effects. A typical user experience follows this path:

  1. Login to the Arbor App
  2. Tap which activities you did in the past week or month - this includes everything from using electricity to purchasing a tank of gas to traveling on an airplane.
  3. Select which project you would like to fund
  4. Check out! A small contribution is routed to fund verified carbon removal projects.

The company’s app design makes it fun to use by adding in a rewards network called Arbor coins. There is also the ability to unlock rewards and other incentives along the way. The app continues to add additional game elements to inspire collective action, spur healthy competition, and enhance the experience. The mission is to get people to have fun using the app while doing good at the same time.

Where do the contributions go? The funds are used for carbon removal work that is done in the field by existing NGO organizations. Arbor partners with the top providers within each project category. Initial projects found in the app are focused on conservation work such as the projects in the images above. The company plans to expand to forestry, regenerative farming, and other project types over time.

Arbor makes it easy for users to have a positive impact on climate change and erase climate anxiety. Offsetting your carbon footprint and funding climate projects on a regular basis is one small swap to remove carbon and undo the effects of climate change. Arbor gives users optimism that our individual actions can positively impact climate change.

Additional FREE resources (requires simple email sign-up):

Learn more about Arbor and how it helps consumers affect climate change by watching the company's presentation at our June 2021 ‘Startups Driving Sustainability’ Showcase recording.

[1] The Guardian. “Climate anxiety and PTSD are on the rise”. April 20, 2021

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