MakeMeSustainable shows how green you can get

This startup makes green goals look attainable and affordable.

Elsa Wenzel
2 min read

MakeMeSustainable is a new green social networking site. Although entering a crowded field, the service wisely translates how greening your everyday habits saves money. It tallies dollar signs, trees, and carbon emissions to track changes in your usage of electricity, heating, transportation, and travel over many months. I like that it takes you directly to sites where you can achieve a goal instantly, such as by buying CFL bulbs or carbon credits, or downloading a power-saving app for your PC. And you can form and join groups based around your interests.

MakeMeSustainable builds a personal profile based upon your quick setup interview. If I already polluted a lot more, I'd get more tools for setting worthy green goals. I'm far from eco-perfect, but giving up my car last year was painful, so if I can't moan about it, then I at least want to brag a bit. But since I rely on a bike, the site didn't show my eco-progress or suggest how my transportation could get greener. For instance, it didn't ask if I rent cars or take taxis. But this service is only in beta testing and will evolve. I found Yahoo Green's action plan (more here) a bit more intuitive.

I'd also like MakeMeSustainable to show how my carbon footprint measures against national averages, which BeGreenNow, ZeroFootprint, and the Nature Conservancy's carbon calculator display.

MakeMeSustainable keeps tabs on your carbon costs.
MakeMeSustainable keeps tabs on your carbon costs.

Despite those wishes, MakeMeSustainable's efforts are an impressive start, especially for a tiny startup that is only beginning to secure outside funding. I plan to keep using it. Within the next few months, it will roll out a lifestyle section, forums for product reviews, and widgets for Facebook. Blog badges will help you to show off your sustainability. Green sites need to work together rather than reinventing the wheel to add new tools, and the makers of MakeMeSustainable seem to have the right idea. They plan to integrate their service with others, such as by later integrating Yelp business ratings into the embedded Google Maps. They might also add RSS tie-ins, browser add-ons, and a Twitter-like feature.

I also like that MakeMeSustainable pledges not to share your individual details with third parties and lets you register with OpenID. Should you ever tire of the site, its detailed privacy policy even offers an e-mail address where you can ask for your details to be deleted. That offer alone makes this a personally sustainable service.