Personal footprint calculation made easy!
Understanding the direct consequences of our lifestyle and consumption choices requires the use of a common unit of equivalency that can relate to different elements like a meal and a bus trip. The Yupi software ® allows its users to calculate their scores in relation to carbon, water and ecological footprints by just filling out a form in a few minutes. The program ́s language and variables reflect the local lifestyle choices and therefore provide more accurate calculations than the foreign calculators.
There are many international calculation programs available online, but all of them proved to be inadequate for a local application in Argentina, because of language barriers, complexity of data requested, time requirements for its completion, cultural habits considered in some cases, and calculus based on foreign emission factors, in other cases.
An Argentina-based calculator software with an educational purpose has been
developed, in order to disseminate and raise awareness amongst local citizens about the environmental impacts generated by the daily habits of each individual.
The main objective was to develop a tool for education and consciousness generation amongst the local population in the subject of environmental impacts of personal lifestyle choices. An online based, free of charge software proved to be the best way to target this objective, since in Argentina, on the “Conectar Igualdad” program, created in April 2010 through the Decree N ° 459/10 of the Presidency of the Nation, every public high school, special education school and teacher’s education institute, students and teachers have been given a free computer with internet connection for educational purposes (see Figure2). Therefore, the hardware needed to disseminate this program was already available for the community to use.
On the other hand, the software was developed to be presented in educational fairs and trades hows, with the feature of not needing a keyboard for its operation, only a mouse or a tactile screen are needed, thus needing the least hardware possible. The completion times were also calculated for this purpose, finding a balanced compromise between thoroughness of information requested and in no more than 5 minutes per person. The questions to be answered were carefully elaborated in order to obtain accurate answers that would not need further research from the user (like asking for past electricity bills, like other software do) and that the user can complete by memory only. This last feature was also planned to allow people of a wide age range to use the same form.
Reference calculations are based on specific regional data from Mendoza and Argentina, implementing several original research results for the CLIOPE group, complemented by methodologies from the Water Footprint Network and the Global Footprint Network.
The strategy of creating a free online program, accessible by everyone has proven to be easier for dissemination, due to its simplicity of language, user-friendliness and interface attractiveness; which have proven to be an important factor when seeking an effective transference from scholarly research to community outreach.