Environmental protection is not an easy task.
From the national complaints about paper straws, buying mobile phones without earphones and charging heads, and the increasingly popular vegetarian style … it can be seen that environmental protection sometimes opposes the convenience of life, opposes our own interests, and may even lead to extreme follow. But we are still advocating environmental protection, because it is closely related to the future.
In order to make environmental protection easier, many technology companies are taking action, and Google has recently made a big move .
They want you to have a new "environmental protection version" for your search, shopping, travel, navigation, and even household electricity.
Let the search no longer "fake the sky"
I believe many people have struggled to "search" for a long time.
Because there are too many fake news, waste information, and useless advertisements.
A recent analysis by Avaaz, a non-profit organization, showed that when searching for "global warming" on YouTube, 20% of the first 100 videos that popped up were filled with misinformation.
So Google has made some adjustments in its search platform. When you search for keywords such as "climate change," you will be directed to a dedicated results page.
On this page, there will be "high-quality climate-related information", all of which come from authoritative institutions related to climate research.
In addition, there are existing news about climate change, etc. Some past advertisements with false climate change information will no longer be displayed.
More authoritative and accurate information can help dispel people's suspicions about the climate crisis and contribute to environmental protection education.
The specific time for the launch of this feature has not yet been determined, but you will be able to experience it within this month.
Use more environmentally friendly appliances
Although many people will not buy a more environmentally friendly version when shopping, it would be different if environmental protection can save money.
For electrical appliances, people may not place orders for more environmentally friendly appliances, but they will place orders for more energy-efficient appliances. The reason is simple, because it saves electricity bills.
Now when you use Google search to shop online, search for dishwashers, dryers, water heaters, stoves, etc., will show more energy-efficient goods.
Google previously launched the Nest thermostat, and now users upgrade the software to the latest version of Nest Renew, and can choose the new features of Energy Shift.
This function can automatically adjust the channels of energy use when people use the Nest thermostat, switching from the general power supply system to renewable energy sources such as wind energy and solar energy.
In addition, there is a paid subscription option, Renew Premium, which costs $10 a month to earn renewable energy points for the electricity used in your home. If you have some investment in renewable energy-related industries, it can also bring some help.
Take an eco-friendly route
How to be more environmentally friendly when you go out of your house and go outdoors?
Google has spent some thought on its own navigation system.
When you use Google Maps while driving, a "most fuel-efficient route" will be added. This is based on the system's judgment and analysis based on time distance, road slope, and traffic conditions. Reducing fuel can also reduce more exhaust pollution.
If the most fuel-efficient route is also the fastest route, this route will become the default best route.
If the most fuel-efficient route is not the fastest, then the choice is left to the user.
As early as March, Google has announced that it will launch this feature, and it is now available in the United States. Starting in 2022, the feature will be extended to Europe and other markets.
Google predicts that this can reduce carbon emissions by more than 1 million tons per year-the equivalent of reducing 200,000 cars from the road.
Of course, what is more important to users is that they can save money by reducing fuel consumption.
More and more people are buying electric cars. Starting early next year, when American users search for car models and manufacturers, Google results will show more hybrid and electric cars.
If you search for a specific electric car, you can also see nearby charging stations that are compatible with the car model, letting you know which brand to buy is more convenient for you to travel.
For environmental protection, it is of course the best not to drive, so Google also provides a streamlined version of the navigation for cyclists.
The new navigation displays the cycling route more concisely and clearly. Instead of keeping the phone screen on, the route progress, estimated time and altitude of the route will be reported at any time. You can also see where there are shared bicycles to ride in more than 300 cities around the world.
Another interesting new action is Google's attempt to use AI to improve urban traffic.
They have previously piloted research on how AI can improve road congestion through traffic lights in Israel, mainly by predicting traffic conditions in advance, and then making traffic lights no longer limited to a fixed time, but flexible changes according to traffic conditions.
Of course, in more large cities, perhaps this trick is not entirely applicable. There are many reasons for traffic jams, and the traffic jams will still be jammed, but AI will inevitably bring more active benefits in future traffic.
In the results of Google’s trial, Israel’s car jam delay time has been reduced by 10%-20%, and perhaps it can continue to expand to other suitable cities in the future.
▲ On January 14, 2020, workers operate traffic lights in the northern Israeli city of Tzfat. Picture from: David Cohen/Flash90
Low-polluting flights, hotels, stocks
If you search for flights with Google (Google Flights), you can now see the estimated carbon emissions of each flight. The green badge indicates that this is the flight with the lowest carbon emissions.
How are the carbon estimates calculated?
Google combined the European Environment Agency data with specific information provided by airlines and other suppliers about the type of aircraft, the number of seats on the aircraft, and the distance of the individual flights, and finally came to a conclusion.
In fact, even flights on the same route may have different carbon emissions due to different ages of the aircraft. The newer the aircraft, the less pollution.
Moreover, you can also see how many individual carbon footprints each seat generates.
For example, first class and business class will increase personal carbon emissions, because these seats will also take up more space in the aircraft.
Therefore, people will not only be able to choose a flight based on the price and flight time, but also based on the pollution level of the flight.
Google is also trying to develop an open model for calculating air travel carbon emissions, so that the entire travel industry can also use this framework and gradually move towards standardization.
When you get off the plane, use Google to search for hotels, you can also see the "sustainability" information of different hotels, including how the hotel reduces waste, water-saving measures, whether it has obtained Green Key or EarthCheck environmental certification, and so on.
In addition to the aforementioned new trends in environmental protection, even if you buy stocks, you can be more "environmentally friendly."
Based on data from the Climate Disclosure Project, Google Finance has introduced a "sustainability score" to each company, so now you can see the "environmental protection factor" in the stocks you have.
"Environmental protection" more and more close to the people
Almost all of the world's large Internet technology companies are acting on environmental protection, trying to take the lead.
From Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, to domestic Tencent, Alibaba, and Baidu, they are all trying to achieve carbon neutrality and zero carbon emissions goals from the company itself to social welfare.
▲ Dixie Mountain Fire. Picture from: JOSH EDELSON/AFP
When wildfires break out in various places, glaciers continue to collapse, floods are raging like beasts, and the global ocean is hit by heat waves, the crisis of climate change has also attracted more and more people's attention.
This is no longer a seemingly distant threat.
Both Microsoft and Facebook are committed to achieving zero carbon emissions by 2030, and Amazon is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2040 and 100% renewable energy by 2025.
In contrast, Google's "environmental protection speed" is faster.
They stated that they have achieved carbon neutrality in 2007, and in 2022, all hardware products will use recyclable environmentally friendly materials. At this year’s Google I/O conference, Google announced that in 2030, global offices and data centers will use recycled materials. Energy, 24 hours a day through carbon-free energy operations.
In May of this year, Google also opened an offline store, Google Store. You can see Google from floors made of 100% recyclable materials, sound-absorbing panels made of 100% PET plastic, and every lamp with energy-saving effects. The principles of sustainable design are displayed in each space in the store.
This is also a way to transmit environmental protection concepts offline.
And this "environmental update" in each section of Google may be the most friendly online environmental action.
It covers all aspects of life from our travel and transportation, home electricity consumption, and daily consumption. The topic of environmental protection no longer appears to be high in the cloud, but a choice that we can easily make in our lives.
More importantly, these choices will bring us more economic benefits, especially in terms of electricity and energy consumption.
At the same time, environmental protection no longer reveals a compulsory taste. When using Google tools, people who are insensitive to environmental protection may invisibly get close to environmental protection. Of course, they also have the option to refuse.
People who really want to be environmentally friendly also have a more relaxed way to practice environmental protection.
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