Going "green" is quickly becoming an important part of our lives, and Web entrepreneurs have taken notice. A variety of green social networks have cropped up that help us live more sustainably. From reducing your carbon footprint to raising money for environmental causes, these social networks will back up your efforts.
Green social networks
BigCarrot BigCarrot is based on the premise of rewarding people for the good deeds they do. After signing up, you can start creating prizes for people to receive if they achieve a goal that helps the environment. So if you want to donate $20 to the first person to plant 20 trees in your area, you can do it. Users who prove that they have completed such tasks will be rewarded in more ways than one.
Unfortunately, BigCarrot is designed poorly. It's difficult to make your way around the site, and creating a new prize is far more difficult than it should be. But its community is relatively active. Finding friends is easy and winning prizes isn't as difficult as you might think. It's not the best social network in this roundup, but it's worth trying out.
Carbonrally Carbonrally tries to get its users to reduce carbon emissions by working together to achieve that goal. After you sign up for the site, you can create your own challenge. To complete that challenge, you'll need to find team members to help you out. You can also sign up for challenges created by other users.
In either case, you'll communicate with your other team members, discuss what you've done to help achieve that goal, and comment on how to tweak the challenge to make it more meaningful. Luckily, the tasks generally aren't hard to complete--one of the more popular challenges is to alter your air-conditioning level by two degrees for a week.
Celsias Celsias is a neat social network. To be a better user, you need to increase your Celsias temperature. When you first sign up for the site, you're at zero degrees. But once you start engaging in more green activities, that goes up. So if you use energy-efficient lightbulbs, eat more vegetables, or buy products with less packaging, you'll be able to increase your temperature rating.
Along the way, you'll be able to discuss those different actions with other Celsias users. You can also view their profiles, become friends with them, follow their green activities, and leave comments on their profile as they keep doing good things for the environment.
Change.org Change.org lets you raise money for green initiatives and do what you can to support a green lifestyle. It also lets you take action on topics ranging from child slavery to animal rights. If you're looking for a real change, Change.org is a great place to start.
After you sign up for the site, you're given the option of joining causes or making friends with other users whom you can communicate with via private messages or comments. But if you want to get involved, you can search through the site's many causes to find one that interests you.
Change.org rates you based on the amount of money you raise for the cause, how many people you can recruit to join the cause, and how many "actions" you've taken in support of it. I could go on about Change.org, but I think you get the point: it's a really great site.
Creative Citizen Creative Citizen asks users to engage in activities that are better for the environment. Once you decide which "action" to take, your "Greenage" will increase, giving you more importance in the community.
Unfortunately, that community is quite small. In fact, many of the actions on the site have just a few people pledging to take them on. But I found that the community is engaged and will be more than willing to discuss green initiatives with you.
Greenvoice Greenvoice is a social network that helps you start a grassroots campaign with other people on the service.
After you sign up for the site, you can create your own campaign or join those to which your friends belong. The site lets you publish information about your campaign, including videos and photos. Your campaign page will also have a blog and discussion forum so you and other users can discuss it.
Greenvoice also provides access to petition templates, pledge tools to raise cash, and resources for setting up an event. As long as your campaign has some relevance to staying green, you should be happy with Greenvoice.
HowYouEco HowYouEco gives you a full-featured green experience. After you sign up for the site, you can create a profile and start making friends with other people who want to go green.
To help the environment, the site provides user reviews of green products. The site also has a Twitter-like status update box where you can share some green ideas with the community. It's a great way to connect with like-minded people and get all the green products you need to reduce your footprint.
Make Me Sustainable Make Me Sustainable wants to make you more aware of your footprint. The site first asks you to answer a series of questions about your home and car. It then asks you about your lifestyle. After you're done answering those questions, the site will tell you what your impact on the environment is. That is then shared with the rest of the community.
That community is what makes Make Me Sustainable such a compelling service. It allows you to become friends with others and see how they're helping the environment. For even more help, Make Me Sustainable gives you ideas on how to reduce your impact, including carpooling and changing the temperature on your air conditioner. It's a neat service that will help you be a more responsible earthling.
My top 3
1. Change.org: With so many opportunities for helping people, Change.org is simply the best social network in this roundup.
2. Make Me Sustainable: You can see your impact on the planet and reduce it without much effort.
3. Celsias: It's designed well and it actually helps make a difference.