Event Recap — CARGO
Why do products have a nutrition label, but not a greenhouse gases (GHG) label? How come we don’t know the true environmental cost of our products? If we knew how energy intensive expedited shipping was, would we change our shipping preferences? In order to put these questions to the test, Earth Hacks teamed up with Generation Conscious on October 23rd-24th, for their very first Consumer Awareness of Real Greenhouse gas Output (CARGO) hackathon; focused on understanding the embedded greenhouse gas emissions from transportation in the footprint of various consumer goods.
In 2019, greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector accounted for about 29 percent of the total U.S. greenhouse gases (GHGs), making it one of the largest contributors of U.S. GHGs. This is because more than 90 percent of the fuel used for transportation is petroleum based, which includes primarily gas and diesel. The costs of pollution are hidden but the price of gas is public.
CARGO hackathon aimed to improve the feedback loops and disclosures within the sector by delivering measurement tools that more accurately report GHG emissions from transportation, so consumers have full information to make the best choices.
The organizers worked closely to identify gaps in the solution space and created challenges to solve them, spanning three tracks:
- Public Outreach
Over 100 participants registered and students from 8 different countries attended CARGO Hackathon that weekend, which featured keynote speakers Jasmine Sanders (Climate Change Scientist, Executive Director at Our Climate), Margo Wootan (Public Health Expert, President of MXG Strategies), and even a surprise message from one of the architects of the Green New Deal, Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA)! (Available on our community slack, so make sure to join if you have not!)
Finalists had the opportunity to win a total of $7,500 in cash prizes along with possible implementation and further build out of their proposals with the Deloitte US team.
The winning teams were as follows:
1st Place — Carbontag
2nd place — GHG Transparency Campaign
3rd place — Applet for Calculating GHG Emissions Associated with Domestic Cargo Transport
Some of the participants shared their thoughts and takeaways. “I believe this is my 6th or 7th Earth Hacks Hackathon that I have participated in and I always love getting to work with people from different backgrounds to solve a problem. The transportation industry is responsible for a significant amount of Greenhouse Gas emissions and it was inspiring to see all the new ideas/solutions that people developed to help solve this problem. It always amazes me just how much people are able to produce in such a short period of time. Thank you to the Earth Hacks team and everyone who made this hackathon possible!” Carly Cohen, a graduate of Michigan State University shared.
Raymond Dai, a student at Brown University, said he “…thought the hackathon was super well organized and did a great job at considering all aspects of a successful education movement; a strong solution shouldn’t rely on business, tech, and outreach alone. It really helped contextualize how much carbon is being produced by generally “mundane” things like transporting and manufacturing goods. I also learned a lot developing my first web app with Django and Heroku.”
Anold Laurent told us that “the hackathon was a great experience for me. The idea of being on a team of people from different timezones was new to me. I got a chance to learn a lot of new things from my teammates and Mentors. I got to see a competitive side of me that I wasn’t aware of.”
We look forward to continuing to explore these pressing questions with members of the Earth Hacks community!