Neutral is shutting down

After three years and 4613 trees planted, Neutral is shutting down.

It's been an incredibly rewarding journey for me to help you plant 4613 trees around the world. Together, we have planted a forest - not just of trees but of hope and unified action towards a healthier world. Every tree planted and every ounce of carbon offset is a victory, and has brought us closer to a sustainable future.

In July 2019, Australia experienced a period of intense bushfires in 2020 that ravaged many parts the country. It burned more than 24 million hectares, directly causing 33 deaths and almost 450 more from smoke inhalation.

While it seemed like an aberration, it was really the continuation of fire trends beginning more than two decades ago. These trends are almost entirely due to Australia's increasingly severe fire weather and are consistent with predicted human-induced climate change.

The forest fires covered Sydney in bushfire smoke for days under a burnt-red sky. We called it “Black Summer”.

I'd always tried to make sustainable choices, but it became pretty clear that our current efforts are nowhere near enough. So, I started by trying to reduce my own carbon footprint in my daily life by swapping Uber rides for walking, reducing electricity usage around the house and taking less flights (COVID-19 may have been a helpful factor here).

Realising that it's virtually impossible to live a carbon neutral lifestyle nowadays, I started looking at reforestation - the primary method of sequestering your carbon emissions. There are many organisations out there that allow you to make donations, but they're typically one-off. There are also many calculators online to estimate your emissions, but I found them typically either inaccurate or difficult to use. I also found a few people building in this space (which is brilliant) but none of them supported reforestation programs outside of Africa.

I wanted a way to keep on top of my carbon emissions and use that number to plant enough trees every month to sequester my emissions, preferably in the country I live.

That's how I made Neutral — a simple, subscription-based app to help contribute to the issue of climate change through reforestation. You simply sign up and fill in a lifestyle questionnaire, which combines your information with U.S. EPA and other data sources to calculate your CO₂e emissions. Then, you can subscribe to a tailored reforestation plan in the country of your choice, designed to reduce your carbon dioxide equivalent.

There's a lot to do in the climate change space, but I was glad to have built something that gave you the power to make your own change in the world.

However, all is not lost! If you are still interested in making a difference, I highly recommend checking out Wren. Wren helps you take simple, effective climate action much like Neutral — by calculating and offseting your carbon footprint through a monthly subscription.

The Wren team have kindly provided us with this special link that gives you a first month free bonus!

Published on September 5, 2023 3 min read