How Caremiles is Helping People Fight Climate Change, One Tree at a Time
Pick up the newspaper or turn on the evening news, and you will find endless stories about the harmful effects climate change is having on the environment. Most drivers are at least generally aware that their gas-powered vehicles emit pollutants that are harming the planet, but for many, the problem seems so large and abstract that it can become overwhelming. Although most people want to do their part to make the world a safer and cleaner place for the future, overhauling their driving habits can be a challenging, sometimes impossible task.
Caremiles was launched to meet people in that critical moment – to empower drivers to positively impact the environment, encourage better habits (without instilling fear and guilt), and allow them to make the world a better place. How can a mobile app accomplish such lofty goals?
For Caremiles founder Kashif Sohail, it begins with the power of a single tree.
Once a driver downloads the Caremiles app (available on both the App Store and Google Play), Caremiles tracks the vehicle's impact using EPA standards and metrics. But one of the genius innovations of the mobile app is that it does not record and display that information in terms of carbon metric tons – a measurement that has little value to the average driver. Instead, Caremiles records your impact by the number of trees.
For a driver in an electric car, Caremiles records how many trees they saved by choosing a clean and renewable energy source. However, because electric cars are still an emerging sector of the automotive industry, Caremiles accounts for gas-powered vehicles, too. By tracking driving data, the app will tell you how many trees you can plant to mitigate your carbon footprint – and then will give you a way to do exactly that.
This is where Caremiles, and users, can have a dramatic impact on the future of the planet. Once a driver sees their impact on the environment, they have the option to plant the recommended number of trees. So, if your commute can be mitigated by planting 5 trees, you can select the in-app option to plant all 5 for 50 cents per tree.
As Kashif Sohail explains, giving users metrics that are evocative and immediately understandable, like trees, is the key to making lasting change.
“If I tell you that your climate impact is 3.72 carbon metric tons, most people wouldn’t know what to do with that information, or what it means,” Sohail says. “But what does a tree mean to us? Food, protection, shade, environment, water, soil. We are trying to turn the conversation to trees as a unit of measurement because you don’t need to be a scientist to understand it. We all understand trees.”
Caremiles takes their efforts a step further by partnering with Trees for the Future, an organization that plants garden forests around the world, providing an immediate impact to families in need. Drivers can do this simply by downloading the app and choosing to plant the recommended number of trees. It is as easy as that.
Sohail makes it clear that Caremiles is not a charity organization. They are a consumer business backed by some of the brightest minds and most experienced executives in the industry. Sohail himself has over 25 years of experience in payments and consumer banking, with successful tenures at Barclays, Citi, and Mastercard.
“No amount of lecturing will be enough,” Sohail says. “We have created reasons to give people so they adopt behaviors that are better for the environment. And even if you are not concerned about the environment, you will still exhibit better behaviors because it benefits you individually.”
Caremiles is free to download and easy to use. It features data encryption and never collects personal information, only vehicle data related to environmental impact. By combining an easy-to-use mobile app, helpful educational tools and resources, and financial incentives, Caremiles enables drivers to improve the environment with every mile they travel.
And in doing so, the mobile app might just save the planet.