By Jack Sullivan ‘22
As climate change occupies more of our thoughts about both the present and future, people all over the world are looking for ways to turn their time and resources into actions that can help the environment. Princeton senior Austin Mejia was thinking along these lines when he came up with the idea for Donera, a web extension for Google Chrome that turns your newly opened tabs into ad revenue which is then donated to organizations that work in carbon offsetting and climate advocacy.
When the United Nations released a report in 2019 saying that there were ten years left to take serious action in reducing climate impact before climate change would become irreversible, Mejia found himself looking for places where he could put his own talents to use in support of climate action. He found that many conventional ways of supporting climate action such as individual advocacy or donating to organizations that support climate causes were lacking a certain something. As much as advocacy online and raising awareness is a good and important cause, Mejia felt that such activities do little to actively work in carbon offsetting or environmental protections. Supporting groups via donations felt transactional, on top of the fact that oftentimes it is often hard to find trustworthy organizations to support. These limitations combined with Mejia’s penchant for coding gave birth to Donera.
Mejia saw Donera as a way to begin engaging in fighting the climate crisis in a small but substantial way. Through its generation of ad revenue, Donera can put idle attention in our browser windows to use for the sake of climate action. Additionally, the browser extension gives users a way to get involved and learn more about supporting climate causes. Mejia sees Donero as a great starting point for people looking to get involved in climate advocacy and climate justice but who do not know where to start. Donera reminds users every time they open a tab that even with this small act they can help the environment. One person using Donera can generate ad revenue of $10-$20 each year.
The ad revenues generated by Donera are then donated to a variety of organizations chosen by Mejia and his Donera team, with much of this ad revenue going towards carbon offsetting efforts and climate advocacy groups. The Donera team looks at results, seeking to support the organizations which have the greatest impact per dollar in terms of carbon offsets and tangible climate actions. Supported organizations currently include: Climate Emergency Fund, 350.org, Rainforest Action Network and ITIF’s Innovation Fund. All of the organizations are carefully vetted by Mejia and his team to find the most effective destination for each dollar raised by Donera.
Donera is currently in soft beta testing, but any Google Chrome user can download it now. To get Donera yourself, download the web extension and get started turning new tabs into dollars for climate action!