The Relicans

Sally MacNicholas
Sally MacNicholas

Posted on

Hack the planet: Negative Emissions

CO2 Extractor

According to a quick google search, The world emits about 43 billion tons of CO2 each year. The more CO2 that is in the atmosphere, the more heat is trapped, thus leading to our ever-increasing warm planet. I came across Patch, which allows you to pay to extract emissions out of the atmosphere (aka negative emissions). My app helps you log car and flight trips you have taken, calculates the co2 that those trips emitted, and then gives you the amount it would cost for negative emissions. The app doesn't currently allow you to pay, but I will get there soon.

Category Submission:

Science and Observation

Using New Relic

Setting up monitoring for apps has always been intimidating to me, so much so that I have somehow been a dev for 5 years and haven't done it. I've only ever looked at dashboards that others have created. Being able to quickly create monitoring dashboards on NR is a huge unlock for me. I love how easy it is to add to a Rails app, and within minutes you can have stats from your site on beautiful graphs. (Assuming you setup your ENV vars correctly within your .yml file. Whoops!) I followed these steps to get New Relic working with my Rails app. Learn from my mistakes - make sure your environment variables are wrapped in ERB tags within your newrelic.yml file.

<%= ENV['var_name'] %>
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Since the app makes use of an external API, I want to make sure my load page times don't get too high. With the click of a few buttons, I created a policy for page load times and chose a threshold based on all page load times that were shown on this graph.

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 8.19.09 PM

You can also create a warning threshold so you are aware before an incident happens.

Database operations

You can keep tabs on what is happening in your database. I love this view of what is being created in my db in real time.

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 6.12.32 PM

Web transactions

As new users were hitting my site, I wanted to see which of my controllers were being used the most. This graph helped me do that. I can see that estimates are actually being created, which is what I want users to do when they sign up. If this controller was lower in the list, I would know that there was a problem. As I build out the app, I plan on using this graph to compare users creating estimates vs users who are purchasing orders to extract co2.

Screen Shot 2021-02-28 at 6.11.19 PM


I'm glad I finally tried observability for myself. I didn't realize how easy it was to get some monitors up and running with little knowledge. I didn't even have to create my own dashboards if I wanted to. The dashboards that are automatically created for me were what I needed, but I love that I can also customize my own if needed. I am able to monitor app performance, site traffic, page load times, and so much more. If you haven't set up monitoring for an app of your own, I highly recommend starting with New Relic! You'll see how easy it is.

This app is a simple way to show that we can start by doing something as little as paying $2 to offset the emissions from a 5-hour road trip. Sometimes we just need to start small.

Permissive License

MIT License

See my source code on Github
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