Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks a day of action—a day we celebrate protecting the planet, changing human behaviour and bringing about global, national and local change. This year, we sat down with Trevor Bowden, Co-founder of Big Room Inc.—the people behind .ECO—to talk sustainability, infrastructure and how you can make an impact online for results offline.
.ECO was founded right here in Canada—British Columbia to be precise—around a simple idea: to build a more sustainable world, you need to build a global environmental community online. To bring this idea to life, the Big Room team partners with leading innovative organizations, providing them with a platform to raise awareness and share different ways to protect our resources responsibly. As .ECO celebrates its sixth anniversary on April 25, and the second year of its infrastructure partnership with CIRA Registry Services, we wanted to hear how they are making an impact as a company by enabling environmental changemakers around the world.
How do you see people using .ECO domains?
Your domain name is often the first opportunity you have to tell someone about who you are, where you are, or what your values are. With a .CA domain name, you're telling the world that you operate in Canada. With a .ECO domain name, you're telling the world that you're committed to sustainability.
This has made .ECO the perfect home for new eco-friendly businesses, environmental organizations and people who care about the environment.
Like .CA, .ECO isn't open to everyone—we make sure that the community remains aligned with its values by asking people some simple questions about their sustainability priorities and commitments. We call this a .ECO profile, and it's publicly available. As a result, we build transparency into .ECO, and .ECO domain users get a simple tool for sharing their values.
Depending on whom you're trying to reach, where they are, and what aspects of your brand you want to highlight, you might register a .CA domain—or a .ECO domain. Or, you might register both!
Recently, .ECO became one of the first carbon-neutral registries–can you tell us about how–and why–you did that?
We had a number of motivations for making .ECO carbon neutral. First and foremost, it's the right thing to do. Collectively, we're facing a climate emergency, and the impacts will be felt by all of us. We want .ECO to be part of the solution. That means identifying the impacts of our operations, measuring them, and reducing or offsetting them. We had these measurements and claims reviewed and certified—we did the work, had it checked and made it public.
We didn't do this alone. With CIRA as our technical partner for .ECO, we needed to understand how CIRA's systems operated and what was .ECO’s share of their impact. We worked closely with the CIRA team to answer these questions, and without their great support, we'd have only been guessing.
This is actually one of the other reasons we chose to do this work—to engage our partners in the process of measuring and reducing our collective impact. This way, we both learn more about our impacts and how to manage them. Ultimately, we'd like to show others in the domain industry and the .ECO community that this work is important and useful.
Why did you choose CIRA as your technical partner for .ECO?
Being based in Canada, we've known about CIRA and its good work for a long time. We knew our values were aligned, so that was a good foundation to build on. Just as important, we were looking for a partner who understood what we were building with the .ECO extension—and why. This is where CIRA's stewardship of the .CA domain was important. Like .CA, the ideas of trust and community are central to .ECO.
None of that matters if you can't deliver the technology and infrastructure to make .ECO run, but this is another area where CIRA shines. CIRA met and exceeded our requirements, and has an excellent reputation internationally.
Add to this that we're both located in Canada—and both helping to build a stronger Internet here—it was a perfect fit.
Where can people find out more about .ECO?
To explore the .ECO community and check out the .ECO profiles that have been created by members of the community, go to profiles.eco. If you are considering getting your own .ECO domain, visit go.eco to see if your domain is available and if so, where you can register it.
.ECO provides a valuable service that contributes to building a trusted internet. There is no better day to showcase an organization like them than on Earth Day—a day that celebrates the environment. Environmental protection initiatives, run both by individuals and organizations alike, both at home and abroad, can all make an impact in protecting our planet.