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Improve your vocabulary, save the planet

I’ve lost count of the number of years I’ve made use of WordWeb but it’s an application I can no longer do without.

It’s been three years since I last updated the program so I checked out the official site to see if there was a new version. There was indeed an updated version and I was delighted the free version was still available.

However, I was startled to discover the license for the free version had been changed. Check it out:

WordWeb may be freely used only by people who meet the conditions below.

Global greenhouse gas emissions are currently around 5 tonnes per person per year, and need to be reduced by about 80% have a good chance of avoiding catastrophic warming. Most computer users are responsible for far more emissions than is sustainable. For example one medium distance return flight can be equivalent to over 1 tonne of emissions1: more than an average person should be emitting in an entire year. A typical SUV causes about twice as much warming per mile as a typical normal European car: 10,000 miles of travel in an SUV is responsible for about 5 tonnes of emissions. Offsetting emissions is no substitute for direct cuts.

You may use the program free of charge indefinitely only if
* You take at most 4 flights (2 return flights) in any 12 month period
* AND you do not own or regularly drive an SUV (sports utility vehicle).

If you do not qualify you must uninstall the program after the 30-day trial period or purchase WordWeb Pro. The licence is designed to provide a small incentive for people with massively unsustainable emissions to cut down.

Granted, people who own SUVs and take frequent flights probably have no great need of the free version of WordWeb but like the license puts it, it’s a nice incentive for the rest of us. More importantly, it lets people know a) there is a problem and b) there is something they can do about it.

Posted in Software.