Originally published on Oct. 14, 2015.

What do a smartphone, a Nest thermostat, and a Fitbit all have in common?

Grist relies on the support of generous readers like you. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations matched!

If you guessed that they’re all products of our cultural obsession with gadgets, then yes — you’re correct. But more specifically, all of these devices are part of the Internet of Things. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry — many people who have heard of the Internet of Things don’t really know what it is.

But what if you care more about, say, trees than Silicon Valley-born electronics? You may be surprised to learn that the Internet of Things can do just as much for saving the planet as it can for tracking your heart rate during SoulCycle. In the right hands, it could be a powerful tool to fight climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by as much as nine gigatons by 2020. Watch our video above to learn how!

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.