While it’s no secret that mobile technology is rough on the earth’s ecosystems, most of us couldn’t imagine a life without our smartphones in hand. Knowing how large of a carbon footprint our smartphones can leave behind, then, why not take that technology and turn it into an advantage? What if its apps and systems could assist you in other ways?
Becoming more eco-friendly doesn’t have to mean moving into a commune and only eating pesticide-free vegetables you grow yourself. If you want to improve your carbon footprint, start with these mobile apps.
Of all eco-friendly activities, my favourite has got to be purchasing food locally. Not only does it almost guarantee the food is fresher than, say, something that was shipped from the other end of the earth (recently I found out my peppers were from Holland!), it also helps you save time and money.
Farmstand lets you look through a gigantic list of farmers to find a farmer’s market or coop in your area from where you can buy local, fresh, and organic produce and foods. Making a single trip to the farmer’s market for a week can cut down fuel costs and carbon emissions for consumers, farmers, and everyone else involved.
Goods need not be transported from afar, and the earth is better for it. No one (except big food retailers, maybe) suffers from this phenomenon, and because of that this app is a no-brainer for carbon footprint reduction.
When I first read this one, I thought I’d gone dyslexic, as it seemed to read ‘oreo-eco.’ Obviously, that’s not the case, but it doesn’t hurt this app in the least. Oroeco is an app that turns carbon footprint reduction into a sort of game. It keeps track of what you do each day and makes suggestions for how to do a better job.
Once you’ve really started to get into it, there’s a dashboard that lets you compare your score with other users. It’s a good way to turn the habit of making the planet a better place into something more entertaining than just bringing the recycle bin out once a week.
Ever been stuck in ridiculous traffic? Not only can sitting in traffic be a huge waste of time, but it can also rip through your gas and kill productivity for you and everyone else stuck alongside you. Winter and summer are the worst times to get stuck since you’re likely using either the heat or A/C, depending on your local climate.
Waze helps cut through that by helping organize your trips in two different ways. The first and most obvious is by helping you navigate and avoid traffic. Other users share information to help you acquire the most current data.
Another benefit of Waze is that it helps you find carpooling. In cities and populated areas, there are sometimes lanes dedicated specifically to carpoolers that not only get you to a destination faster, but also save everyone involved time and money.
Furthermore, Waze allows you to see where gas is cheaper. Not that burning more gas helps the environment, but getting gas cheaper lets you save money for other things (maybe you’ll buy the item in a glass container, or choose the organic produce over the non-organic kind if you saved money elsewhere).
If cybersecurity is on your shortlist of things to help the environment, raise your hand. No? It should be! Exterior threats could not only potentially damage your smartphone; they could also lead to identity theft. That’s why a tool such as BufferedVPN can make a big difference in keeping your identity, your bank accounts, and your smartphone secure.
A VPN encrypts and protects your Internet connection, which can stop hackers from sneaking into your phone or sending you malware. The longer your smartphone’s life, the more money you save and the less likely you are to have to replace it earlier. The same is true for laptops, tablets, and other devices.
With the incredible amount of time and paperwork spent sorting things out if you are a victim of identity theft, a VPN is a solid investment for your carbon footprint.
5. Carbon Emissions Calculator
Although this app has a relatively limited scope of function, it still helps the planet in a very significant way. Carbon Emissions Calculator helps you plan your next flight and shows you how much of an impact it will have on the environment. It was developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (what a mouthful!) for this express purpose.
Some of us travel quite a bit, especially those who are engaged in business or who work travel-intensive positions for multinational companies, so it pays to know just how tough all those flights are on the environment and if there are better alternatives (such as flights with different connecting paths).
Although Waze is great for carpooling, it’s still not the best for that specific job. That position belongs to Carma Carpooling, and as its name suggests, it exists to help you lead a more eco-friendly life by carpooling. Naturally, this app works better in populated areas, but it still gets some mileage in areas that have decent internet.
It works on a very social platform, so make sure to spend time communicating and meeting with others on the app. This way you can make friends and save money all at the same time.
Shrinking Your Carbon Footprint, One App at a Time
While a few time, energy, and money-saving apps aren’t going to singlehandedly obliterate pollution, or undo the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, every step we take to reduce our carbon footprint and heal the Earth helps.
Download and use these apps, and take time to make sure your friends and family know about them too. For those of you who are just about to begin their shift to eco-conscious living, why not start your journey here?
Know some other cool apps to help reduce your carbon footprint? We’d love to hear about them, so please share them in the comment section below!