It is no secret that we love our phones . Our obsession with being connected, mindlessly scrolling away at cat videos and mukbang shorts is well-known. Therefore, the rise in green apps that guide our routines towards sustainability and eco-friendliness comes as a rather unsurprising development.
According to statistics, an average American spends some 3 hours on their phones, which is a lot of time if you see it that way. While a momentary distraction is important to keep things in balance, it is also imperative that we direct the power of social media towards advents that need it the most. One of them are the burning issues related to our environment that need attention, awareness and the courage to remedy our wrongs that affect us and the planet.
However, we often are lost when it comes to thinking about how technology can guide us, when on the contrary it has been doing just the opposite. Look at those T.V. towers affecting the lives of little bees and house sparrows. (This is why we tell you not to switch on your cell-phones when you jog around.)
Despite the myriad evils of technology, it is also important to leverage it in the right direction. Maybe a simple Google Search and reading up random information would have been an easy approach to embrace a sustainable lifestyle.
But like fitness trackers and technically advanced fitness monitoring equipment, we need something that helps us monitor our own ecological footprint.
Technology might make matters easier in this regard and can direct us towards communities that are making efforts to achieve sustainability. What do they say, never underestimate the power of connection!
As we speak about technology, we would like to move beyond the basics, extending its ethical impact on how it guides our choices. Therefore, lifestyle apps that can help us make better and more sustainable choices are an imperative tool to gear us towards embracing a greener lifestyle.
Read on to know more about how green apps can help you inform yourself about eco-consciousness. We will also tell you about 5 such apps that will help you adopt sustainable lifestyles slowly, but steadily. Using these apps is a matter of habit and you might come to adore them!
What are Green Apps?
Green apps or environmental apps are catching up fast as the newest products in the app market. These applications are readily available to download (just like our own Chrome extension, here!) and are created with the intention to promote more environment friendly behaviour amongst people.
Such apps do not adhere to only one category, but are quite versatile in the kind of issues they address. Sure, there are some priority areas and fields each green app aims to promote, but remember, like zebra stripes and natural fibres, no two apps are the same.
In fact, environmentally friendly apps are directed towards myriad goals- from promoting sustainable lifestyle to helping you look out for a community that supports your little efforts towards making the earth a safer place. Many apps also provide recommendations for more sustainable and green products that you can use to reduce your carbon footprint.
There are several kinds of green apps to download on your devices. And you will be surprised to know that several of them might appear as your regular shopping guides, search engines or habit trackers.
With each milestone you achieve within the app, such as using it, making a purchase through it or, even referring it to a friend, the app records your contribution and awards you certain credits through which you can plant real trees or donate to a cause relevant to environment and indigenous communities.
Several apps and commercial websites are adopting this model. One of the most popular ‘green’ habit tracker apps is Forest, which helps people plug out and keep their cellphones on hush-hush mode to stay focused.
Once you complete a cycle, which functions a lot like Pomodoro timer, you are awarded with some coins and a cute tree which represents how much time you were off your cellphone.
You can use this virtual currency to plant real trees while you beat phone addiction like a pro! Actually, Forest has partnered with Trees for the Future and by donating a part of your credits, it creates ‘planting orders’. These orders are placed across farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries. For more information, you can look at the Forest App website, here!
However, not all green apps work on the same model. Apps like Olio and iRecycle focus more on connecting people within their communities to undertake environment-friendly advents like reducing food waste and making recycling facilities more accessible to the common folk via creating a brilliant network through which people can actively collaborate.
Why Should You Download Sustainability Apps?
There are plenty of reasons why you should be downloading one on your phone right now. And trust us that this is not for a mere show. Until and unless you do not use an app beyond the screen and embrace its true essence, downloading a so-called green app might be a frivolous exercise.
The reason why green apps exist because as we grow increasingly dependent on technology, it is important to assess where exactly are we using it. We need to ask ourselves some questions before jumping into another trend bandwagon:-
- Which habits do I want to improve to make my planet greener? Is it something related to food, sourcing sustainable and ethical clothing or keeping a general tab on brands that are eco-friendly?
- How can I take these adopted habits beyond the screen?
- Do these apps themselves employ green technology? What do they do to claim that they are green indeed?
- Are they genuinely committed to the purpose or are these apps laying a careful trap of greenwashing and deceiving users?
It is an established fact that green apps contribute to environmental awareness. It is better to use incentive based or comparison based green apps as these yield a daily report about small things that have a big impact. Some apps are even competitive and provide a list of daily challenges for users to complete. Who said that environmental apps have to be boring in order to be useful?
Most importantly, environmental apps serve as a guide to credible alternatives which exist and serve to remind us of the repercussions of our not so sustainable choices– be it those in our shopping baskets or in our routines.
Apps like Ecocharge and PDF Utilities are pioneers in this regard as they remind users to switch off the charger after their devices have been fully charged and if their PDFs contain additional blank pages, which actually saves a lot of wastage and costs when we set out to print them. Green apps can function better if we supplement them with other practices, such as using sustainable stationery for printing, plugging in our devices much less to save electricity and regularly monitoring our own use and wastage of resources.
Does Green IT Figure in These Green Apps?
Yes, it absolutely does.
While we are talking about green apps, it is equally important to talk about green IT. Green IT is an environmentally sustainable system of computing that aims to reduce the harmful impacts of technology, which includes the minimal use and disposal of harmful products as well as maximizing energy efficiency. While green IT seems to be more of a hardware concept, it is also inextricably related to software like green apps.
Green IT is also used in software and is pitched by many as an alternative that will not only make businesses sustainable but it will also yield profits for them. Companies that use green IT in their software and hardware development are the least carbon intensive, and the most energy efficient as they cut down on the use of electricity from sources like coal. Such technologies also use renewable energy in their headquarters and other centers.
Interestingly, these technologies also use less data and so do green apps. Using less data also contributes to reducing our carbon footprint as data travels through several electricity powered servers and cables to reach us. Therefore, reducing the size of files and using less data can help us shorten the distance it travels and the load it might put on electrical devices to process it. This is why green apps and the technology used to manufacture them are related with green IT as well.
Are These Lifestyle Apps Really Useful?
The answer depends on how you employ these tools in your lifestyle. If using green apps is just about downloading them for the sake of a trend and not using them in reality, then lifestyle apps are quite a burden. But if we choose to stand with the alternatives and commit to using them as well as implementing the takeaways to make our life greener, then of course, environmental apps can be a saving grace.
It is also important to conduct a thorough investigation on the methodology and effects of using such apps. You can begin with looking at the vision of the specific app and their developers and how they have been making a change beyond cables and devices. Since, sustainability is a long-term strategy and a multidimensional concept, the marriage between environment and mindful technology has to take the sustainability factor in account to determine which apps actually add to your productivity and output, and which ones exist just for a fad.
The efficacy of lifestyle apps thus depends on research as well as how prudently you use them to limit wastage of resources and optimizing them instead.
Know About the 5 Best Environmentally Friendly Apps In Town!
Now that we have taken a plunge into green tech and have assessed its various dimensions, including green IT, it is time to look at 7 of the best green apps to download right away if you are looking around for some help on how to be a driver for change.
Food wastage is one of the toughest environmental and humanitarian crisis we are confronting right now.
It is morally wrong as many people languish without any food while so much of it ends up in landfills and dumpsters and is also environmentally catastrophic as we farm more than we eat. Producing food takes up a significant amount of resources, be it water or land.
Therefore, to counter this challenge, Olio seeks to build a network where foodstuffs and other groceries can circulate and are available to people and communities who need them.
Through Olio, you can give and receive food from a neighbour and browse through listings that will help you zero down on an item that might be wasted for nothing. At Olio, using is better than wasting things altogether, so download the app, click the picture of the object you wish to give away and add a location and time for pick-up. And this is how you make for a more sustainable network! You can download the app on both Google Playstore and App store.
Oroeco- Habit Tracker
Oroeco is a useful habit tracker that helps users estimate their carbon footprint through monitoring their spending and financial habits. The data is presented to users through a graph for easy visual representation and a rough assessment of how well are you going along with your motto to go green.
The app is available here to download. Make sure that you are participating in the challenges to compare your carbon footprint with those of others. Oroeco makes sure that you are never demotivated in your quest to be green!
GreenChoice is a green shopping app that suggests you food and shopping choices according to your values, dietary preferences and a general concern about how much our food choices impact our planet’s health. If you are wondering which product is more healthy or more sustainable, GreenChoice is an app that will make it plain, simple and easy for you to shop better out of a curated selection of food choices.
Ecosia- Green Search Engine
Ecosia is employing a revolutionary concept. It is a green search engine that plants trees based on the number of searches you conduct through it each month. The app is desktop and smartphone friendly and is also one of the easiest apps to help you transition to a more rejuvenating pattern of technology use. You can add the Ecosia extension to Chrome, here.
This app is quite a popular application from Earth911 that offers more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle more than 350 products and substances. Now that is huge. iRecycle also sloves for you the crisis of not being able to find recycling facilities that are doing it right. All you need to do is punch in your location and the app presents a whole directory off recycling companies and dealers who will be happy to pick the waste and turn it into treasure. You can download iRecycle from here!
The BeZen Take on Green Apps
We believe that technology is an excellent servant but a bad master. We have already seen the harmful effects of technology on our environment in the name of progress and development. However, green apps can help us mitigate the crisis by leveraging the power of tech to advance environmentalist and sustainable advents, touching lives indeed. The veracity of such apps is severely questioned as it can easily be a greenwashing tactic.
However, we can overcome this hurdle by interrogating developers about their policy and impact. Most importantly, it is on us if we choose to stand with alternatives or simply dismiss them altogether while blindly employing any technique without assessing its pros and cons. Therefore, green apps can be effective allies in our battle against climate change, if they are used well.