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Monday, December 5, 2022

There’s an App for That

Technology can help us make small changes necessary to improve life on Earth.

With ongoing environmental factors making headlines — extreme weather, forest fires and climate change to name a few — it’s only natural to wonder what we can do to help our planet. Human activity can have devastating impacts on the natural world, but, by making small changes to our everyday lives, we can lessen our impact. Here are a few apps that will help.

Image from My Footprint app
My Footprint

Use the World Wildlife Fund-UK’s My Footprint app to calculate your environmental impact, see how you compare with the UK and world average, and understand which parts of your lifestyle contribute the most to your score. Based on your personal score, the app will provide practical advice on how to reduce your impact through a variety of challenges (such as cutting down on plastic consumption or eating a plant-based meal) that you can track. By understanding your impact, and using the app for motivation, you can begin making small changes that will have lasting effects. 

MyPlasticDiary

With the MyPlasticDiary app, log all of the plastic items you buy and then set goals to reduce your plastic footprint. In the future, the app will be able to scan barcodes and integrate with online grocery shopping apps. MyPlasticDiary asks you to consume half as much plastic as the average person, then aim for more. Earn virtual awards and positive feedback, and share your progress on social media to inspire others to take action.

Recycle Coach

The Recycle Coach app teaches you how to unlearn poor recycling habits that contribute to high contamination rates. Known as “wish-cycling” (tossing non-recyclables in with recyclables), this poor habit costs municipalities money and results in scaled back or canceled recycling programs. This app offers essential information that is tailored to your household, such as details about your collection schedule, what can be recycled (and what can’t), local events, and more. However, the amount of information available depends on what municipality stage your community is in. The app has four stages:

  • Stage 1 occurs when citizens initiate a grassroots effort to bring on-demand recycling information to their community (it takes 20 residents in a municipality to download the app to progress to Stage 2). 
  • In Stage 2, recycling pickup reminders and sorting information become available to everyone. At this stage, the objective is to reach critical mass so that your local government decides to get involved. Once 20 members have signed up, Recycle Coach will then contact local officials to let them know there is a need for this important information. 
  • In Stage 3, your local government has joined the movement, and all residents have access to collection schedules, the What Goes Where search tool, promotional materials, and more. 
  • In Stage 4, your local government or a community enabler sets up modern learning activities and experiences to raise recycling knowledge in the entire community. 
Earth Hero

The Earth Hero app allows users to respond to climate change by discovering positive steps that aid in planetary care. First, fill out a short survey to learn more about your personal carbon footprint. Then, set goals to reduce emissions, browse actionable ideas, track your progress with reminders and tools that measure your impact, and discover social actions that can multiply your effect. Refine your profile within the app to get a personalized view of possible actions to take. 

Good on You

If you’re looking to shop ethical fashion brands, then be sure to check out the Good on You app. Browse more than 3,000 brands that have been rated based on the brand’s impact on people, animals, and the planet. If the brand you’re considering doesn’t make the grade, find sustainable alternatives via the app (even some you may not have heard of before). Send a message to brands urging them to lessen their carbon footprint. Discover sustainability tips, guides, style edits, and exclusive offers all within the app.

Cares: Go Cruelty Free

With this app, check if a brand is cruelty-free (meaning no testing on animals). Bookmark preferred brands for easy access, see if brands are vegan friendly, search brands by category, and suggest brands to be added to the app. The app can be used without a network connection via an offline mode. In the future, the app developers hope to add barcode scanning and more product categories and details, so stay tuned.

Carbn

Measure your carbon footprint, learn new green habits, and challenge friends with the Carbon app. Simply answer a few questions about your lifestyle, and the app will estimate your carbon footprint. From there, start identifying areas for improvement through the app’s Ten Green Habits, by reducing your carbon footprint. Actionable projects allow you to offset unavoidable emissions so that you can become 100% carbon neutral. Earn GreenMiles for environmentally friendly habits and track your progress on the leaderboards versus friends and other participants in your area and worldwide. GreenMiles can be exchanged for awards from sustainable brands. 

Ecosia

The Ecosia app allows you to

search the web with private browsing, dark mode, and ad-blocking features. Like other search engines, the app makes money from search ads. However, Ecosia uses 100% of its profits for climate action (with at least 80% going to finance tree-planting projects around the globe, especially focusing on the world’s most threatened biodiversity hotspots). According to the company, one search equals 1kg of carbon dioxide removed from the atmosphere. Searches are always encrypted, and the app won’t create a personal profile of you or sell your data to advertisers. The company also has its own solar farm that powers all searches with renewable energy. Ecosia publishes monthly financial reports on its website, and the app owners signed an irreversible contract that makes it impossible to sell or take money out of the company.

EcoHero

The EcoHero app allows you to track your activities, while footprint summaries allow you to see how much carbon dioxide, land, and water you are saving. Your followers can see your tracked activities in the newsfeed (like if you bought a local product, made a vegan meal, or walked to work), and you can also share to social media. Weekly challenges, reward badges, and different account levels will help you stay motivated. You can also explore new eco activities in the app to learn more facts.

JouleBug

Discover sustainability tips within the JouleBug app, and while doing so, learn about each tip with easy-to-understand impact stats, bonuses, how-to videos, and helpful links. With EcoHero, follow friends and share activities in your feed — and share your actions to social media in a stylized frame. Earn achievements, get access to local challenges, track your impact, and fill your virtual trophy case with badges. 

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