Tune in to this episode of Green Divas Green Dudes—I discuss how to save the world using our cell phones and digital devices!
Can the time I spend on my smartphone also make the world a greener place?
I’ve mulled over this question for a few years now, starting by observing my students at Stanford and my own habits, and leading to the creation of Oroeco, an app that makes fighting climate change easy and rewarding.
This deep dive into the world of sustainability tech has been fun and fascinating, and it also means I often have friends asking me which apps can help them align planetary beliefs with everyday behavior. I’m of course partial to Oroeco, but there are other great groovy green options to satiate anyone’s sustainability app-itite.
Here are a few of my favorites:
Ever find yourself in a conversation with a climate change denier who attempts to back his arguments up with sciency-sounding factoids? Skeptical Science puts the power of hundreds of on-demand climate scientists in your pocket to win over any climate denier arguments with the facts that matter.
Do you get overwhelmed by the overabundance of sustainability claims when you go to the store? Founded by a UC Berkeley professor, GoodGuide helps you cut through the greenwashing to sort out which products are actually better than their peers based on environmental, social, and health sustainability scores. And stay-tuned for Virtue.Us, which is also poised to do great things in the brand sustainability space.
Think you deserve to be rewarded for making sustainability decisions? PIPs does too, and they’ve created the system to do it. PIPs, which stands for Positive Impact Points, is like a credit card rewards points system for buying more sustainable products and services. You can cash in your PIPs for more green goodies, or donate them to great causes.
Of course, the most sustainable stuff to buy is the stuff that someone else is looking to give away, since buying vintage (aka used) forgoes all the planetary pollution that goes with making new things. Yerdle takes Goodwill shopping to the 21st century by directly connecting a community of re-users who earn points for turning their trash into their neighbor’s treasures.
If you want to give voice to voting with your wallet, then BuyCott is for you. The app lets you scan products you’re considering buying to check if activists are waging corporate sustainability campaigns. Then you can decide to join the calls for action to let companies know that you take supply chain sustainability seriously.
Want to turn every aspect of your life into a giant sustainability game? JouleBug gives you tips and badges of accomplishment as you discover how to greenify your existence along with your friends.
Of course you recycle, but do you earn points, prizes, and rewards at the same time? If not, then you’re not yet using Recyclebank, which works with municipal waste management companies to encourage you to recycle. Opower and WattzOn do similar things for your home energy use, and WaterSmart is working with you and your city for a water wiser world. OhmConnect even pays you cash for saving energy during peak demand periods.
Want to invest your money in making the world a sunnier place? SunFunder makes it easy to fund community solar projects that are lighting up communities around the world, while supporting amazing solar startups like Fenix International, Angaza, and Qorax. If you’d rather invest in solar closer to home, then check out Mosaic, SolarCity, and Sungevity. While you’re at it, you should also sign the Divest-Invest fossil fuel divestment pledge, to join millions around the world who are shifting their investments out of dirty energy and into a cleaner future.
So go forth and save the world with your smartphone! And if the app you really want doesn’t yet exist, perhaps it’s just waiting for you to invent it…
Watch my TEDx Talk for more information on green apps and saving the world with your smart phone!
Ian Monroe teaches courses on climate change and sustainability at Stanford University, and is the founder of Oroeco, an app that turns solving climate change into a fun and rewarding social game. Ian also advises the UNESCO Netexplo Observatory, which tracks how digital technology is changing society. Ian has been named one of the world’s top 8 leaders in cleantech by Tech Republic, and Oroeco has been named the best app to make your life more environmentally friendly by Mashable. Ian is passionate about combining cleantech with information technology to empower solutions to climate change, drawing from his research at Stanford and his experiences working on sustainable technology adoption in 24 countries around the world. Check out his Twitter, and Oroeco’s Website and Facebook for more information!