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April 19, 2018

The world has an environmental problem. We know it needs to change. But it feels like unless you have a PhD or are willing to give up everything and live in a cave, all hope is lost. So how are we going to do it?
With an app of course!

There are a number of apps that can help us improve our environmental footprint by helping us with education on products and alternatives. We have listed some that we think can help you in the real world.

 

Seafood Watch

This app is a fantastic app to find information about the fish you are about to purchase. Questions such as; Is it wild or farmed? What method of fishing do they use to catch the fish? What different names does it have? Is it endangered and should we avoid it?

This is a US-baseGreen Apps - Seafood Watchd app, so, unfortunately, finding information on locally based seafood suppliers might be limited and your city may not have information on the suppliers or restaurant. But your local seafood seller can join Seafood Watch if they would like. It could be one of your biggest contributions to the environment by asking your local seafood seller to join this app.

There are also thousands of species of fish in the world and overfishing is already a major concern. This app allows you to select different species of fish and feeds you information about them. We choose ‘Tuna’ to see what came up.

Right from the start, you get a true understanding of how many species of Tuna there are. I selected the first Tuna on the list 'Albacore' as its one of the main species used in canned tuna. From the list, you can see the different regions around the world that catch it and their methods. There are a number of areas catching sustainably and a lot that are using outdated methods which are not sustainable and will cause damage to the species. This app will arm you with the knowledge to ask your supplier or restaurant about the fish you are about to buy.

Conclusion for this app. It’s a fantastic educational tool and if you want to help make a difference, encourage your local fish supplier to become a partner.


Think Dirty

The name we suspect is to get attention. This app helps bring to your attention what is really in your skin care and cosmetics. You might save yourself from putting potentially toxic ingredients on your skin.

Are the big multinationals simply rebranding to be 'Natural & Ecological' at your Think Dirty Appexpense or could that brand you never heard of be the real deal at a fraction of the price? Think Dirty helps you find out.

You simply scan the product barcode and Think Dirty will supply you with easy to understand information about the product. It will give you it’s ingredients and let you know about potentially cleaner alternative products.

It also has an option to add new products to their database. So if the product is not in their database, you can help change that.

This app is a great educational tool but it is clearly set up to become a reseller. It has the option to purchase all its recommended options. This is either, depending on your opinion, a potential corporate sell out or a fact of life. Apps like this need to make money to do what they do. The most important attribute of the app is to make sure a product is as good as it says it is and to let you know what’s really going on.


My Little Plastic Footprint

We create lots of plastic waste and unfortunately, a lot ends up in the ocean. Plastic never really breaks down, it simply breaks up. Breaking up into small fragments, this plastic debris has become a soup of microplastics or 'The Plastic Soup'.

My Little Plastic FootprintThe Plastic Soup in our ocean is growing, mainly because of litter from land. We are all responsible for this, from consumers, corporates and governments. The plastic litter consists mainly of single-use packaging materials. Of all the plastic we use every day, we throw 50% away within 20 minutes. 

My Little Plastic Footprint is an amazing tool to help consumers reduce their personal plastic footprint. With this app you will be able to learn about the plastic soup, reduce your own plastic Footprint and inspire and get inspired by famous personalities and other people who fight the same battle.

This App makes it fun to learn the facts about plastic soup, and how to reduce it. Including an interactive quiz, and a Plastic Footprint calculator, this App shows you how to adopt healthy habits regarding plastic consumption, and lets you spread awareness among your friends.

This app is designed in the Netherlands.


Oroeco

Oroeco enables you to track and reduce your impact on the environment. You can see how the choices you make in each area of your life, from how you live, what you eat, what modes of transpoOroecortation you choose, and where you shop all connect to climate change. You can automatically track the climate impacts of how you spend your money on what Oroeco claims is “the world’s most powerful carbon footprint calculator.”

The app helps you save money and the planet with customized actions on how you can improve the carbon footprint of each area of your life. It allows you to set up competitions with your friends, family and neighbours to earn badges within the app.

We did find this app very technical and you need to spend quite a bit of time looking into your power bills, gas bills, travel distances, spending habits etc. It may feel too invasive to share this information. But it could also potentially save you a lot of money by seeing where you are wasting resources and as importantly it will help reduce your environmental footprint.

 

Ethical Barcode

Food companies are forever proclaiming how ‘environmentally friendly’ they are butEthical Barcode how much of it is true, and how much of it is hype taking advantage of your willingness to do good?  

With Ethical Barcode, the facts are laid out black and white. The app allows consumers to check all manner of ethical considerations that go into food production, from animal rights to sustainability, simply by reading the barcode of products.

Ethical barcode uses data gathered from 20 different Non-Profits and hundreds of other external sources, the app gives each product an overall score out of 100. It also gives a breakdown of further relevant rating detailed information about the ethical, social and environmental foresight.

The mission is to convert everyone to ethical consumerism in a heartbeat by making it simple and understandable. By providing information that the public doesn’t have access to, Ethical Barcode gives power to the everyday consumer to boycott companies that don’t live up to their claims or simply mislead. It’s all very well talking about our carbon footprint, but how many of us know what your flight costs in carbon? Or, as important, what impact that journey makes?

Ethical Barcode is designed for the American Market. The concept is very good and we should encourage or ask how we help them have more impact globally.

 

  If we chose to work with these apps, each of us are not acting as individuals but as collective groups which have the ability to heavily influence the direction of companies and even local government.

 

It should be understood we have looked at only a handful of ‘Green Apps’ available from the apps stores. Like everything, some are great and some not great and are a waste of time. If you take a look at the apps we have suggested and have more to add, then actively share them on social media to encourage the take-up of good apps.

Doing research on the different apps helped us realise there are a lot of people with very good initiatives for the environment.  If we chose to work with these apps, each of us are not acting as individuals but as collective groups which have the ability to heavily influence the direction of companies and even local government.

Unfortunately, a lot of these apps seem to be only based in the USA. We don’t believe that is due to the App Designers not wanting to focus on the rest of the world but simply a resource allocation and financial restraint. Many of these Apps are started fantastic big ideas but small budgets and only one or two people behind them. Other countries either need to step up to the challenge or start a dialogue with these app designers to try and join there program and help them expand.




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