Posted by Caroline Smith on November 12, 2010 01:00 PM
The iPhone can rescue almost anything from an untimely demise—a party, a night out, a relationship—and now, Steve Jobs’ baby is training its healing powers on saving the planet.
Thanks to a growing legion of green-minded techies, a veritable slew of apps have been cropping up in the Apple store, designed to satiate inner eco-warriors. Many apps aim to ease users’ lifestyle changes for the greener.
Mostly recently, Saatchi & Saatchi Sweden and Toyota partnered to create an app that helps drivers reduce their fuel consumption: the elegantly designed, simply-named “A glass of water.” Users place their iPhone on the dashboard of their car while driving, and a virtual glass of water reacts to aggressive acceleration and sudden breaking, measuring the water “spilled” by the movement. The goal is to reduce CO2 emissions through smoother, slower driving.
Another travel-centric app is Commute Greener, a carbon footprint-tracking tool created by Volvo. The app measures a user’s greenhouse gas emissions based on journeys taken that week, be it by car, bicycle or public transportation. The program sets “reduction targets” and adds a competitive aspect by allowing users to compare their performance with friends’.
For the committed consumer, behold the GoodGuide app, the mobile extension of a business founded by a professor of environmental and labor policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Using the iPhone’s camera to scan product barcodes, the app provides detailed ratings for health, environment and social responsibility for more that 50,000 household products and companies. Are you a green evangelist? Annoy your less committed contacts by sending them “personal recommendation” lists right from the app, based on your ever-increasing knowledge.
Once the products have been purchased and all used up, there exists an app to tell users how to dispose of them. Described as the “Yelp for the environment,” 3rd Whale Media’s FindGreen is a guidebook to all the sustainable resources in close proximity. Users can find not only recycling centers but organic restaurants and yoga studios.
These apps come as a welcome breath of fresh air, turning iPhones into accessories of good works rather than pizza-location devices. So whether you are an herbivore, locavore or simply idolize Michael Pollan, the iPhone is, now more than ever, a force for good.
Who says sustainability can’t be stylish?