With almost everything at our fingertips—from shopping, banking to food deliveries and payment of utility bills—you can’t really blame people, both young and old, for spending too much time on their mobile phones.
Though we try our best to limit our daily interactions with our mobile device for our health’s sake, let’s put our excessive screen time to good use while we are at it by being champions of the environment.
Yes, there are several apps out there that allow you to help save the Earth and fight climate change wherever you are with just a few taps on your phone. If we can’t do a Greta Thunberg in real life, we can do our part virtually but still have real positive effects on the environment.
We’ve listed five apps that help us help save the planet.
1. Ecosia (free)
It’s like “Googling” with a cause or the greener counterpart of Google or Yahoo. Ecosia is a search engine that allows you to plant trees with every search you make on the Internet. It uses 80% of its ad revenue to finance tree-planting programs in biodiversity hotspots across the world. So far, millions of trees have already been planted by the Ecosia community in Ethiopia, Brazil, Indonesia and Spain, among other critical areas.
2. GCash Forest (free)
This is a special feature of the Philippines’ leading mobile wallet app GCash that allows users to help the country increase its forest cover by growing virtual trees that will have real-life counterparts at the Ipo Watershed, a critical source of Metro Manila’s water supply. It works like a personal carbon tracker, keeping tabs of how much emission users have avoided by choosing greener activities such as walking, doing cashless transactions, and bringing own bags and utensils in partner cafes. These actions or activities have corresponding “green energy” points that feed the virtual tree.
3. Oroeco (free)
It’s an app that helps you track your carbon footprint by showing you how your everyday actions and decisions impact the climate like the food you eat, your home’s energy consumption, your spending habits and transportation decisions, among others. The app also gives tips on how to lower your carbon footprint and save money at the same time.
4. JouleBug (free)
It’s a wellness app that helps you make your daily habits at home, work and play more sustainable through friendly competition and online sharing. It’s also a cloud platform that reinforces and rewards sustainable behavior and climate-smart choices like carpooling, recycling and composting. JouleBug hosts challenges or contests to see who is the most sustainable and eventually move users towards behavior change.
5. Forest (P99 in Apple Store, free in Google play with optional in-app purchases)
If you want to beat your phone addiction at the same time help the environment, then this is the app for you. Forest is a productivity app that lets you grow a tree virtually and in reality through the credits you’ll earn from staying away from your phone. This is how it works: you plant a seed in your mobile phone by choosing which tree you want to grow (this has a corresponding time you should spend not using your phone). The seed will grow to become a tree as long as your screen stays off. But if you unlock the screen of your mobile phone ahead of time, the growing plant will wither. This app helps you regain your focus on the present and on what’s more important in your life.
With these apps, it’s easy to develop the habit of living a more eco-conscious lifestyle. Tapping on your phone may not seem like much but imagine millions of people becoming more aware of their carbon footprint and their impact on the environment. Little, mindful choices can create ripples, and ripples can create waves of change.