Green Apps – Greenwashing or answer to the Zeitgeist?


(Pic: the GoodGuide App)

(Pic: the GoodGuide App)

There are uncountable apps out there in the world and many of them have the ambition of being somehow “green”. Most of these are classical lifestyle-apps which give you a certain information which you could have found on the internet as well. (But it is sooo cool to have an app for it, right?) I will not be able to select, (buy,) check and evaluate a great range of these apps for I try to keep my iPhone clean of too many apps (and I am not paid for this kind of exercise). Thus, I am giving an overview over some websites that show and comment “eco apps”. I hope this can be a start for you to discover this field for yourself. My rating is an indication of how helpful, interesting and critical I found the pages myself.

The Eco-Market
My experience: Shows some apps, not all still available and their pros and cons. Only one of these apps worked on my phone (shopGreen) and its slow processing is likely to generate more emissions indirectly through battery-use than is mitigated!
My rating: D
My experience: Overview of small Apps, ranging from games to houselhold-managers. If you are bored and green, check it out. If you are really bored, go out and do some real-world action against climate change!
My rating: C-
My experience: Another overview. Some of the shown apps seem interesting, but the advise to use eBooks instead of ordinary books should have been thought through. Think about the battery!
My rating: C+
Mother Jones
My experience: Another overview – 10 for free apps are shortly described. Some show the pollution in your city, others give advice on recycling. These apps are more for the purpose of awareness-raising/playing-around. And I now see it clearly, that most of the “green” apps are made for the US-market. Take “Walk Score” for example: it shows you how far it is to walk to the next burger place (and many other places in your town). Thus, it makes people who take the car to visit their next-door neighbors think twice about getting the SUV out of the garage. Nice one, but not my style! However, I liked this one here:

“Instapaper Free: It’s not marketed as an eco-app, but Instapaper is an easy way to cut down on printing out articles that you read once and then throw away. Sign up for a free account and you can convert any story in your web browser into an „instapaper“ that will be downloaded to your iPhone for later reading. What’s more important, a tree or your eyesight?”

My rating: B+
Rise Dream
My experience: Another site with random apps. However, I am now made aware of the fact that there is something called “Green Sushi Guide”. For somebody who is loving sushi and (still) considers him-/herself green, this is a great tool to check the endangerment of the stuff on your plate!
Rating: B-
My experience: Lists 10 apps which are all useful to somebody who wants to live more green and needs help in doing so.
Rating: B
The Guardian
My experience: The good old Guardian had ist own overview over their Top Ten green apps. And what can I say? It seems as if, again, somebody just randomly picked some apps out of the store. The only really good one they mention is called “Skeptical Science” and offers an overview over most counter-arguments for a nice debate with stupid climate skeptics.
Rating: C
My experience: This is an official Apple Blog, so I hoped to find good advice here. I didn’t. But at least I found an author who was honest enough to wrote (on a GreenTips App): “Email them off if you find them to be especially helpful — I didn’t.”
Rating: B-
My experience: This was a hopeful! The Treehuggers are running a real LOHAS-website and I expected a lot of coverage on these noble (but helpful?) gadgets – and found it. By far the longest list of potential world-saving apps. If I had as much money as the middle-class Ecos, I would have tried some more.
Rating: B+
Apps with Potential:
CARTICIPATE: Let’s you offer a lift to a certain town or search for lifts other offer, could one day become a competition to existing online-spaces doing this.
The Recycle Guide: Shows you what of your trash can be recycled and where places in your neighborhood are. Potential to do good!
GoodGuide: Tries to become the prime source of information on any product and its environmental footprint. Could bring a lot of fun (and knowledge) to the shoppers who has time (and a smartphone). Right now, only a faction of available (US-)products is included.
Green Charging: Alarms you once the iPhone is fully charged, because after this point, the device is still sucking energy without saving it to its battery. Should be build-in in all future smartphones!

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