ByÂ Aditi Thakker:
With the Indian population becoming increasingly aware of the need for environment protection and the effects of climate change, here are five apps that could help you go green! These apps are being used on a large scale in the United States and Europe. Getting an India specific version of these apps could assist the tech-savvy population of our country in keeping a check on their carbon footprint and adopting greener behaviour.
Climate Counts: Most of us have favourite brands for things we use on a daily basis, be it shampoo, cheese or even gas stations. Climate Counts ranks brands on a scale of 0-100, based on the impact they have on climate change. They cover a wide range of companies, from airlines to electronics, and banks to fast food chains. They rate companies as Stuck (poor performance), Starting (beginners) Striding (intermediate) and Soaring (pioneers) depending on their responsiveness and efforts to reduce their climate impact. This app is useful in letting customers know how environmentally responsible their favourite brand is.
GoodGuide: This app is built on a similar principle to that of Climate Counts, except it gives you information about each product rather than a brand on the whole. On scanning the bar code on a product, Good Guide will tell you its rating based on its impact on health, environment and society. Since this app works on the basis of scanning the barcode, it is able to give more precise information about the product, since different sizes and shapes of the same product could have varying impacts, like the same quantity of ketchup in a plastic bottle and a glass bottle.
iRecycle: iRecycle tells you the best way to recycle things that you no longer need. With over 200 products on their list, they include food items, electronic waste, glass and similar materials as also industrial waste. The app asks for access to your location, and accordingly suggests names of waste disposal companies, or government facilities in your vicinity to responsibly dispose or recycle the waste.
Green Gas Saver: This app is mainly for people owning a vehicle and driving on a daily basis. The app uses the phone’s accelerometer and calculates the efficiency of your driving. The app warns you when you are accelerating aggressively, taking sudden brakes or taking turns rashly. The app gives you a score for each driving performance, which you are encouraged to improve every time. The aim of the app it to improve your performance as a driver such that you can also save fuel costs, and thus reduce the climate impact of your driving. Since it uses the GPS constantly to monitor your driving, it could result in frequent battery drain. Also, given the traffic and road sense in India, the app would need to be tweaked a bit to suite the Indian driver.
Commute Greener: This app calculates your Greenhouse Gas emissions based on the all the journeys you undertake during a week on foot, on bicycle, by car, by public transports, and by flights. After calculating your weekly Greenhouse Gas emissions, the app encourages you to set targets for the following week, and suggest a combination of modes of travel to meet your goal. The fact that you can compete with other app users around the world is an incentive to many, giving it the feel of a real game.
These apps have the potential to influence the way we shop, commute and discard things. If apps like Climate Count and GoodGuide could include Indian brands and products, these apps may well result in a change of preference in shopping. With a huge population of Indian smartphone users glued to gaming and other such apps, introducing relevant Green Apps could help promote a better and environmentally sustainable living. A little bit of responsibility with fun always goes well!