BY JESSICA COLAROSSI
For the first time since 2008, the number of Americans concerned about climate change is at an all-time high. A new Gallup poll found that 64 percent of adults admit they are worried about global warming, which is up from 55 percent at this time in 2015, and concern has increased across political parties.
If you’re committed to reducing your eco-footprint and living a greener life, here are six free apps to help you.
In 2013, the transportation sector alone represented about 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions— the harmful, climate-warming pollutants that contribute heavily to climate change. Carma Carpooling lets people find nearby users to share their daily drive, reducing traffic and emissions. The app’s site says that rides cost about 20 cents per mile, paid to the driver, making it a fairly cheap option for commuters. And who knows, maybe you can make some friends along the way.
Uber’s app, for example, also has a ride “pool” feature so users can split the fare and share a ride.
For the environmentally conscious jet-setter, Carbon Emissions Calculator lets passengers estimate the emissions attributed to their air travel. Users select their origin and destination airports, specify the class of travel and number of the passengers, and view the carbon footprint and distance traveled of the specified trip. Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global emissions and is among the fastest-growing sources of global greenhouse gas emissions. As air travel becomes increasingly affordable, travelers should become more aware and seek possible alternative routes.
With the Goodguide app, users can instantly find safe, healthy and socially responsible consumer products. For over 210,000 food, toy, personal care and household products, users can take a photo of its barcode and see information based on scientific research and ratings. Since the app was developed in 2007 by a professor of environmental and labor policy at University of California at Berkeley, it has about 50,000 downloads. Other similar consumer-conscious apps include “orangutan-friendly” Sustainable Palm Oil Shopping and Ethical Barcode, both available on IOS and Android devices.
iRecycle allows users in the United States to find convenient recycling opportunities on the go, providing access to more than 1,600,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials. The EPA estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream can be recycled, but only about 30 percent of it actually is. The app currently has over 10,000 downloads, available both on IOS and Android devices, and connects to users’ other social networks to share their commitment to recycling.
Dropcountr helps users conserve water by connecting to their water utility company via smartphone. Water companies can send customized drought and water budget messages, notify users of leaks, and compare water consumption to other users in the area. On average, 10 gallons per day of a consumer’s water footprint is lost just to leaks. As the world’s climate shift is perpetuating long-term droughts and increasing the intensity of dry spells and storms, every drop counts.
Calling itself “the world’s best carbon footprint calculator,” Oroeco tracks what you buy, consume and do, crunches the data collected, and (with the help of many scientists and environmental experts) shows the environmental impacts of your decisions. Scary, right? Every decision we make as consumers can have an effect on the world around us. The app also shows how you measure up against other participants, and offers rewards and prizes to people who encourage their growing climate community to expand.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Colarossi is working on her B.A. in journalism and minoring in publishing at Emerson College. She previously interned at ThinkProgress and has written for campus publications covering music, health, sustainability and local news. Jessica is originally from Lindenhurst, New York. Follow her @heyitsjessc.
Photograph by Jessica Colarossi