Worried about all the catastrophic headlines about the latest developments on climate change? Sadly, this time it’s not sensationalism.
Just to give a bit of background on the current climate situation, warning: it’s not pleasant. Scientists released a report warning the world population of irreversible consequences should global temperatures surpass the 1.5C increase threshold. But, the rise in temperatures could actually still be reversed if we, together, act within twelve years. If not, our world could change for the worse, and the life we imagine for our children and grandchildren could look much different. These facts are shocking enough to get us thinking, and get us wanting to act, and hopefully they can spark a feeling within you to act as well.
What does all this mean?
Apparently, the worst of climate change is coming sooner than we expected. Since the beginning of industrialisation, the world average temperatures have increased by 1C, total. Not that much, right? Au contraire. This has disastrous consequences on both ecosystems and human settlements, shaping a whole different future than we had in mind.
Time for action
Just a few years ago, the possibility of a serious threat to life on the planet seemed like a distant scenario. Now scientists have lost all patience and are determined to make governments and individuals alike pay attention.
We know, it’s hard to set aside the time to actively do something to reduce our impact on the environment, especially with all the other stuff we have going on day-to-day. Besides, something for many people (still) intangible like climate change, might not seem exactly a priority. Not like working, hitting the gym, or picking up the kids from school.
In reality, though, climate change has to become a priority. It affects everyone, but you don’t have to board an expedition to the Arctic to contribute. With a little help from technology (shocking? ironic?), there are easy, concrete ways to help tackle climate change even as a busy mum, dad, guardian, or worker.
What can I do?
Good news — there’s an app these days for everything. Have at least one photo sharing app? Maybe one for meditation, maybe a couple for your lazy Sunday night takeaway dinner? But, have you ever thought about downloading an app that tracks your impact on the planet? Here are some of our favourite apps just for creating more environmentally friendly habits:
Track your impact
JouleBug is a fun way to discover how you can use resources and form sustainable habits. It works like a game: you earn points for achievements like “Carpooling” or “Remembering your reusable cup”.
You can also link your utility account to the app and check how much you saved on your monthly bills. The app updates you on your CO2 and waste water savings, and on how much rubbish you produced and recycled. You can also challenge your friends to get even more excited about saving the planet!
Plant more trees
The way these search engines work is simple. All their profits from advertising are used to plant trees in areas that have been deforested. You might ask: “What does this have to do with climate change?”
Trees actually play an essential part in the wellbeing of our planet by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen. They basically work opposite of how we work, cleaning up our waste as they go. That means that more trees mean less carbon dioxide, one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect causing global warming. In the simplest of terms, more trees may mean more years for our Earth.
For every 45 web searches Ecosia plants one tree. Just think Google processes over 3.5 billion searches a day, imagine how many trees could be planted if everyone used green search engines!
With cars being some of the world’s worst pollutants, our bodies aren’t the only thing that could benefit from walking or cycling to work or school.
If you’ve already ditched the car for two wheels or two feet, you can start saving the Earth with each step. This app, developed and launched by Greener Scotland in 2013, will let you record your trips by bicycle or foot, alerting you when you should get going to make sure you arrive to your destination in time. Not only does this app encourage you to walk or cycle to improve your physical and mental health, but it will encourage you to decrease your carbon footprint while keeping fast and efficient.
- Available: free app on App Store
Very similar to Journeys, this app tells you how much CO2 you are sparing the planet by walking, cycling or taking public transport. You can even compare the CO2 output of different transport methods, so you can choose the best choice for you and the environment with ease.
You can also add “healthy activities” you are doing for yourself, like eating your 5-a-day of fruit and vegetables, avoiding smoke or drinking 1.5 litres of water. Who knew our health and the Earth’s health were so intertwined? This app will keep you educated, healthy, and motivated to reduce your footprint earning vouchers along the way.
Finally, an app for the shopping addict. While your wallet might be suffering, you can now shop without feeling guilty about consuming precious resources through fast fashion.
You may not know, but many fast fashion brands, like H&M and Primark, still employ polluting methods of production and transportation, in addition to often exploiting workers in developing countries. There are better, cleaner, and more humane ways to shop.
Good On You enables you to shop ethically. For every brand, in fact, it lets you check the impact they have on people and the environment. Better still, you can provide brands with feedback on their level of sustainability, helping everyone to improve along the way.
The app memorises your styles and values to show you options that are right for you and help you discover more ethical brands. Personalised and environmentally friendly? Sign me up.
Share your effort and influence others
When it comes to climate change, it is important to set the example for other people to follow. It is all too easy to dismiss the issue as “scaremongering”. Surely, if we show our achievements, more people will be willing to join in this kind of activities. Fighting climate change, after all, is a collective effort.
One way to positively influence others can be using social media in a constructive way, for instance, posting our progress or suggesting a particular activity or tool. Sharing what you’ve done to help the environment on safe social networks may just inspire those near and far to do the same.
The goal would be to turn these actions into habits, so that we learn more sustainable ways to inhabit the planet and finally become able to take good care of it.