In the early 2000s, online carbon footprint calculators allowed you to enter details about your home and transportation, and voila! Your carbon footprint was revealed, with simple steps you could take to reduce it. We’ve come a long way with new sustainable technologies to help us reduce our impact on the planet. Do a search online today for carbon footprint calculator and you’ll see endless options, even from sources like Microsoft and IBM. It goes to show how much we’ve learned and been able to measure about a person’s impact on a global issue.
While calculating your current carbon footprint is a good first step, there is a lot more you can do. And no matter what action you feel inclined to take, there’s a sustainable technology solution to help you make it happen.
Top 5 tech solutions for sustainability
Here’s our list of top-rated apps (all available for iOS or Android) and other sustainable technologies, ranked by their correlation to the top actions any individual can take to fight climate change.
Conserve energy and go electric
Not surprisingly, conserving and curbing our energy use is the single biggest thing any of us can do to reduce emissions. Remember that the coal, oil, and gas companies only supply what we demand. You can start with tracking electricity use with an energy cost calculator app. There are many of these available in the app stores. To find information and tips specific to your household, consider installing a smart thermostat or other smart home system. Some smart home systems, like Google Nest, also provide detailed energy use monitoring and conservation tips.
If you want to take a broader look at the energy use in your whole life, not just your home, the MyEarth app is the way to go. It tracks your energy usage and savings across a number of categories. You can choose activities to perform, check your progress, and track your total impact.
Eat less meat and reduce food waste
What we eat really matters, and the combined result of reducing meat consumption and food waste could have a huge impact on greenhouse gas emissions. There are several apps out there to help you eat less meat, from meat trackers to menu planners. There’s also the Too Good To Go app, which connects you with restaurants that provide “surprise bags” of food that would otherwise be thrown away. What a fun way to enjoy new things while reducing emissions!
To give your groceries a local lift, potentially reducing emissions from food transportation, try online farmer’s markets.
Whether you’re running errands around town, commuting for work, or traveling thousands of miles, transportation is a major emissions culprit. Google Maps continues to improve navigation and time estimates for different modes of travel, including walking, biking, and local transit options. If you’re in the car, they also now have a fuel efficiency routing option.
The top water use category is watering lawns and residential landscapes. Fortunately, now you can have a smart yard and garden along with your smart home. With a number of sustainable gardening systems on the market, you can use your phone or tablet to keep tabs on your yard and water exactly when needed.
Whether you have a small indoor garden or want to enhance a big outdoor vegetable patch, smart gardening tools can help you increase your production yields without all the hard work.
Buy smart, buy less
The OLIO app connects millions of people all over the world get free stuff, borrow things, and shop homemade directly from your neighbors. OLIO believes that, by saving items rather than throwing them away, we can build a more sustainable future—all while connecting with the community.
Your local thrift store is always a great place to find used items in great condition. And your purchase usually supports a local charity. Buying or donating gently used items from Goodwill or Salvation Army is a great way to give back to the community and live a more sustainable life.
Building a sustainable future
Building a more sustainable future doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. Simple actions, such as Meatless Mondays and monitoring your water and electric usage, are a step in the right direction. And if you’re a small business owner wondering how you can lend a hand, check out CenturyLink’s guide for sustainable business practices.
What are you doing to build a more sustainable future and fight climate change? Leave us a comment below.