Apps that Give to the Planet

posted by TAG Guest Blogger

October 10, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

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'This is Green' app for iPhone

Last week we talked about smart apps that create social good and help us teach our kids about the importance of giving. Apps that teach us about and improve the environment are also in the boundless application terrain. Whether you’re driving, shopping or playing a game, these three iPhone apps support you and your family in making a necessary difference for our planet.

A Glass of Water

How it works: Created by Toyota, the ecodriving app prompts users to do one simple task: drive as though a glass of water is on your dashboard.  (Remember the 1988 movie License to Drive? Channel your inner Corey Haim during the driver license scene … only you don’t have to worry about spilling coffee on the mean instructor.)

The idea is that driving with a glass of water on the dashboard, which would behoove us to drive more calmly, can lower your fuel consumption by 10%. Place your iPhone somewhere in your car like the dashboard, the passenger seat or a cup holder. Turn the app on, and it provides feedback on your driving as you go. A Glass of Water maps your route and tracks your distance, driving time, average speed, idle time and “water spill” in centiliters.

Why it’s great: This may have you nervous about the idea of watching a virtual glass of water splash and spill while you (or worse, your kids) are driving your car. Don’t worry! The app runs while you drive and watch the road—you can analyze your results once the car is safely parked.

Bonus: A Glass of Water also has a website,, where you can access more detailed results about your driving.

This Is Green

How it works: This Is Green provides doable, important solutions that benefit our health, our planet and our wallets. If you’re wondering what kind of light bulb, toiletries or toys to buy, this app helps you make the right choice. The app also provides hazard lists that tell you what ingredients and products to avoid.

Why it’s great: The app has an interactive map feature of a house in which you can zoom around appliances in all parts of the home. Upon tapping an item, facts about smart consumer behavior are provided. You’ll have access to tips like, “Planting deciduous trees on the east and west sides of your home significantly cools your home and can save you up to 20% on your electricity bill.”

Bonus: Check out This Is Green’s user community where you can read comments and suggestions by other users, or submit your own. Posts are divided into categories and range from topics like “I saved more than $230” to posts about gadgets like a power conditioner.

Pet Earth

How it works: The planet becomes your pet in this interactive iPhone game. Play mini games to fix disasters, and answer geography trivia to find polluters. Monitor the health levels of the young seedlings you’ve planted across the globe on a scale of red to green.

Why it’s great: For each game bought (it’s $2.99), GoPlanit will donate a portion of the retail price and advertising revenue to help plant trees around the world. While your contribution is a great reason to play the game, the care and understanding for the planet that your kids will learn as they dig holes and shake away volcanoes is a better one.

Hannah Lathan, a USC Honors College senior, is the marketing and communications intern at Central Carolina Community Foundation. She also serves as the articles editor for USC’s Garnet & Black Magazine. Hannah has studied writing, public relations and marketing in both Columbia and Rome and has worked in these fields in Columbia, New York City and Wyoming. Follow her on Twitter @hanestute.


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