8 Apps to Save the Earth

Can the time I spend on my smartphone also make the world a greener place?

I’ve mulled over this question for a few years now, starting by observing my students at Stanford and my own habits, and leading to the creation of Oroeco, an app that makes fighting climate change easy and rewarding.

This deep dive into the world of sustainability tech has been fun and fascinating, and it also means I often have friends asking me which apps can help them align planetary beliefs with everyday behavior. I’m of course partial to Oroeco, but there are other great groovy green options to satiate anyone’s sustainability app-itite.

Listen to this episode of Green Divas Green Dudes—I discuss how to save the world using our cell phones and digital devices! Then read on for more details….

Here are a few of my favorites:

Skeptical Science—Ever find yourself in a conversation with a climate change denier who attempts to back his arguments up with sciency-sounding factoids? Skeptical Science puts the power of hundreds of on-demand climate scientists in your pocket to win over any climate denier arguments with the facts that matter.

GoodGuide—Do you get overwhelmed by the overabundance of sustainability claims when you go to the store? Founded by a UC Berkeley professor, GoodGuide helps you cut through the greenwashing to sort out which products are actually better than their peers based on environmental, social and health sustainability scores. And stay-tuned for Virtue.Us, which is also poised to do great things in the brand sustainability space.

PIPs Rewards—Think you deserve to be rewarded for making sustainability decisions? PIPs does too, and they’ve created the system to do it. PIPs, which stands for Positive Impact Points, is like a credit card rewards points system for buying more sustainable products and services. You can cash in your PIPs for more green goodies, or donate them to great causes.

Yerdle—Of course, the most sustainable stuff to buy is the stuff that someone else is looking to give away, since buying vintage (aka used) forgoes all the planetary pollution that goes with making new things. Yerdle takes Goodwill shopping to the 21st century by directly connecting a community of re-users who earn points for turning their trash into their neighbor’s treasures.

BuyCott—If you want to give voice to voting with your wallet, then BuyCott is for you. The app lets you scan products you’re considering buying to check if activists are waging corporate sustainability campaigns. Then you can decide to join the calls for action to let companies know that you take supply chain sustainability seriously.

JouleBug—Want to turn every aspect of your life into a giant sustainability game? JouleBug gives you tips and badges of accomplishment as you discover how to greenify your existence along with your friends.

Recyclebank—Of course you recycle, but do you earn points, prizes and rewards at the same time? If not, then you’re not yet using Recyclebank, which works with municipal waste management companies to encourage you to recycle. Opower and WattzOn do similar things for your home energy use, and WaterSmart is working with you and your city for a water wiser worldOhmConnect even pays you cash for saving energy during peak demand periods.

SunFunder—Want to invest your money in making the world a sunnier place? SunFunder makes it easy to fund community solar projects that are lighting up communities around the world, while supporting amazing solar startups like Fenix InternationalAngaza and Qorax. If you’d rather invest in solar closer to home, then check out MosaicSolarCity and Sungevity. While you’re at it, you should also sign the Divest-Invest fossil fuel divestment pledge, to join millions around the world who are shifting their investments out of dirty energy and into a cleaner future.

So go forth and save the world with your smartphone! And if the app you really want doesn’t yet exist, perhaps it’s just waiting for you to invent it…


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Catch the latest Green Divas Radio Show—and other green and healthy living podcasts—daily on GDGDRadio.com (or get the GDGD Radio app)! Green, free radio.

Written by Ian Monroe | Image via Shutterstock.com


Vijaya L
Vijaya L2 years ago

Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe that this amazing site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be returning to read more, thanks for the information! Recently I shared an article on the same issue Download iAndroid For iOS which allow people to save the earth.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen3 years ago

Thank you

Ricky T.
Ricky T3 years ago


Magdalena C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

Amanda M.
Amanda M3 years ago

Fine and dandy, but I'm using a 10-year-old Katana flip phone that I see no need to replace as long as I can still make/receive calls and texts on it. When it finally breaks down for good, I'm just gonna replace it with another flip phone. They're less expensive than the smart phones, and a lot more durable! For computer-related stuff, there's the desktop in the dining room. Contrary to the majority in this country today, I don't see a reason or a need to be constantly plugged in (besides, I'm too busy with other things like housework, fire calls, etc.).

Julia Oleynik
Julia Oleynik3 years ago

Thank You for sharing:)

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer3 years ago

I don't use apps. Haven't an I phone.

Amy C.
Amy C3 years ago


Natasha Salgado
Past Member 3 years ago

Honestly tho these sound good--i'm all but done with pretty much all apps---actually thinking of deleting all my apps but maybe 4 which i actually use. Really miss the old style simple phones. thanks