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5 Mobile Apps Which Encourage Social Responsibility

Posted by nik on June 27, 2013

Let’s face it, folks. It’s not easy to be socially conscious. Why else would we be seeing the rise of slacktivism? People like to feel like they’re making a difference without having to put in the effort that comes with it. It’s not terribly difficult to see why, either. Social responsibility isn’t exactly easy.

We’re living in an age of instant gratification and informational excess. We’re hit with a positively overwhelming degree of stimulation on a daily basis, and the reality of having the digital world directly at our fingertips has trained an entire generation to expect that everything be delivered to them without delay. In a sense, technology is ruining our social conscience.

It doesn’t have to, though. That sea of information can be used to great effect if one knows how to leverage it properly. Accessing it isn’t a problem either, with how many smartphones and tablets are now floating around the market. The key lies in working out what one needs to do. As is often the case, there’s an app for that.

Several, in fact. Today, we’ll be taking a look at a few smartphone apps designed for the socially-conscious, environmentally-minded consumer.

iRecycle

iRecycle on Android

The amount of waste produced by the average American household on a yearly basis is positively abhorrent. As such, one of the first things you’ll want to do as a responsible citizen (and really, a decent human being) is to recycle as much as you can. That’s sadly often easier said than done, particularly in cities which don’t have any sort of organized recycling program.

That’s where iRecycle comes in. Simply select what it is you wish to recycle, and the application will do the rest. It will proceed to determine where you are, then return to you the name, location, website, and contact information of the nearest recycling spot which handles the item you wish to be rid of. In addition, you can do a reverse search on that location to see what other materials it recycles.

SeeClickFix

SeeClickFix Interface

Your next step in being a responsible citizen is to get involved with your community. SeeClickFix is an application designed to let residents take a more active role in the management and upkeep of their neighborhood. It’s a fairly simple concept: anyone who notices a non-emergency issue can click to open a ticket describing the problem (and what they feel should be done to resolve it). From there, they can publicly report the issue to everyone who can possibly do something about it.

Basically, it’s all about streamlining through technology.

GreenMeter

Green Meter iOS

Next up, you’re going to want to regulate your fuel usage. With prices steadily on the rise at the pump and environmental agencies waxing on about climate change, there’s never been a better time to start driving greener. GreenMeter seeks to help users track their fuel usage using the built-in accelerometer which ships with most smartphones to measure the impact which your driving style has on your fuel usage. It displays all the information it gathers in real-time.

From there, drivers can work out how best to adjust their driving habits to save fuel. Unfortunately, GreenMeter is the only application on this list which isn’t free. It’s available on the iTunes Store for $5.99. When you consider how much money you might potentially save at the pump, that seems like pocket change, no?

Good Guide

GoodGuide on Android

In a perfect world, everybody would have all the time they needed to thoroughly research every single product available to them. They’d be able to instantly make informed, educated purchasing decisions based on environmental friendliness, health, and ethics. Unfortunately, we don’t really live in a perfect world. Performing intensive searches every time you want to go to the store simply isn’t practical.

Good Guide can help with that. Featuring a comprehensive library which includes over 120,000 food, personal care, and household products, the smartphone app includes ratings for a wide array of organizations and foodstuffs. Even better, you can simply scan the barcode of a particular item if you’re looking to do a bit of research.

Buycott

Buycott on Android

The word “boycott” has fast become one of the most abused terms in the English language over the past few years. It seems like every other week, there’s some new cause being trumpeted and some new organization being reviled. Unfortunately, no one ever seems to follow through on these boycotts. They simply spew bile for a while, then return to their regular purchasing practices. Worse, these boycotts often don’t have much of an impact, since most consumers just continue on as usual. The problem is that it’s all too easy to remain ignorant of a business’s questionable practices.

This is the issue that Buycott seeks to address. For each organization your purchases might be supporting, Buycott can display a list of causes, campaigns, and controversies regarding that business. The app bills this as a feature which will allow users to have their purchasing decisions reflect their principles.

Let’s say, for example, that you love baby seals. Now, there’s a popular brand of cola you enjoy drinking, and you’re curious about the organization behind it. So you use Buycott…and find out that it organizes monthly baby seal hunts. It’s up to you what you do with this information, but Buycott has allowed you to discover just what your money is supporting.

In Closing

These are far from the only socially responsible applications out there. Although you can become a far more responsible person equipped with these applications, taking the next step is up to you. Even so, if any of you are aware of any apps you feel I’ve missed (or that you’d like to see added to this list in the future), give me a shout in the comments.

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