7 Cool Green iPhone Apps

With hundreds of thousands of iPhone apps to choose from, it’s sometimes hard to find the cool stuff, if it isn’t listed in the top 50 apps list on Itunes.

Here’s a list of 7 cool, green iPhone apps that you should check out.

Find Green

This cool iPhone app is sort of like a Yelp for green businesses, and it’s free! Granted, it doesn’t have as many businesses listed as some people might like. But it has an awesome turn wheel interface that quickly find categories and businesses.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/find-green/id325640751?mt=8

Carbon Calc

Worried about your carbon footprint? Now you can measure the impact of your car, home and flights with this free tool.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/carbon-calc/id310358139?mt=8

The Green Book Lite

This app is a free preview of an actual book you can buy called The Green Book, The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Step at a Time.

http://itunes.apple.com/app/the-green-book-lite/id304868857?mt=8

EcoFinder

Find out where you can recycle or properly dispose of just about anything with EcoFinder.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ecofinder/id318564780?mt=8

Treehugger

It’s probably already one of the green blogs that you already visit, and now you can keep it handy on your iPhone or iPad with this app. Makes it easy to read the site on your phone.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/treehugger/id357567546?mt=8

GoodGuide

Find safe, healthy and sustainable products with the GoodGuide app. More than 70,000 product ratings are included, and you can even scan a bar code with your phone to look it up quickly!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/goodguide/id294447660?mt=8

Greenpeace Tissue Guide

I know, it sounds like a joke, right? But as the app points out, did you know that if every family replaces just 1 roll of toilet paper per year with recycled paper instead of virgin paper, it would save 400,000 trees? The app makes it quick and easy to find out which brands of facial tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins are truly green, so you know what to buy!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/greenpeace-tissue-guide/id312574522?mt=8

The Power of Green

This app gives you more than 100 illustrated tips for saving energy, organized by category. There’s heating, cooling, water efficiency, water heating, lighting, weatherization, appliance information and much more. If you use this app, you’re certain to save on energy bills, which helps the environment too.

http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-power-green-by-con-edison/id354758049?mt=8

What did we miss? What’s your favorite iPhone app related to green living and the environment?

Leave a comment and let us know!

Coffee and the environment, and what you can do

guy in coffee cup suit

Love drinking coffee but concerned about the environment? Coffee has earned a reputation as a crop which is not particularly eco-friendly. Concerns about soil degradation, deforestation, pesticide use, and water quality have become commonplace. Yet westerners continue to drink one cup of coffee for every two cups of water consumed– and that’s a lot of coffee! Fortunately, we coffee consumers do have environmentally friendly options.

Coffee and the Environment

Coffee wasn’t always harmful to the environment. Once upon a time, coffee was sensitive to the sun and grown under the shade of forest canopies where it required fewer pesticides, less water, and it added to the habitat. However, increased demand for coffee led to more efficient growing methods, which didn’t treat the environment so kindly.

The use of fertilizers increases the yield of coffee, but only when grown in full sun. Soon coffee was adapted to full sun growing, and the natural canopies that once provided shade were altogether removed. This led to the rapid deforestation of coffee growing nations. Unfortunately, much of the world’s coffee is grown in the rainforest regions of the world. Full-sun plantations have a devastating impact on the local ecosystem. Indeed, these plantations support 90% fewer species of birds than shade-grown coffee plantations.

In addition to deforestation, coffee production leads to soil degradation and environmental damages from pesticides and fertilizers. Full sun coffee plantations require enormous amounts of chemicals compared to shade-grown plantations. For instance, Colombia, where most coffee is full-sun, uses roughly 400,000 tons of chemical fertilizers annually. These chemicals can have a negative impact on the farmers that use them too.

One of the least environmentally friendly approaches to coffee cultivation involves razing the landscape of all plants (sometimes using toxic herbicides) and then planting coffee. After the soil is completely degraded, the operation is abandoned and moved to a new location. This process of migratory coffee plantations leaves behind a wake of degraded land, which is unsuitable for wildlife or other crops.

What You Can Do

The negative effect coffee production has on the environment is a result of coffee’s high demand coupled with careless consumer choices. But don’t worry, you don’t need to give up on coffee yet. As coffee consumers, the choices we make when purchasing coffee have an impact on the production methods employed and how coffee cultivation affects the earth.

Not all coffee is bad for the environment. There are organic coffee options, which are free of chemicals. Shade grown coffees are a better alternative to the more common full sun variety. And fair trade coffees guarantee farmers aren’t being taken advantage of. These coffees cost a little more, but that’s because it’s cheaper to destroy forests, plant coffee in the sun, and douse it with chemicals.

We’ll be covering the topic of coffee and the environment more thoroughly in future posts. So stay tuned so you can learn more about coffee production techniques– the good and the bad– and how you can support positive coffee growing practices while still enjoying that fresh-brewed cup of joe.

What is your coffee situation? Do you drink it? And if so, what kind? Fair trade? Organic? Regular? Let us know in the comments!

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