Peter Thiel once lamented the rise of apps and mobile technology and it's negative correlation to solving big world problems saying, "the problem with our society today is that our best minds and top engineers spend all their time trying to improve e-commerce click through conversions by .01%." His point is not without merit. As a developer, why spend years of tough R&D when you could make millions creating an app that you could sell in 36 months? And yet as a society facing so many pressing challenges and opportunities, we have to ask ourselves: Do we need a 17th dating app? Is the app that tracks where you've pooped necessary (if you've downloaded it, we'll wait while you shamefully delete it)? And don't we have more to say to our friends than yo? Or is that app the future of communication?
Don't despair! Fortunately, in a world where apps make our life easier but add no real value to society, there are dozens of engineers and entrepreneurs who are using technology to create positive change for millions of their users. Here are 6 apps that you need on your phone. Doing good from the couch has never been easier.
1. Tree Planet 2
We're not sure what Tree Planet 1 does, but 2.0 is the real deal. The South Korean company behind this environmental education app has created a gamified platform to turn virtual trees into real ones. Users in the game are required to fertilise, water and protect their trees from loggers. For every virtual tree that a user plants, a real life tree is also being planted and tended to. Not only are children learning the value of protecting (and defending!) our environment, they are also contributing to reducing carbon in the atmosphere. Win-win! The Korean company behind Tree Planet 2 claims to have planted 500,000 real trees in 10 different countries.
Download the game here, and starting planting your own forest: http://bit.ly/20OhkGj.
If you care about sustainable fashion, particularly ethical labor practices, go download this app immediately and use it every time you shop. Free2Work is a barcode scanning app that allows you to track a company's labor history and in some cases (depending on the brand) allows you to track where and how the product you're holding was made. Users will have a wealth of information, including any red flags as to a company’s history of exploitation of child labor in order to make an informed decision on your purchase. Free2Work gives you the confidence that you can look good, feel good and do good with what you wear.
Learn more about their important work: http://www.free2work.org/
3. Choose Cruelty Free
This app should be the bible for vegans and animal lovers. Choose Cruelty Free has put together one of the more extensive lists available for consumer products that don't contain, or are not tested, on animals. With so many fantastic cruelty-free beauty and household cleaning products now available it’s easy to find great quality products that that are Leaping Bunny Approved, helping you to feel beautiful both inside and out. Now go give your furry friend a treat and a big hug.
Download the app: http://apple.co/23QLU41http://apple.co/23QLU41
Rockstar, global philanthropist, sustainable fashion advocate, and app developer? That's right. Bono is at it again, this time with his One app, an extension of his popular and successful "The One Campaign" site. The One app serves as a platform dedicated to connecting community leaders and activists with mass audiences to push forward protests, reform and change. While overtaken by the more notorious Change.org site, One is still pushing for and creating real impact.
For more information, visit: http://www.one.org/us/
Want to vote with your wallet? Then Buycott is for you. Like Free2Work for fashion, Buycott is a barcode scanning app that tells you what the company history is and what companies you should or shouldn't support based on what matters to you. Discover whether a company is using ethical sourcing practices and sustainable ingredients and support companies that align with your values!
Download the app: http://apple.co/1Vx3bht
6. True Food
This is the must have app for true foodies and food activists concerned about GMOs and other harmful pesticides in your food. The True Food app enables you to check your food and determines whether the food you are buying has genetically modified ingredients in them. Know what's in your food and buy better.
Download the app: