By Morgen Henderson
Our planet is in trouble and we aren’t doing much to help it. Just our existence as human beings affects the planet. In fact, people are the leading cause of climate change through the growing amount of greenhouse gases we emit through our regular activities. The Earth can’t defend itself against us—it needs our help. The good news: There are lots of gadgets you can use to help reduce your carbon footprint, whether it be a foot-operated washing machine or the phone you’ve got in your pocket. Using these gadgets wisely can help offset our carbon impact and reduce the impacts of global warming.
1. Use your phone: Download apps
Your smartphone is one of the key gadgets you may already have. Use it to access apps to help you track your carbon footprint. Frequent flyers might try apps such as Flight C02 Calculator, which tracks the amount of carbon your flights produce and offers users the chance to “offset” the carbon through a donation to myclimate.org, which supports climate-protection projects around the world. The organization creates jobs through tree-planting, solar home systems, water projects, and more.
For activists, try the United Nations Climate Change app, which allows you to track the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change activities and news, keep track of action plans, and progress on policy changes. You can also follow @UNFCC on Twitter and Instagram for updates. The app WWF Together helps you follow climate impact on your favorite wildlife species as well as conservation efforts to help protect them.
2. Get better light bulbs
Start protecting the environment at home with better light bulbs that consume less energy. Replacing any remaining incandescent bulbs smart light bulbs – can go a long way in reducing your energy bill, which means your energy consumption is reduced as well. Smart bulbs use technology including light-emitting diodes (LED) and are more expensive than traditional bulbs, but they last far longer and consume much less energy than incandescents. They also can be controlled through your phone and your smart home assistant, and have more features, such as the ability to dim or change color, which can aid your sleeping patterns and save your eyesight in addition to saving the planet.
3. A better way to wash your clothes
Water is one of our most precious natural resources, with a finite amount available on the planet. A standard load of laundry can use lots of water, even for the most efficient brands of washing machines—not to mention the energy consumed by running it. A small foot-powered washing machine like the Yirego Drumi saves water and energy when you only have a small load of wash to take care of, such as your gym clothes or gardening clothes. These mini-machines consume about 2.6 gallons of water per load and a fraction of the detergent and are 100% human-powered. They’re also perfect for small-apartment dwellers, saving you from driving your car to the Laundromat.
4. Smarter ways to heat the room
Smart thermostats, including Google Nest, Honeywell Lyric, Emerson Sensi Touch, and others, can help reduce your carbon usage by heating the room to comfortable temperatures only when someone enters the room or during high-use periods. These thermostats can be linked to your smartphone, allowing you to turn down the thermostat remotely and get energy use reports. You can even control them through your smart home assistant with voice commands.
5. Alternative to space heaters
Egloo heaters let you increase the temperature of your room with candle power under a terracotta dome diffuser – a great backup to have during a power outage in cold climates, or a better alternative to power-sucking space heaters. These little heaters also double as aromatherapy diffusers.
6. Smart power strips
One of the biggest phantom power uses comes from items like desktop PCs, TVs, gaming consoles, and other appliances that are plugged in and standing by but not in use. Smart power strips can curtail that unwanted and unneeded power draw by keeping appliances in check, preventing the power supply from reaching devices when they’re not being used. These power strips are a money-saver in addition to a planet-saver.
It’s easy to go greener with the gadgets available today and to find ways to fight climate change through the consumer choices we make. It just takes a little research and a little bit of attention to our daily activities to find opportunities to do better on a daily basis.
Morgen is a writer who covers topics ranging from tech to wellness to travel. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring nature and adventuring across the globe. Check out more of her writing at https://hendersonmorgend.contently.com/