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Green applications for the iPhone

iPhone app for beer drinkingI have fallen well and truly in love with my new iPhone. There is an application for everything. Some, like the beer-drinking app, are just silly, but there are others which are a godsend. The public toilet locator, for example. Ingenious! So I thought I’d check out whether there are any useful eco-related applications on the market.

It seems that there are loads of good ones in the States already. An app like 3rdWhale, which finds the nearest vegan restaurants, fair trade shops and the like, sounds useful, but it doesn’t stretch to Finsbury Park at the moment. iRecycle sounds cool too, but again is limited to the US. I thought one from Greenpeace which finds the nearest stockists of recycled tissue paper is perhaps an application too far.

There are several apps which do work in the UK that track your carbon footprint. I’ve downloaded one called the Clear Standards Carbon Tracker which uses GPS to track how far you’ve travelled – pretty nifty, hey? You do still have to tell it what form on transport you’re on – an app which recognises whether you’re on a bus, train or plane cannot be fair away I’m sure.

I’ve also downloaded a Whole Foods app which has a nearest store locator, so you know exactly where to go for your mung beans. The best bit is the recipe generator where you type in what you’ve got in your cupboard, and it suggests something you can cook. ‘Weetabix’ isn’t an option though, sadly.

My overall favourite was a wildlife-spotting app from an organisation called WildObs. You spot some flora or fauna, take a photo of it on your iPhone, and submit it the WildObs site. They’ve also set something up with the National Wildlife Federation in the States whereby you submit the pic to the NWF’s Twitter feed, your iPhone tells it your precise location, and other people know where to go to try to spot what you spotted. Brilliant!

There only seems to one lady in the UK who’s done any spotting on WildObs so far. And that was of grizzly bears while she was in the States. I’m keen to get the UK on the map but I’m not sure how impressive a photo of the local mangy fox would be. Would photographing the animals in Clissold Park’s mini-zoo be cheating?

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