12 Apps from Conservation and Development
by Emma Kelley -- February 5th, 2015
As I mentioned in my last entry, I’m currently finishing my first class of the block schedule at the Duke Marine Lab: Conservation and Development. A requirement for the course has been to find an app related to the topics we’ve discussed in class. Most of the apps we’ve found have centered on green consciousness: environmental awareness and “going green.” I was surprised with how many fascinating tools have been developed and would like to share them with you.
This is the app I found, called Green Travel Choice. Selecting a start point and an end point, you can determine the CO2 emissions for a trip using different modes of transportation. Since I’m going to Oaxaca in about four weeks, I wanted to explore the “green” options for traveling.
It’s safe to say I won’t be biking or hiking the 2,470 miles down to Oaxaca, but I think this app is useful for shorter trips, like to the grocery store.
Similar to the first app, this UNEP calculator determines the impact of your transportation on the environment. You enter how far you have traveled and what mode of transportation you used. The app returns the equivalent area that can absorb the amount of carbon you’ve emitted. If I enter that I have driven 180 miles, the distance from my house in Beaufort to Duke’s main campus in Durham, the app tells me that 3.254 square feet of mangrove forests would be required to absorb the carbon I have just emitted. Yikes!
3. Green Globe
This third app is also related to travel. You can use the Green Globe app to search for Green Globe Certified accommodations and activities when traveling. This certification identifies sustainable travel and tourism businesses. You can explore their standards here.
This fourth app is super interesting! Toyota has an initiative called A Glass of Water. Essentially, driving around with a glass of water on your vehicle’s dashboard makes you a safer, more efficient driver. To avoid spilling water all over your car’s interior, Toyota developed an app simulating a glass of water, which you can then use to analyze your results. This video explains everything about this cool app.
This funky app is a way for you to compete with your friends in “going green.” You receive points for sustainable habits, like biking to work or using a reusable mug. The app keeps track of the point totals for each of your buddies, letting you know when someone is “winning” and encouraging you to step up your sustainability game.
Of all the apps discussed in class, this one is my favorite. In fact, someone in the class was already using the Good Guide to make responsible purchases. While shopping, you can scan the bar code of whatever products you’re considering and receive a rating on the product based on health, environment, and social standards.
You can use this app to find local farmers markets around you and read reviews posted by other users. One quick search identified the Beaufort Farmers’ Market down the street from my house.
Coastal students cannot have a conversation about apps without mentioning the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app. You can use this popular app to search for ocean-friendly, sustainable seafood options. One of my classmates also found a seafood application called Planet Ocean, which lists 100 species of fish, including information on their stock status and the techniques used to catch them. The app makes recommendations for consuming sustainably managed species.
Another fisheries-related app is called FishAlerts! You can use this app to find National Marine Sanctuaries and marine protected areas nearby, as well as information about their restrictions, so you know where you can and cannot fish.
These next two apps move away from the topic of environmental awareness and consumerism. Participation was a huge topic in the Conservation and Development course. We discussed participation primarily in the context of local fishing communities and the difficulties over determining how best to involve communities in policy-making decisions. The Participation Compass is not specifically meant for use by the general public, but it can be a useful resource for anyone interested in participation. It is particularly useful for anyone directly involved in planning or running participation activities, such as public consultations. It provides information on different participation methods and also serves as a library.
Last week, we held a mock stakeholder negotiation in class. As a community, we had to decide if we wanted to create a marine protected area in the waters adjacent to our village in Central America. Each student represented a different stakeholder group with different interests and motivations. We all had to learn how to work with (or against) each other to get what we wanted. Later, one classmate found an app called Approach. This app is a pocket personality profiler designed for salespeople, but very applicable to our negotiation. You select a person and answer 12 questions about them. The app then returns a list of Dos and Don’ts for interacting with this person.
This last app was by far the most interesting one we discussed in class. The app’s goal is to “explain what peer reviewed science has to say about global warming.” Users can look through lists of the arguments made by global warming skeptics and deniers, and find actual evidence against these arguments. The website for this app is maintained by John Cook, the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list of apps and have maybe even found one you’ll use!