How Cell Phones Are Changing the Face of Green Activism

How to Use Mobile Phones for Your Environmental Activism

Photo via Moomettesgram via Flickr CC Guides and Tips for Getting Started with Mobile Activism SocialBright has a great how-to guide for getting started in mobile activism. If you're looking to utilize mobile devices for your cause, this is a great starting point for learning the technology and steps you'll need to take for an effective campaign. It even has screenshots to illustrate how texting is used for various campaigns.

The site also has a top notch tips guide that walks you through effective ways of using the technology of texting. It walks you through what to do - such as to know your constituency, be relevant, and be action oriented - and what not to do - such as avoid sending too many messages, and be aware of the time of day you're sending messages.

Organizations Helping to Get Phones and Information to People
Hope Phones takes used phones and puts them in the hands of community health care workers in developing countries. It's an excellent way to give new life to the millions upon millions of used cell phones getting replaced each year in the US alone. The phone being sent in doesn't even need to be usable. Donors can print a free shipping label and send their old phone in to The Wireless Source, a global leader in wireless device recycling. The phone's value in selling it to recyclers allows FrontlineSMS:Medic to purchase usable, recycled cell phones for health care workers.

Mobile Database still a somewhat small database but it is set up to grow infinitely as more and more projects are created and added to it. It is searchable by several filters, including article, report or project, or by location, category, or keyword. Searching just conservation, 41 entries came up, from 3rdWhale Mobile and Nokia's Eco Sensor Concept, to Rare Bird Alert and GPS/GSM Animal Collars. The database seeks to compile all the information on the social and environmental impact of mobile technology globally. If you start up a project using mobile technology for environmental good, be sure to suggest it's addition to this database.

Photo by GoodNCrazy via Flickr CC
Top Apps That Help You Use Your Phone for Environmental Activism
There are some great applications on the market and coming down the pipes that will allow for some interesting possibilities in citizen science. For example, one possibility is eventually having pollution detectors built into phones so anyone can help record atmospheric conditions and potentially contribute to climate activism. Also, a future iphone app for snapping photos of flora and fauna, then uploading the information to a database can help scientists identify and monitor changes in species.

Google Earth on the phone also works for a few tricks, from checking out the potential of renewable energy to "visiting" the farm where your grocery store produce comes from before purchasing it. Ecorio helps people not only calculate carbon footprints but also encourage one another through social networking to green up even more. A plethora of iPhone apps that support green living, from driving to public transportation, from shopping to home automation.

Speaking of green shopping, voting with your dollar is a big way to make an impact, and mobile devices are becoming an increasingly more active component of shopping. 3rd Whale has an app out that helps you pick which businesses to patronize and Good Guide helps you hone in on greenest products. Greenpeace has a specific app for picking out which toilet paper to use. And there's even an app that keeps your coupons for you so you can ditch paper where possible.

While these last couple seem a little overly specific, the fact is every purchase decision is a form of activism. With 40 million people in the US accessing the mobile web, having immediate access via mobile phone can make a significant impact on consumer behavior.

From elephants to toilet paper, mobile phones are truly changing the face of environmental activism and green living.

More on Mobile Technology Doing Cool Things for Green:
Navigate Subways Faster with Augmented Reality App (Video)
ETech 2009: Plantr Uses Recycled Cell Phones to Get Urbanites Gardening
5 Android Apps that are Eco-Fun

Tags: Activism | Cell Phones | Electronics


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