Though constantly refreshing your Facebook page won't do as much for the environment as cutting your carbon footprint, volunteering to clean up trash, or campaigning for your favorite causes, you can put your social networking skills to good use with these applications, games, and pages that teach environmental responsibility -- and help you donate to your favorite causes.
1. Calculate Your Personal Water Footprint
You're already alerting your 500 closest friends and family every time you see an extra adorable looking endangered animal on TreeHugger's Facebook page...or every time you leave the house -- now try giving them information that brings more direct impact to their day-to-day life with the Personal Water Footprint Calculator, which we covered last year on TreeHugger.
This application helps you figure out where you use the most water in your daily routine and offers tips for reducing it -- and then encourages you to share your results and inspire others.
2. Greenpeace International and the Campaign to Get Facebook off CoalVideo: via YouTube Greenpeace uses its wall to keep friends and fans on top of developments around the green sphere, from sustainable seafood and genetic crop modification to nuclear transports and disappearing species.
But one of its biggest initiatives has been the "Unfriend Coal" movement aimed at Facebook itself, which has more than half a million worldwide supporters that want the company run on renewable energy. With Facebook planning a new coal-powered data center in Oregon, Greenpeace offers users the opportunity to chime in with their opinion.
3. Green Farm: The New Farmville?
It's too early to know for sure, but with more than 300,000 monthly users, it could be on its way. The game says you'll "return to the rhythm of nature and get a breath of fresh air" while you "create your own eco-friendly dream farm filled with herds of cute livestock and grow yummy organic veggies."
Like other Facebook games of this kind, you'll be better off actually growing organic veggies instead of just doing it electronically, but if fans transfer the ideals to their own lives, it could be a boost for green living.
4. Playing Games to Benefit the Nature Conservancy
If you want to support the Nature Conservancy, you can like the organization's page -- but you can also help by playing Facebook games: (Lil) Green Patch, (Lil) Blue Cove, (Lil) Eco Racer, My Fairyland, Adopt a Rainforest, and SAVE the Animals all let users donate to different Nature Conservancy programs, including Adopt an Acre and Plant a Billion Trees.
And NBC Universal's Green is Universal page lets you earn points by taking green pledges; those points translate into donations that NBC makes to the Nature Conservancy, too.
5. Adopt a Tiger Through the World Wildlife Fund
Always wanted to adopt a wild animal? The World Wildlife Fund lets you access its symbolic donations page through its Facebook profile, choosing your favorite from more than 100 species and donating to conservation efforts.
And if you aren't ready to commit to a full adoption, you can "like" and "share" the ones that catch your eye -- either as a subtle hint when your birthday approaches or as a way of inspiring your friends to support their own favorite endangered species.
6. Green on Facebook: One Page for Eco Resources
The just-launched Green on Facebook page is the company's way of highlighting its green efforts -- including writing programming that requires half as many servers, focusing on "energy-efficient computing," and recycling and composting on its properties.
But it's also your link to other eco-focused pages and applications on the site, and the wall is updated with environmental news from sites like The Daily Green, GreenBiz.com, and TreeHugger to offer advice on simple changes (like using a refillable mug) and direction toward bigger trends (like worm composting). Still, Greenpeace points out that the initiatives are only small steps when compared to the company's overall energy use.