MeYou Health is an online community that is trying to get people to make small changes everyday that add up to big change. They have a suite of apps for Facebook and iPhones that remind you to drink water or partake in a daily challenge.
When you think about it, your life is the sum of little day-to-day choices – what you have for lunch, how to spend a few minutes of free time. For most of us, those little choices are made without much thought, driven by habit or a moment’s pleasure. That’s just how we’re made.
Now imagine the difference over the course of your life if you were to make enough of those little choices just a little bit better every day. It would be huge, and there are libraries of research that proves it. This is where MeYou Health comes in.
As part of the MeYou Health community, you get reminders from us and encouragement from friends to spark moments of mindfulness that wake you from routine. So instead of living on autopilot, you stop a second to think “what if?” And we make it fun! There are games, engaging Web and mobile experiences, fascinating bits of knowledge, and supportive social networks of people just like you. And all of it backed by scientific research.
We’ve seen DIY iPod solar chargers before and now an Ottawa-based company has produced a consumer one. The PowerTrip is a small battery with a USB jack and a solar panel on it.
Enter the PowerTrip, from Ottawa-based Ecosol. In a package about the size of a deck of cards, the PowerTrip houses a battery that you can top up via the usual USB port or wall socket (the plug swivels out from the side), or using the solar panel that fills most of one side. Just sit it on a sunny windowsill.
Like its USB-powered sibling, the PowerStick, it comes with several connectors that will feed devices with micro- or mini-USB ports, and it will connect to Apple devices. A fully charged PowerTrip can deliver five full charges to your smartphone; a microprocessor prevents phone damage from overcharging. I tested it with a BlackBerry, followed by a Kobo e-reader, both of which the PowerTrip handled with aplomb, with plenty of power left over for other devices. A power meter on the side of the battery shows the state of the charge.
Organizations that care about protecting the environment are always looking for ways to get more people helping them out and in some cases consumer technologies are the solution. Save the Redwoods is an organization in California that is asking people to use their iPhones to identify where every redwood tree is in the state. The information will then be mapped out on Google Earth – a great way of showing people the current state of the redwood forests.
Find a redwood tree in a park, in your own backyard, or in a botanical garden anywhere in the world. Then use the free Redwood Watch iPhone application powered by iNaturalist or your own camera to take a photo of the tree and submit it online.
“Citizen-science efforts like iNaturalist are rapidly emerging as rich sources of biogeographic information for alerting scientists where plants and animals are disappearing and where they persist,” said Scott R. Loarie, co-director of iNaturalist.org and a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science. “These technologies are a real win-win for conservation because, in addition to generating urgently needed data, they get people outdoors and help them become more aware of the natural world.”
In collaboration with Google Earth Outreach, Redwood Watch also will include a tour and new 3D online model of the ancient forest to help people better understand, appreciate and connect with the wonder of the redwoods. A 2½-minute video, Finding the Redwood Forests of Tomorrow, tells the story of an ancient forest. The video was narrated by Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall. Save the Redwoods League partnered with Google Earth Outreach to produce the new 3D Trees model ofJedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on Google Earth. Jedediah Smith Redwoods was selected for this project because it is one of the most pristine old-growth coast redwood forests in California. The 3D model allows Google Earth users to virtually walk and fly through an ancient redwood forest anytime anywhere.
It’s well known that cars create a lot of pollution and that if we can get more people to drive their cars more efficiently (better yet – not at all) drivers would kill the environment a little less. To help drivers figure out how much CO2 they release into the air some enterprising floks created an app called Puff.
Puff is designed to let drivers visualize how much pollution they are emitting on their iPhone as they drive. This way drivers can adapt their driving to minimize their CO2 output.
“Puff is attached to the frame of the car or to the tail pipe. The lamp is light weight and thus well below the 50 pounds you can apparently safely hang from the exhaust pipe. The lamp itself is detachable, so you can take it inside with you whenever you leave your car at the curb. (…) The app also logs the drive data allowing you to keep track of various information such as how much total CO2 you’ve emitted during this trip or during all your trips with Puff, what is the average rate of emission, the total number of miles driven and the average MPG. It also estimates how much NOx, CO and hydrocarbons you’ve released into the environment.”
The USA branch of Greenpeace have turned their Recycled Tissue and Toilet Paper Guide and turned it into an iPhone app. I hope that other Greenpeace regions do the same thing as I find myself carrying my iPhone around but carrying around an extra booklet all the time can get really annoying. If you’re in Canada, you can download the guide as PDF here.
The Guide makes it quick and easy to find out which brands of facial tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins are truly green and which should be avoided. Our experts have carefully evaluated over 100 brands and recommended those that: contain 100% overall recycled content; contain at least 50% post-consumer recycled content; and are bleached without toxic chlorine compounds.
When you’re doing your grocery shopping or just stopping by the corner store to grab a roll of toilet paper, make an informed decision as both a consumer and someone concerned about the world’s ancient forests.