Sure, mobile apps can enhance our lives. We can do just about everything with our smartphones these days, from booking a last minute trip, to gazing at the stars, to using them as a spirit level for fixing up that wonky-no-more shelf.
But can apps actually make the world, you know, a better place?
You betcha! From protecting your fellow man from dangerous goings-on in the neighborhood to feeding the hungry to taking care of Mother Earth, these 9 iPhone apps all have one aim in mind: making the world a little bit more sustainable, and a whole lot nicer.
Vizsafe is a real-time neighborhood watch program that lets you report and find out about the latest happenings in your area. Upload videos and photos (anonymously, if you prefer), and explore channels including missing persons and fire, drought, and severe weather warnings. Keep your neighborhood safe, and catch out anyone who's not playing by the rules.
Thunderclap's Be My Eyes connects kind souls worldwide with blind and otherwise visually impaired users to help them go about their daily lives. From checking the sell-by-date on a carton of milk to identifying tins from the cupboard, users need only launch the app to start a live video call with a volunteer who's ready and waiting to give them a little hand.
US-based FoodCircles lets you hunt out delicious dishes in your area and order them for a minimum donation of $1 - 100% of which goes towards feeding needy local children. Choose your donation amount, confirm, then show your purchase code at the cash register. A beautiful concept we'd love to see rolled out elsewhere.
"In fair Verona, where we lay our scene": this Romeo and Juliet-inspired dating app has a bold mission, "World peace, one swipe at a time." This Tinder-style app aims to bring Palestinian and Israeli singles together, by matching them by compatibility, not by nationality - "because the path to peace begins by viewing people by who they are instead of where they came from."
Every time you take a foodie photo of a dish you're eating at a participating restaurant and share it up on Feedie (and on your social network channels of choice), that restaurant will donate 25 cents (equal to one daily, nutritious meal) to The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organization which provides disadvantaged children in townships and villages across South Africa.
GoodGuide is the ultimate tool for the modern social and eco-warrior, helping you to identify the safest, healthiest, greenest, and most socially responsible products based on scientific ratings. You scan an item's barcode or browse through the catalogue of over 250,000 product categories, including food, hair care, household items, and products for kids and babies.
With a minimalist tiled interface, iRecycle is a bright and easy reference app for finding where and how to recycle just about anything if you live in the United States. From batteries and construction materials to household items, iRecycle has everything wrapped up, giving you 1,500,000 ways to recycle over 350 materials.
Seafood Watch helps consumers and restaurants make responsible and informed choices about their seafood purchases by choosing ocean-friendly seafood. Whether you’re browsing a menu in a sushi restaurant or standing at the fish counter of the grocery store, the app tells you which breeds are fished by sustainable methods and which are the ones to avoid.
With the cute and quirky TreePlanet3 game, play hero by saving the baby saplings from the 'Disaster Monsters.' For every baby tree you save, a real-life tree is planted by the developers, Tree Planet. The company has planted over 240,000 trees in 10 countries so far!