10 Smartphone Apps to Green Up 2013

smartphone apps 2013Did December gifting or a year-end bonus put a new smartphone in your hand?  Check out ten mostly-free apps that will help you live healthier, smarter and more sustainably in 2013.

  1. Call It Quits is for smokers wishing to quit and quitters who could use some added support.  It provides cessation tips, motivations and coaching access to helpline pros. It also enables you, using your phone contacts, to build a trusted support group and then keep that support group with you in the palm of your hand. This ought to be basic software on all smartphones sold in tobacco-loving Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon. (Free.)
  2. Locavore uses your phone’s GPS to make searching for in-season, local foods a breeze.  It pinpoints the nearest farms and farmer’s markets.  Use it to find that specific local fruit you’ve been craving, or to check out what’s in-season.
  3. BirdsEye guides you to your best birding opportunities by sharing the collective wisdom of thousands of birding experts who contribute to eBird,  the enormous, real-time bird observation system run by the bird brains at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Take this when hiking any of Jordan’s six nature reserves. ($19.99)
  4. Fooducate from Israel lets you scan the barcodes on packaged items in your grocery store to see each product’s good and bad highlights, allow you to compare with similar products and best of all, select healthier alternatives.  It’s like having a dietician on speed dial. (Free.)
  5. The Night Sky enables you to identify stars, planets, galaxies, constellations and even satellites in real time as you see them.  Stand anywhere and hold your smartphone or tablet up to the sky and The Night Sky will display the names of everything you see.  Perfect for camping with the Bedouin beneath Wadi Rum’s pristine night skies. ($0.99)
  6. Springredients allows you to select one key ingredient and then spin the dial to view three established flavor combinations. It’s a cool tool that helps you to discover an endless array of flavor combinations.  Less likely to waste food if you see more ways to use random ingredients.($1.99)
  7. Seafood Watch was created by the Monterey Bay Aquarium with the aim to promote responsible purchasing of wild and farmed seafood. Shopping sustainably is made easy, as this app ranks seafood items as “Best Choice”, “Good Alternative” or “Avoid” rankings. (Free.)
  8. Ease into 5K with a running coach app perfect for those who are new to racing world.  The 8-week regimen guides you through 30 minute sessions, each designed to improve your endurance. I’ll be using this one to prep for April’s Dead Sea fun run. ($2.99)
  9. Wild Edibles Full offers a massive compendium of foraging knowledge suitable for beginners and experts alike.  Use this app as a quick home reference, or in the field as a replacement for hefty field guides.  This app takes edible plants to a whole new level of accessibility. ($7.99)
  10. Don’t Eat That lets you conduct an instant food “health check” right in the store just by entering its name.  Find out if an ingredient causes allergies or drug interactions, is carcinogenic, banned in other countries, bad for kids or pregnant women, or genetically modified. ($1.99)

As with all apps, you’ll need to do a check on the product websites to ensure these are geared up to work on your specific device, and in your slice of the globe.

Close-up of a smartphone by Shutterstock

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