People around the world celebrated this year’s Earth Day on April 22, a global annual day of political action and civic participation that began on the same day in 1970 when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impact of over 150 years of industrial development by humankind.
In the US – and around whole world – smog was becoming deadly, biodiversity was in decline due to heavy use of pesticides and other pollutants, and growing evidence demonstrated that pollution led to developmental delays in children.
Global ecological awareness was growing, and the US Congress and then-President Nixon responded quickly, creating the Environmental Protection Agency in July of the same year, as well as robust environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
Earth Day is now a global event that takes place every year with the organization behind it estimating that over 1 billion people in 192 countries now take part in what has become the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
Participants march, sign petitions, meet with their elected officials, plant trees, and clean up their towns and roads, while corporations and governments make pledges and announce new sustainability measures. But there are many ways that we can help the environment, starting with reclaiming technology as a way to help preserve the Earth, rather than continuing to pollute it…
Anker PowerPort Solar Lite
Charge your phone the environmentally friendly way with this solar powered UBS phone charger made from “industrial-strength PET plastic faced solar panels sewn into high-wear polyester canvas” to ensure that it can (allegedly) withstand even the most intrepid outdoor adventures.
It’s super lightweight, foldable for added portability, and comes with Anker’s PowerIQ technology that “discovers and replicates your device’s original charging protocol to provide its fastest possible charging speed”.
Belkin’s smart plug is a genius solution for those of us who routinely forget to turn things off when we leave the house, uselessly frittering away power until we return, allowing users to switch off – or turn on – electronic devices from anywhere using your existing home Wi-fi network, simultaneously saving power and making your life easier.
Simply download the accompanying app to your smartphone, plug the switch into an outlet in your home or office, and plug a device into the switch. You can then set schedules for your devices and control them remotely using a mobile internet connection, and add additional switches to control more devices.
These ethical smartphones are both modular and crafted using a completely fair supply chain, including conflict-free minerals such as tin, tungsten and tantalum and Fairtrade gold. Because they’re modular, a broken part can be replaced in isolation, saving you from the hassle and waste of buying an entirely new phone.
The newest model, the Fairphone 2, comes with two SIM slots, a removable battery, Android 7.1.2 Nougat, a 5-inch 1080dp display, and 32 GB of internal storage that can be expanded up to 64 GB with a micro SD card. It’s sold out on their website (unless you buy a refurbished one aka the New Life Edition) but still available through online resellers and some brick-and-mortar stores.
In the fight against planned obsolescence in technology (which isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s annoying, and it takes a toll on the contents of our wallets), this is very much a step in the right direction.
Hidrate Spark 2.0A Smart Water Bottle
Add this to the list of smart devices that you never knew you needed, probably don’t need, but still want anyway because it’s cool, helpful, and eco-friendly. The Hidrate Spark tracks your water intake, calculates how much hydration you need based on physiology and location, and glows to remind you to stay hydrated.
It even integrates with your Fitbit, Apple Watch, or other activity tracker to adjust your daily water goal to match your daily activity level. It’s also (somewhat surprisingly) dishwasher safe, holds up to 24 ounces of liquid, and fits in a standard cup holder. You’ll never need – or want – to use a single-use plastic water bottle ever again.