Can Mobile Apps Save Humanity?

By | August 5, 2014

The earth’s population has just passed the whopping 7 billion mark.

But the mood is grim – the economy is collapsing, the south is dying of hunger, the north is getting fatter, and these little gadgets that we call smartphones are changing the traditional social interaction paradigm and turning real-life relationships into virtual relationships.

You can blame these attractive gadgets for a lot of things, but you could also turn it around and ask yourself “how can mobile phones and mobile apps contribute to building a better world?”


Applications like iRecycle and GoodGuide might not be in Apple’s top 20, but they do teach a very valuable lesson to mobile developers out there:

You can make a difference by including an earth-friendly message in your next application. In fact, there are quite a few ways your app can have a positive impact on the world:

  • Communal aspects to your app: people can feel powerless and so small in the world. Knowing you’re not alone makes you realize there is good out there and that your efforts aren’t wasted. Applications like Nike + where fitness fans can challenge each other, and the unfortunately deceased Akoha are great examples of how community-driven apps can encourage users to do good around them.
  • Motivational apps that track your progress: Everybody has an objective that they want to reach. Whether personal or professional, you often need a dose of encouragement to keep working on your goals and being reminded of your progress to date or receiving helpful advice from online source or friends make any goal attainable.
  • Location and time sensitive notifications: it’s easy to “forget” things, especially things like going to the gym or buying organic foods instead of junk. Time and location sensitive notifications can be excellent motivators that have the power to transform words into actions.
  • Educational aspects to your app: Educational content is all the rage. Smartphone app users are by definition curious and like to discover and learn things. Make sure you include positive and green messages in your content – you never know who’s reading.

Ultimately these examples are only the tip of the iceberg, but they are simple gestures that if accomplished now, can help build a better world through technology, one user at the time…


This article is a contribution from Maxim Savard, Online & Digital Consultant