And now for something completely different… If you use social media sites, then you know that there are more apps out there than hours in your day to keep track of them all. While “hot or not” type applications provide little more than a way to waste inordinate amounts of time better spent doing other things, there is a new class of applications that help you make a difference while you happily go about having fun.
Facebook in particular has been a fertile development ground for such projects, but it can be difficult to know which applications are promising to save the world and which are actually putting their money where their mouths are. My favorite pick of the socially conscious litter? Green Trading Cards, an application which lets you collect sets of cards representing the best of what nature has to offer while the application developers contribute to wildlife funds as you use it. Unlike most of these programs, the makers of Green Trading cards proudly display the donations they make on your behalf to green causes, and donate they do… they claim to donate 10 times more than any other application on Facebook. While I can neither back up nor dispute this claim, I can say that the application is fun to use, and addictive in a way that L’il green patch, African Safari, and others of the sort just aren’t. And believe me, I’ve spent too much time on all of ’em! I think the reason for this is that you are going for a goal (finishing a particular set of cards and therefore saving between 10 and 100 square feet of rain forest) instead of just collecting, collecting, collecting for the sake of, well… collecting?
Green Trading Cards’ creators are committed to making their app better with each passing day too, and the recent additions of card sets are particularly interesting. I love the extinct animals set, which is a stark reminder that although we socially conscious netizens do try to make a difference, amazing animals are slipping through the cracks every day. Now that’s a game with a conscience!
My choice for first runner up would have to be the Lunch Money Network, on which you play games, including their signature game Owned! to rack up virtual lunch money that you can then donate to real philanthropic causes.
While playing games on the net isn’t expressly an off-grid activity, you and I both know that we spend lots of time on the web, and most likely, you’ve tried to kill a few hours here and there with less than intellectual pursuits. So next time you’re thinking of firing up Solitaire, consider one of these apps instead, and help save the wild world into which you’re hoping to move.
Visit Green Trading Cards here: Green Trading Cards on Facebook
Visit Save the Planet from the Lunch Money Network here: Owned! from the LMN on Facebook