APP-propriate Technology

Several electronic tools help me stay in tune with the rhythms of nature, or make it easier for me to do my work. Some of them are so helpful I’m really glad I don’t have to do without them!

The following apps on my phone have become my electronic best buds:

  • Clock (alarm, timer, stopwatch — especially the alarm, which I use several times a day for everything from a mini nap before going out, to reminding myself to call someone, to reminding myself to cycle the fridge on or off)
  • Calendar
  • Note pad
  • Reminders
  • The Moon
  • Sunrise & Sunset
  • Sky Safari (one of the many apps out that let you point your phone at the night sky to identify stars and planets)
  • Map (as much of a diehard fan of paper maps and atlases as I am, I love map app for navigating on the fly)

The following are not apps per se but I include them in this post because they are electronic and indispensable to me:

  • emails providing webinar date/time reminders
  • webinars, in general

In permaculture design, “appropriate technology” tends to refer to things like solar ovens, hand-cranked radios, bicycles, and scythes.

A good explanation of appropriate technology can be found in this Wikipedia article. As the authors say, appropriate technology is “small-scale, decentralized, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and locally autonomous.”

By that definition, my favorite electronc tools might not meet everyone’s definition of appropriate tech. However, if an app or other e-thing does two or more of the following, I include it under my personal definition of appropriate tech:

  • reduces or eliminates the need for a car trip or other long-distance trip;
  • expands my sustainable-living skills, including awareness of the natural world;
  • uses less energy than the non-electronic equivalent, and/or eliminates the need to purchase a separate device;
  • helps me be better at serving my community, doing my work.

How about you — got any apps or other e-tools you consider indispensable?

By the way, there are quite a few apps out there for plant identification, but I haven’t tried any of them yet so am not qualified to comment. If you have tried any, drop me a line and tell me about your experience!