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Download these apps to help you understand your climate

As gardeners, we tend to be more in tune with the planet than our non-gardening friends might be. This sometimes happens unintentionally as we start to pay attention to frost dates, harsh weather, and pollinators. Often, a side effect of gardening is finding a parallel passion for saving the planet and doing our part to be kinder and more thoughtful about the way we live.

With these apps, you’ll not only be able to better understand the planet you live on, but you’ll become a better gardener as you begin to see the bigger picture that even a small kitchen garden can have on the climate.

when to seed start
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It can be challenging as a gardener to keep up with which plants should be planted when and if those dates change according to your specific zone. Instead of keeping messy and unorganized papers and notebooks filled with notes, download the Gardenate app to plan, track, and learn about your garden and what it needs during each stage and season. All you have to do is enter your plant hardiness zone, and the app will change all the dates and suggestions based on where you’re located. The app will let you know when it’s best to seed start your tomatoes and when you should transplant those into the ground. The app will also send calendar reminders to help you remember to check in on your plants and when to start harvesting.

You can track plant wish lists, planting times, notes, photos, and use any of the 90 vegetables already in the database, or you can add your own. Use this app to keep track of your garden right from your phone.

Earth Now

With the media deciding what is and isn’t important for us to know, it can sometimes be hard to figure out what’s actually going on with our planet and its ever-changing climate. That’s why it’s so important for organizations like Jet Propulsion Laboratory to produce high quality and fact-only information as they have with the Earth Now app. On this app, you can visually see what’s going on in the world. For example, the smoke from the wildfires in Siberia is visible from space, or you can follow tropical storms. While social media is raving about the latest meme, you’ll be tracking, up-to-date, and knowledgeable about this planet and what other humans on it might be going through. It’s a great way to stay informed and to keep yourself in perspective. And the best part is—it’s free.

Using the app, you can also check Earth’s “vital signs” such as air temperatures, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, sea level, and water vapor. These types of filters can be an excellent way for a gardener to prepare their garden for a heatwave or for a storm that might knock over unsupported plants.

scary climate change
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Instead of just sitting on your couch, watching Earth Now, and wondering how we can ever cure the hurt we’ve caused to the planet, you can download the swrm app. This app helps you keep track of your carbon footprint and even gives you tips and tricks on lowering it. While many climate change apps are designed to fill your screen with scary facts and overwhelming destruction, this app will allow you to take action and feel better about doing your part.

To use it, you’ll create an account and use the scanner to check each item you purchase to see its carbon footprint. You’ll also be able to track your travel. There are options for bus, train, plane, and car, and all you have to do is add the date and the length of time you traveled. The other option is for household devices. Add into the app how much time you spend on the computer, iPad, smartphone, or microwave, and you’ll get an estimation of how much bigger that makes your carbon footprint.

At first, when you see your impact on the climate, it might feel overwhelming; however, now that you know where you’re at, you can start to lower your footprint and change the way you live in meaningful ways. swrm has even included a feature where you can earn awards for reducing your footprint. You can even challenge friends and family and make changing the world a part of your life and theirs. All of this is branded with adorable honeybee icons and graphics to make the user experience fun and enjoyable.

It might all feel overwhelming and hopeless sometimes, but having a way to educate yourself and take action can make you feel better about yourself and the situation at hand. There’s no denying that something needs to change if we want to stop harming the planet, but it doesn’t start with the global governments; it begins with you.

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Rebecca Wolken
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Rebecca's has written for Bob Villa and a Cincinnati based remodeling company. When she's not writing about home remodeling…
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