Time and again, we come across many initiatives by activists, organizations, and communities to get ‘Back to Green’ and care for the planet. With Earth Day around the corner, we decided to go back to a couple of stories we’ve heard from our users who, through their initiatives, have been striving to shape a better future for communities and make the earth a healthy, green, and better place to live in. In the process, they have used technology that we wouldn’t typically equate with ‘green,’ making them advocates of a new kind of ‘Green Tech.’
A lot has been talked about the dark side of technology and how it is turning out to be a nemesis for Mother Nature. Interestingly, both these stories serve an alternate perspective – and this is not just limited to them using SignEasy to sign documents. The commonality stretches all the way to their belief in how technology and productivity tools have been aiding them in their pursuit of community betterment.
You may not realize it, but your must-have productivity or collaboration app also has massive Green Tech potential. Communication tools and networking platforms have already changed the way we communicate, making the world smaller, more accessible, and eventually, a greener place. Online meeting apps like Skype and Facetime not only save travel-time and money, they also reduce the carbon footprint of the corporate world.
And it’s not just traditional industries that benefit. Canadian farmer and technology expert Peter Gredig is a partner at AgNition, a mobile technology firm that focuses on what TechCrunch.com calls the new Queen of Green – AgTech. Though Peter predicts benefits for farmers from future-forward technologies like 3D printing and Google Glass, he still maintains that the most useful farm tool is a cell phone. According to him, the biggest challenge is to “try and understand all of the things your phone can do. Most of us are using 8, 10, or 12 per cent of what our phones can actually do.” Among Peter’s unlikely farm heroes are apps that just happen to do wonders in terms of farm productivity. Peter has been advocating the use of Skype and Facetime in farmers’ interactions with their mechanics, agronomists, and vets. He adds, “Every time I sell grain, the elevator sends me an email with a PDF file. Before, I would go home, print off the PDF, sign it, scan it, and email it back. Now, I have this SignEasy app and I can do all of that on my phone in 15 seconds.”
Environmental and community activists are a lot like entrepreneurs – they have a visionary approach to the future and aren’t afraid to go the extra mile to make it a reality. Like your typical entrepreneur, the activist is also on the lookout for innovative ways to solve problems and contribute to people’s lives, particularly by using technology and productivity hacks.
Community worker Neil van Dine and his organization Haiti Outreach are committed to social and economic change in one of the poorest countries in the world. In the past 23 years, they have developed more than 1500 wells and water systems for rural communities throughout Haiti, by not only drilling wells but also teaching the villagers sustainable water management practices.
In the quest to bring clean water and improve efficiency and quality of life within communities in Haiti, Neil found a productivity tool that was as committed to changing the status quo as he was. “As the head of our organization in Haiti, I am required to sign customs documents, government paperwork, reports, and so on. Since my work carries me all around the US and Haiti, the ability to use SignEasy on my iPhone has changed the way we work,” he says. “The complete lack of infrastructure makes our work arduous and challenging in the best of times. Getting contracts signed used to mean hours of travel over unpaved barely traveled ‘roads’ just to sign a contract for the next well or water system. Now, with SignEasy, it happens instantly. Allowing me to sign documents from essentially anywhere in the country. I have sometimes climbed to mountain tops in Haiti to get a cell signal that allows me to sign a contract on my phone and send it along.”
In the hands of community evangelists like Neil and Peter, Green Tech is the sweet spot that brings together technology and sustainability. And the key to finding it in your everyday technology, as Peter says, is just a matter of attitude. “Attitude is everything. It is really about identifying what the problems are that you are trying to solve and then looking for the technology to solve it.”
Join Neil and Peter in transforming communities. Get started with SignEasy.