While gadgets and their production are often the source of carbon footprints, particularly as they are items you want rather than need, technological advancements can aid the green campaigner in keeping emissions to a minimum. Some of the ones below are useful, some a bit impractical while others are, well, a bit weird!
This nifty bag does what it says on the tin: it’s a bag that has a small solar panel that can be used for charging batteries and small gadgets such as tablets or mobile phones. The bag has been designed to accommodate all the current names in technology and can recharge iPods, Blackberry phones, GPS devices, gaming devices and much more. It will take eight hours to charge fully if it is not overcast and is ideal if you are touring and plan to be outdoors a bit and need devices such as camera, phones or a GPS. It does weigh 1.4kg though – wear it for a full day and you may be able to arm-wrestle Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Again, the name says it all. It charges with sunlight and is kind of an electric fence for bugs. It’s handy for outdoors and camping and will no doubt get rid of mosquitos and other pests. Just remember, it will also zap insects that you actually want in your garden. Still, if you want to enjoy a glass of wine outside without being devoured by bugs or would like to enjoy a meal without being swarmed by flies, this gadget is worth considering.
We South Africans are a security conscious lot but often forget that security devices and use electricity. Motion activated lights are old hat but there is a ne generation of these lights that are fitted with LED bulbs that will last for approximately thirty thousand hours (these lights can be left to a relative as a family heirloom – be sure to mention this in your final will and testament). They also swivel three-hundred degrees and can run off rechargeable batteries.
And for an eco-friendly gadget the kids will love: this kit can transform into six different solar powered toys. In a nutshell, you can build a robotic boat, airboat, puppy, plane, windmill or car with this kit. Once your child has decided on a type of object, simply point the panel towards the sun and watch the robot become animated.
If you have trouble remembering how long you have spent in the shower and would like to cut down on your water usage, the Water Pebble is one gadget to consider. They are placed near the plug hole in a shower. Upon first use, it records how long you have been in the shower. Thereafter, it uses green, amber and red lights to let you know how long you've been showering. Eventually, it will move through the series of warning light colours more quickly, and if you stick to the system and get out the shower when the light prompts you to, you will be on your way to showers that last under four minutes. Good idea, though a stop-watch could do the same. And unless it gives you some kind of electric shock (which it doesn’t) you could possibly ignore the lights. Nonetheless, it will at least get you thinking about water consumption and unlike most green gadgets, it gets you to change behavior patterns.