Blog Action Day: Get Your Mac Involved!

This year AppStorm is taking part in Blog Action Day to raise awareness about clean water and water conservation. We’re going to take a moment to think how using your Mac also uses up the world’s water resources, and showcase a few apps useful for understanding this better.

We’ll also think about a few fundraising ideas that you could explore, using the software already on your Mac! Join us after the break for some handy Mac tips, and fascinating environmental information.

Technology and Water are Linked

It’s difficult to see the connection between your laptop and water usage. After all, water and electronic gadgets are usually kept as far away from one another as possible! The truth is that there’s an enormously important link between your Mac and water – energy.

In more or less every power plant around the world, water makes up a substantial cost. It cools the incredible heat produced by oil and gas power stations, and turns the hydro-electric turbines in others. Without water, we wouldn’t have any power – it’s as simple as that.

Whenever you plug your iPhone into the wall to charge, about half a litre of water must flow through kilometers of pipes, pumps, and the heat exchangers of a power plant. That’s a lot of water for a one hour iPhone charge!

There’s an App for That!

Although you’ll struggle to find many Mac applications designed to inform you about water usage and conservation, the iPhone is another story altogether. iPhone.AppStorm has published a great article today, looking at a number of different iPhone apps that help you stay on top of how much water you use.

They include:

  • Water Buddy – This makes it easy to keep track of your household water readings
  • Waterprint – Telling you how much water is required to make certain products.
  • How Blue Are You? – Part of American Standard’s Responsible Bathroom campaign to raise awareness for water conservation and provide tips to make your home more water friendly.

I’d like to highlight one extra iPhone application here, which I particularly love. The Virtual Water Project shows you graphically how much water is used to make many of the products you use and take for granted every day. Everyone loves a good infographic, and this interactive app is a real eye-opener.

Putting Your Mac to Good Use

It’s easy to think of your Mac purely as a tool for work or entertainment (watching videos, listening to music – you name it). But what about using some of the power encompassed in OS X for fundraising?

Make a Photo Calendar with iPhoto

Every year, one of the Christmas presents I give to my family is a beautiful photo calendar designed in iPhoto. These things are gorgeous, and make absolutely fantastic gifts.

Rather than using a calendar as a gift this year, why not offer to sell them to your friends and family (for a healthy profit!), and donate the extra proceeds you make to a water charity?

Burn and Sell a Family Video DVD

You could do a very similar thing with a video DVD of family moments, shot throughout the year. Family and friends would definitely be happy to donate a few dollars towards the cost of producing it, and you could give the extra money collected to a charity (I’ve recommended two below).

Everyone wins! You get to play around in iDVD, your family get a beautiful DVD, and you can also give money towards building a fresh water well in the developing world. Who’d have thought that iDVD could ever be used for such a noble cause…

Offer Your Mac Expertise!

Last but not least, think about all those times that a friend asks you for your advice with a technical Mac issue…

Rather than reluctantly agreeing each time (or pocketing a few dollars), why not declare that you’ll take $5 for each technical support request and donate it to charity?

Picking a Charity

There are two widely known charities that are solely dedicated to the issue of clean water, both of which make a great choice for a fundraising or sponsored project:

  • is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization committed to providing safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries. There are various ways to get involved with their work.
  • charity: water is another non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Backed by a handful of famous faces and celebrities, they guarantee that 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Share Your Ideas!

Do you have any other ideas for fundraising on your Mac? I’d love to hear them, so please feel free to share in the comments.

Also, if you run your own blog, have you signed up for Blog Action Day this year? It isn’t too late to write something relevant and interesting about the issue of water. Help to do your bit, and spread the word today!