8 environment-friendly open software projects you should know

Celebrate Earth Day by contributing to these projects dedicated to improving our environment.
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For the last few years, I've been helping Greenpeace build its first fully open source software project, Planet 4. Planet 4 is a global engagement platform where Greenpeace supporters and activists can interact and engage with the organization. The goal is to drive people to action on behalf of our planet. We want to invite participation and use people power to battle global issues like climate change and plastic pollution. Developers, designers, writers, contributors, and others who are looking for an open source way to support environmentalism are more than welcome to get involved!

Planet 4 is far from the only open source project focused on the environment. For Earth Day, I thought I'd share seven other open source projects that have our planet in mind.

Eco Hacker Farm works to support sustainable communities. It advises and supports projects combining hackerspaces/hackbases and permaculture living. The organization also has online software projects. Visit its wiki or reach out on Twitter to learn more about what Eco Hacker Farm is doing.

Public Lab is an open community and nonprofit organization that works to put science in the hands of citizens. Formed after the BP oil disaster in 2010, Public Lab works with open source to aid environmental exploration and investigation. It's a diverse community with lots of ways to contribute.

A while back, Don Watkins, a community moderator here on Opensource.com, wrote about Open Climate Workbench, a project from the Apache Foundation. The OCW provides software to do climate modeling and evaluation, which can have all sorts of applications.

Open Source Ecology is a project that aims to improve how our economy functions. With an eye on environmental regeneration and social justice, the project seeks to redefine some of our dirty production and distribution techniques to create a more sustainable civilization.

Fostering collaboration around open source and big data tools to enable research in ocean, atmosphere, land, and climate, "Pangeo is first and foremost a community promoting open, reproducible, and scalable science." Big data can change the world!

Leaflet is a well-known open source JavaScript library. It can be used for all sorts of things, including environmentally friendly projects like the Arctic Web Map, which allows scientists to accurately visualize and analyze the arctic region, a critical ability for climate research.

And of course, no list would be complete (not that this is a complete list!) without pointing to my friends at Mozilla. The Mozilla Science Lab community is, like all of Mozilla, fiercely open, and it's committed to bringing open source principles to the scientific community. Its projects and communities enable scientists to do the sorts of research our world needs to address some of the most pervasive environmental issues.

How you can contribute

This Earth Day, make a six-month commitment to contribute some of your time to an open source project that helps fight climate change or otherwise encourages people to step up for Mother Earth. There must be scores of environmentally minded open source projects out there, so please leave your favorites in the comments!

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Laura Hilliger is a writer, educator and technologist. She’s a multimedia designer and developer, a technical liaison, a project manager, an open web advocate who is happiest in collaborative environments. She’s a co-founder of We Are Open Co-op, an Ambassador for Opensource.com, is working to help open up Greenpeace, and a Mozilla alum. Find her on Twitter and Mastodon as @epilepticrabbit

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