Spring has sprung in the Northern Hemisphere! This seasonal change signals many things, including the time to give back to our planet and support the battle against climate change. Each year, we find ways to make a positive impact as Niantics through our products and resources.
We have incredible people who work hard to ensure that our games and products are fun, engaging, and inspire people to explore the world outside. In between the lines of code, mockups, and marketing plans are initiatives, features, and giving back opportunities that focus on sustainability. For example, Niantics on the 8th Wall team sponsored and supported a social impact buildfest at UT Austin’s Texas Immersive Institute, focusing on developing WebAR experiences that solve real-world problems. The winner of the buildfest, RecyclAR, created a project that allows users to point their phones at any object using image recognition and Bing Reverse Image Search to find out if it’s recyclable or not. Check it out here.
Niantics also rolled up their sleeves and got to work picking up litter, weeding out invasive plants, and planting new trees in areas near our offices. In Palo Alto, we focused on weeding out invasive species alongside Grassroots Ecology. In San Francisco, we joined forces with Hunter Pence and his nonprofit, Healthy Planet Project, to clean and reinvigorate Hilltop Park in Bayview. And in London, Niantics cleaned up Brockwell Park alongside Cleanup UK, collecting more than 10 bags of litter despite the rain and wind.
Product & Partners
In Pokémon GO, players participated in the annual Sustainability Campaign, displaying the evergreen Earth Day avatar shirt, walking together with in-game buddies, and catching event specific Pokémon.
We worked alongside the National Park Foundation to encourage folks to explore their local parks during National Park Week, a week full of free admission and exploration. We did this by using our Geofenced Billboards, a feature within Pokémon GO that connects players to location-specific messaging from partners.
Thanks to the combined efforts of our players and partners at Ecosia, the 301,000 trees we planted last year have flourished and grown into matured. Here are just a few of the updates from our partners around the world:
In Ethiopia, the Menschen für Menschen are caring for very healthy trees planted in agroforestry systems.
In Indonesia, the Gunung Saran Lestari Foundation in Borneo are monitoring the trees being planted in tembawang systems (forest gardens)
The trees that were planted in Kenya and Uganda with Trees for Humanity are creating buffer zones close to remnant forest patches to help conserve wildlife habitats, including the homes of two chimpanzee families.
We look forward to continuing our work in public spaces, especially as it relates to sustainability, and celebrating all the people, products, and players who have contributed to Earth Month.
– Yennie Solheim, Director of Social Impact