ByBrian Brassaw

Apr 19, 2018

Searching for a good Earth Day cleanup event to attend on April 22? You may find a few great options in an unlikely place.

Niantic, maker of the hit 2016 game Pokémon Go, is gamifying Earth Day and encouraging millions of players to attend cleanup events around the globe.

Remind Me, What’s Pokémon Go?

Launched in 2016, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game played via smartphone. Players, called trainers in the game, open up the app and wander around the physical world trying to find and capture Pokémon. When they find one, it pops up on the screen, appearing like it’s in the physical world.

The game was a massive success, amassing millions of players in every country where it was launched. While the game has struggled to keep many players engaged after its initial launch, it has maintained a strong, loyal fan base.

While a large portion of the game is performed alone, there are in-game battles, where players can meet up in the physical world to engage their Pokémon in contests against one another on their phones. These physical meetups are a big part of how Niantic is tying in various Earth Day events.

Earth Day Cleanup Events

In order to run these Earth Day events, Niantic is working with Mission Blue, a global coalition aimed at supporting marine protected areas; local NGOs around the world; and Playmob, an organization that strives to make a positive social impact through gaming.

Events will be hosted by Niantic or local nonprofits, with the support of local governments. Niantic will bring trainers together in large public areas that are in need of significant cleanup. The primary focus of these events will be picking up garbage and cleaning up natural areas. Sixty-nine events are planned across 18 countries on six continents, from Little Rock, Arkansas, to Sakumono Beach, Ghana.

Players who attend are rewarded in the game and — if enough players around the world attend these events — each player will be rewarded with in-game bonuses for the next 48 hours. A substantial number of these events are already full; visit the Pokémon Go website to see if you can sign up for an event in your area.

Using Tech for Good

If you’ve been staying up to date on some of the latest tech news, including data breaches and the negative consequences of social media, it can feel like much of our modern-day technology isn’t actually improving our lives. However, small and simple events like the Niantic Earth Day events are an important reminder that tech can be used for good.

When used conscientiously, technology can bring communities together and help them make the world just a little bit better. We hope to see more tech companies use their power and their communities to improve the world, rather than exclusively focusing on the almighty dollar.

By Brian Brassaw

Brian formerly managed the Earth911 Recycling Search and shared green living tips and tricks on Earth911’s Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts. Brian also shares DIY projects on Little Pilots Lounge.