Can Your iPhone Save a Rainforest? Nurturing Virtual Trees to Save Real Ones


Image credit: SyncStudios

I've never been much of a gamer, but I did always enjoy the constructive challenges posed by games like SimCity and its later spin offs. That's why I kind of liked the idea of a Facebook game that lets you nurture virtual chickens, and rescue real ones too. It seems a UK company has been having similar ideas—developing an iPhone app that allows you to plant a virtual tree and help it grow, meanwhile securing real tree in the Peruvian rainforest. So can the iPhone really help save the rainforest?The idea behind the CoolTree game is simple—every time you purchase the app you are securing a real tree in the Amazon rainforest. You get a certificate of sponsorship for your tree, which is located in the Ashaninka region of the Peruvian jungle. You then get to plant and nurture a virtual tree, managing its water, light, pollination and fruit, and help protect it from loggers and other threats. Once you have grown and protected your tree, you get to view your real tree's location via satellite through Google-Maps from within the app. This isn't the first time this has been done—A Real Tree iPhone App did something very similar back in 2008.

It's just one more green use for the iPhone alongside apps to help green your shopping; avoid hidden animal products, and locate electric vehicle charge points. (For more, see Jaymi's post on 100 iPhone apps for green shopping, travel, eating and fun.)

I'm sure green purists will argue, given the world's ever mounting e-waste problem, and even people desperate to be buried with their cell phones, that green iPhone apps are a little like driving to the recycling bank in your Hummer. But I hope those same purists are reading this site on a recycled laptop.

In a world where smart phones are becoming the norm, it's great to see smart minds figuring out how to use their incredible capabilities to advance the cause of sustainability.

More on iPhones and Sustainability
3rd Whale iPhone App Makes Green Shopping Easy
iPhone App Scans Labels for Hidden Animal Products
100 iPhone apps for Green Shopping, Travel, Eating and Fun
Solar iPhone? Solar iPod? Solar MacBook?
iPhone: Greener Gadget, Yes or No?

Tags: Activism | Biodiversity | Cell Phones | Peru | United Kingdom

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