Pokemon GO Community Day
Image: Niantic

When Pokémon GO was at its peak, it encouraged millions across the world to get outside and go for a walk. While it made a few headlines for the wrong reasons, it actually got people exploring the places that they live, and even places they've never been to before, all in the pursuit of finding a gym or catching a brand new Pokémon.

Developer Niantic — who are also responsible for Pikmin Bloom and Ingress — is looking to do more good in the world by partnering up with the search engine Ecosia to help with reforestation efforts. Now, you might be thinking, "why?", but Ecosia is well-known for donating a large portion of its profits (80%) towards replanting trees. This is the first time the company has partnered with a video game developer, and Niantic will be funding the planting of up to 100,000 trees a month until the end of July.

It all kicks off on Saturday 23rd April, which is the next Community Day for Pokémon, Pikmin, and Ingress. Every player who plays during Community Day hours and walks 5km will result in the companies planting a new tree. It's a lovely little incentive that adds to Ecosia's already admirable task. And Community Day up until the end of July will be included in this incentive, which is fantastic news. So you can feel doubly good about catching those Stuffuls on Saturday or planting your digital petals.

Here are all the details of the partnership from Ecosia:

Ecosia, the world’s leading green search engine which uses advertising profits to invest in tree planting around the globe, is teaming up with Niantic to enable augmented reality (AR) gamers to plant trees during Niantic Community Days over the next four months.

Starting with Niantic’s next Community Day on April 23, the company will plant a tree with Ecosia for every gamer playing Pokémon GO, Pikmin Bloom or Ingress that moves 5 kilometres up to 100,000 trees a month. Niantic will repeat this for its community days until the end of July, with the potential to plant 400,000 trees in reforestation and biodiversity hotspots to combat the worst effects of the climate crisis.

Catch a Mew, plant a tree

Niantic’s monthly community days bring players together to an event location to play its roster of AR games in person. With 65 locations available globally this April, thousands of people are expected to come together in cities such as Berlin, Dubai, London, Sao Paulo and Sydney to catch rare Pokémon, plant mushrooms and flowers and hack portals.

The company’s games have been a resounding success in encouraging people to get outside and meet up with their friends to play games and fit in some exercise. Niantic’s partnership with Ecosia to plant trees for every 5km a gamer walks is also enabling its millions of players to contribute to investing in the planet for future generations whilst they have fun.

Ecosia has planted over 145 million trees to fight the climate crisis across the world. From protecting lemur habitats in Madagascar to resorting desertified land in Burkina Faso and making forests more resilient to fires in Australia, Ecosia currently supports 60 projects in over 30 countries and works with carefully vetted NGOs and tree-planting organisations such as the Jane Goodall Institute Austria. The company is committed to using reforestation and nature-based solutions to solve our climate emergency.

Ruby Au, Tree Planting Projects Network and Impact Officer at Ecosia, said: “We’re delighted to provide a simple way for Niantic’s millions of players to be climate active as they come together for Community Days over the next few months. Partnering with world-leading companies like Niantic enables us to continue to fund reforestation and biodiversity projects around the world to support communities and invest in our planet for the future.”

Yennie Solheim, Director of Social Impact at Niantic, said: "We're very excited to further our sustainability work by engaging directly with players in the real world. Thanks to Ecosia, we're unlocking real impact by tying outdoor exploration to planting trees."

It is, in fact, Earth Day today, so this is a great way to kick off some environmentally-friendly gaming. it also ties in really nicely with Pokémon GO's sustainability week.

Will you be taking part in these Community Days? Let us know.