Pokemon GO developer Niantic recently partnered up with PlayMob and environmental outreach firm Mission Blue to host a global cleanup event for Earth Day, and has announced that it is donating $250,000 to Mission Blue in order to help further the company's efforts of spreading awareness, protecting marine life and cleaning up the planet. The event manifested as 68 different happenings across 19 countries, where about 4,200 Pokemon GO trainers gathered together and cleaned up around 4,300 kilograms of trash and other debris. Some of these efforts are reportedly still ongoing. The first Pokémon GO Earth Day Cleanup united trainers from South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States and more, and was considered a smashing success.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue and a collaborator on Google Oceans, likened the ocean to the "lungs of the planet," and says that mass cleanup efforts like this one help to keep trash and pollution out of the oceans, where it can spread out and wreak havoc on worldwide ecosystems both in and out of the water. On top of a $5,000 total donation from trainers who helped clean things up, Niantic's $250,000 donation is going to be used by Mission Blue to conduct an expedition to the island nation of Palau. The country has developed a unique approach to waste and pollution management through watershed management and community efforts, and Mission Blue plans to head out to Palau in the fall of 2018 to see how well the approach is working, if it is sustainable, and most importantly, if it is scalable and whether scaling up an operation of that sort would yield tangible benefit to the oceans.
Niantic is not the only tech firm to embrace and propagate a healthy appreciation for the environment by any means. Google, for example, recently announced that it is buying enough renewable energy to offset 100% of its total energy usage. Taking a sustainable approach is not just the ethical thing to do, it also garners goodwill and mindshare with consumers, making it a popular endeavor for large tech firms these days as they vie for not only consumers' wallets, but their consideration and continued use of services.