Can A Video Game Plant 1 Million Real Trees?

There are lots of online initiatives that claim to be capable of catalyzing real world change. We sign petitions, like Facebook posts, and accumulate points, all in the hope that somehow, somewhere along the line, our actions will make a difference. This process has been termed “slacktivism” and with good reason: it allows us to feel like we’re taking action, without interruption our regularly scheduled lives. But what if there was a guarantee that your actions were making the world a greener place?

A new video game for mobile devices claims it can take a bite out of climate change by harnessing the power of “playsourcing.” Tilt World asks players to help Flip (a determined tadpole) save Shady Glen, which is in dire need of reforestation. By tilting the device between portrait and landscape players control gravity and wind, so that Flip eats carbon, catches seeds, and avoids anything covered in the dreaded Blight. But as players progress to the game, their actions will drive reforestation efforts in Madagascar.

Help Flip Save Shady Glen

image via Tilt World

Throughout the past century, much Madagascar’s rainforests have disappeared. People have begun moving out of the cities, industries have started to expand, and the use of land for farming (particularly coffee) has dramatically increased. The massive deforestation of Madagascar created soil erosion that makes it appear to be ‘bleeding’ into the ocean when viewed from space. To give the game some real world clout, Tilt World makers XEOPlay partnered with WeForest.org. Points earned throughout the game can be used to “purchase” trees that will be planted in Madagascar.

Tilt World

image via Tilt World

“Fun and challenging game play directly tied with real world impact is a total first. The WeForest/Tilt World partnership is the start of a revolution in game play producing real and sustainable environmental benefits for the earth we all share,” said Bill Liao, founder of WeForest.

Tilt World is available on the iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3G, iPad, and iPod touch second generation and up. On sale now for $0.99 in the Apple App Store.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog