When sixteen-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg gave her impassioned speech at this year’s UN Climate Action Summit in New York, she was met with a mix of varying responses when she called out the world’s biggest leaders and berated them for leaving the burden of climate change on the shoulders of future generations.
However, one defining outcome was made clear—today’s young generation acknowledges the urgency to take matters into their own hands to save the Earth. Just like Greta, millennial youth from all over the world desire to do their share in protecting the environment but may be at a loss on how to do so.
It doesn’t help that they have unfortunately developed a reputation for being lazy or aimless, having grown up as the “digital generation” on their mobile phones and gadgets. The good news is that tech companies and businesses are doing their part to encourage the youth to take on a more sustainable lifestyle, using the very same digital technology that has been seen as their weakness.
GCash, the innovator in the country’s mobile wallet scene, has introduced its greenest innovation yet that is seen to give rise to a new generation of Filipino “digital eco-warriors.”
GCash Forest is the latest feature on the GCash app that allows Filipino youth to do their part in taking care of the environment by planting trees using their mobile phones. GCash Forest partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN) to meet the goal of planting 365,000 trees after 365 days to help rehabilitate 1.2 million hectares of forest lands across the country by 2022.
Restoring forest cover is key to preventing natural disasters such as landslides, ensuring ample water supply for future use, and to preserve ecological biodiversity.
To plant trees through GCash Forest, GCash users need to collect “green energy” by frequently using the app. Since GCash is a mobile wallet, users are already doing a big favor for Mother Nature by avoiding traditional paper transactions.
A personal carbon tracker in the mobile wallet app monitors other eco-friendly activities such as walking, using eco-bags and other eco-conscious habits. A virtual tree on the app grows with increasing green energy, and users can eventually choose a tree species they wish to plant in a selected area at the Ipo watershed.
GCash arranges for an actual tree to be planted corresponding to a user’s virtual tree, complete with a certificate of ownership and serial number. Regular updates and fun facts on the tree’s further growth are made available as well on the GCash Forest feature.
With innovations like GCash Forest, mobile users can now create tangible and concrete contributions to conserving the environment. Indeed, a new wave of digital eco-warriors is on the rise and disproving the notion that today’s youth are not involved enough in important social issues.