In the midst of the holiday season with a country-wide shopping frenzy coming up, the real holiday spirit of giving and doing something good often gets lost as we all know. But iPhone owners can now by an app for a buck and help do their little part in saving the environment.
The idea is simple — you buy the A Real Tree app and a tree will be planted in one of 12 countries fighting deforestation and poverty. Developer Mokugift's focus was not to make a state of the art interface design or a new fancy app, but rather to create something with meaning and the possibility of having a positive impact.
Upon opening A Real Tree an animated tree will grow to the sound of birds singing and an "Explore the Forest" button will take you to the A Real Tree website, which offers more information. The developer further states that there are surprises to be found in the app (like making the bird fly) and more surprises will be available when you update. There is not much more to the app but as stated above the developer was mainly concerned with the impact and meaning rather than a multitude of gimmicks.
A Real Tree can be found in the "Entertainment" category of the app store, which is slightly curious. Hopefully more of these kinds of apps will be released and a new green category can be created.
The trees are planted by partner organizations Trees for the Future and Sustainable Harvest International in the following countries: Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Burundi, Senegal, Zambia, India, Philippines, and Haiti. The partner organizations educate farmers about sustainable farming techniques and provide them with seeds and resources. Academic research states that tropical tress are more beneficial to the fight against global warming than trees in non-tropical regions. And the app makes it simple and straight-forward — every time the app is purchased from the app store, a real tree is planted in one of these places.
The trees that are planted (banana, cocoa, coffee, etc.) furthermore benefit the local communities by creating sustainable farming. The creation of sustainable lifestyles in countries that suffer from the effects of global warming but that have no financial means to do anything about it, will benefit the local communities as well as the global community as a whole.
Many people out there know about the problem of global warming but are unsure how they can do their part. Planting a tree might seem like a drop in the ocean but if every iPhone owner would take part, the environmental achievement would be equal to taking 500,000 cars off the road. And especially in a time where we go out and consume the most, A Real Tree offers a simple and easy way to take part in saving the planet, one tree at a time, while at the same time empowering less fortunate communities to build sustainable lifestyles.
A Real Tree makes use of the iPhone platform to do something meaningful and anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch can take part. Go out there, buy a real tree for Christmas and help the environment!