The Granite Tower
A Door To Environmental Protection, Tree Planet
Kim Hyoun Jung  |
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승인 2014.10.06  20:14:01
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As human society develops, there are numerous things that are lost, such as environment and animal species. Especially, in the case of the environment, it takes years to restore it to its original state. To seek the most effective and expedient method possible, Tree Planet has come up with a brilliant method. By promoting people to plant trees virtually through Tree Planet game, it is propelling its way to conserve the environment by planting trees in reality.  

It is a well-known fact that these days various industries are logging trees recklessly for the sake of their profits. Even though they know that it takes a long time to put the environment back to the original state, companies are blinded by their profits, so they do not hesitate to exploit nature. Arbor Day, which was designed to promote modern people to plant trees, has now been repealed to be not considered as a national holiday. Such change even makes people to lose motivation to plant trees in contemporary society.

What is Tree Planet?

The CEO of Tree Planet, Kim Hyoung Soo, was interested in the environment ever since he was young. He even made documentary videos regarding illegal whaling and natural burials and was awarded a Minister prize. Kim said, “I felt a limitation of the documentary videos. The message of the videos did influence people but it was just temporary and did not lead to actions of people. I wanted to come up with something that would make people take action.”

Tree Planet was established to promote people to plant trees and to prevent further damage to the environment. Its motto is to make everyone in the world find a method to plant trees. Kim said, “I believe Tree Planet has its own value in that it makes people be closer towards environmental issues when they know the problems and do not take actions in reality.” There are two main ways of how it is operated; one is through the game, Tree Planet, and the other is through Star Forest.

Through the game, people are able to plant and grow trees virtually. When the trees are fully grown in the game, the company plants trees in the real world on behalf of those people. Knowing that modern people cannot spare their time planting tress because of their busy lives, the company is doing the work instead. When planting trees in South Korea, Tree Planet signs a memorandum of understanding with the government. Then it cooperates with other companies and plant trees. Tree Planet mostly corporates with NGOs and international organizations when it is planting trees in foreign countries.

The Star Forest model is also very interesting. Kim answered, “I realized that most of the people named trees in the game with celebrities’ names. Then, I thought about what would happen if some of the forests were named by certain celebrities. I formed such forests and it was a huge success.” Star Forest is run by fundraising from fans of celebrities. Fans are enthusiastic about forming a forest that goes by the name of a celebrity that they like. There are about 34 Star Forests in total.

Tree Planet is considered as a social enterprise as it conserves the environment and contributes to the society. Most of the sponsorship is provided by governmental institutions, NGOs and companies that have formed a partnership. Tree Planet puts advertisements or logos in the game to make people notice when they play games. Through the sponsorship from various companies, it is able to plant trees worldwide without limitation. It has planted trees in eight countries and within 38 forests and planted approximately 470,000 trees worldwide for four years. In can be definitely said that Tree Planet is a success.

Why is it So Popular?

Currently, Tree Planet is designated as a business observer in the United Nations (UN) Convention to Combat Desertification as the sixth business. It is also nominated as the official mobile application in various events including UN and international conferences. Considering the fact that it has only been four years since Tree Planet’s establishment, such achievements show how Tree Planet is recognized not only in South Korea but also within the international community.

Kim said, “We send pictures and videos to people through e-mails in order to show them how trees are planted in the real world. Through such a process they start to realize that their participation through games is significant and changing the society slowly.” Kim emphasized that letting people to feel and see results directly increases motivation for people to plant trees through the game.

To allure young people to play Tree Planet, the company provides an opportunity for individuals to write letters for each tree that they have planted in the game. Whenever the individuals write letters, they receive replies from the tress from the company. Through this method, it helps young people to communicate and further commune with trees. They will slowly realize the importance and preciousness of trees through the letters.

The main goal of Tree Planet is to make a world where the environment and human beings can coexist together. It is not only limiting its plans to planting trees but it is further thinking about protecting polar bears by installing GPS on them. Tree Planet is also seeking to create games wherein players can build drinking wells. Kim believes there are tons of ideas that can contribute to the environment as well as the human society as a whole. Tree Planet is propelling its way to perform as a social enterprise without a hitch. 

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