365K in 365 Days: When Technology Meets Environmental Care

Saving the environment has never been this easy, fun, exciting and tech-mobile-friendly!

Weeks ago, i was able to attend an event that fired up my long-time advocacy – to help and encourage everyone to save the environment. I was able to participate in many different campaigns to rescue our beloved Mother Earth but this latest innovation on environmental preservation is really interesting and could actually help a lot if disseminated fully to this tech-inclined generation.

With every virtual tree grown, a real tree will be planted. This goal of GCash, the leading mobile wallet in the Philippines, will truly drive the latest ‘green’ feature (as they call it) of their mobile application called the GCash Forest.

This feature lets subscribers plant virtual trees that will have real-Iife counterparts, making it possible to increase further our country’s forest cover. As mentioned, GCash Forest aims to plant 365 thousand trees with the help of all GCash subscribers by the end of 365 days.

This goal will somehow ease the problem on deforestation in the Philippines. Fact check, we are losing 47,000 hectares of forest cover every year according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Forest Management Bureau (FMB). The FMB also reported the need to rehabilitate 1.2 million hectares of forest lands by 2022 to prevent landslides, ensure water availability, and preserve biodiversity. This might be a huge numbers to look at but if we take necessary actions now and consider participating in various environmental care activities, we can surely achieve our goal.

In addition during the event, Mr. Joel Palma, President of WWF and one one of the partners of the GCash Forest project, also mentioned that 20 years ago, we (the Philippines) are losing as much as 200,000 hectares of forest, when asked about how big a problem is forest denudation in the country.

Symbolic Tree Planting. (left to right) Chris Manguera, GCash Chief Marketing Officer, Joel Palma, President of WWF, Anthony Thomas, CEO of Mynt, Titon Mitra, UNDP Country Director, Ernie Lopez, President and CEO of ABS-CBN Publishing

” This is not just about forest and wood, its all about forest for water, water for agriculture, for our food. So it is really important to rehabilitate and ensure that our productivity is put back into place. That’s the main essence of this partnership. What WWF is doing is, we’re trying to get more partners like United Nations Corporates and GCash, and make use of technology to do something about it,” Mr. Palma said to answer Ms. Earth 2017 Karen Ibasco’ question on how WWF helps solve the problem.

How it works?

To plant trees through GCash Forest,

  • Users need to collect ”green energy” by frequently using the app
  • Users who get enough green energy can choose which species of trees they want to plant in a selected area at the lpo watershed
  • Once the trees are physically planted, users get to receive a certificate of ownership with a serial number, fun facts and updates on the growth of their trees on their GCash apps

Chris Manguera, GCash Chief Marketing Officer, shares his experience in creating GCash Forest

According to Anthony Thomas, Mynt CEO, GCash Forest is about making it easier, more convenient, and even rewarding for everyone to take care of our environment for the benefit of future generations

”GCash is no longer just providing an excellent platform for accessible financial products and services but also enabling Filipinos to be more active in responding to real-life issues, such as climate change mitigation through reforestation,” he added.

To implement its tree-planting initiatives, GCash Forest partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and The Biodiversity Finance Initiative (BIOFIN). The DENR will provide land resources in lpo Watershed, an essential component of the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watersheds system supplying 98 percent of Metro Manila’s water. WWF will be providing trees and manpower while BIOFIN will provide expertise on monitoring. 

It is undeniable that our present lifestyle revolves around technology. We’ve been immersed with all current digital platforms, which make our lives more convenient, practical and fully-automated. With this, launching this type of mobile app feature that fuses technology and environmental advocacy is very ideal and has a huge potential to succeed.

Congratulations GCash! This initiative is a huge leap in environmental preservation and soon, i’m sure, we will all reap the fruits of our labor! Padayon!

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