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Carbon Counts today announced its new casual mobile game: EverForest. It is a “play-to-plant” game, which aims to use the game to plant 100 million trees around the world by 2025.
With EverForest, Carbon Counts will translate gameplay into trees planted, with the help of reforestation nonprofits such as Eden Reforestation and Earth Lungs. It will also feature educational material to help players understand their environmental impact and how they can improve it. The company plans to soft-launch the game next year.
Carbon Counts raised $7 million, including $4.5 million in its latest round of funding, to put towards the game. Kevin Tidwell of the Grantham Environmental Trust, which participated in the latest round, said in a statement, “The team at Carbon Counts is empowering anyone, anywhere to have real climate impact through entertainment. We are incredibly excited to support the team at Carbon Counts in our shared goal of creating a more sustainable world.”
GamesBeat spoke with Michael Libenson and Brett Jenks, co-founders of Carbon Counts as well as CEO and board chair, respectively. They described the process of making the game and why they feel its purpose is important.
EverForest’s gameplay and purpose
For those familiar with mobile gaming genres, the name “EverForest” might bring to mind merging games such as “EverMerge.” According to Jenks and Libenson, it’s a single-player game where users follow a main story that aims to help educate them about climate change and personal action.
Libenson described playing the game: “It’s a free-to-play mobile game. There’s a character called M. Nature bringing together all the people and animals of the world to build a flourishing forest. She’s recruiting all the players to be forces of nature. . . The game is designed to be, at its core, social with limited-time events. We believe we can ultimately get many, many people to be players and contributors to making the world a better place.”
Jenks, who is the CEO of Rare.org, told GamesBeat, “There’s so little action on climate change that we started to ask ourselves, ‘How can we meet people where they are to address climate change?’ What are easier passages, easier messages that will meet people in their daily lives and make it easy to recognize that, with a few small changes, we can all do a lot better by the climate.”
Carbon Counts also plans to run events in the game that will educate gamers on other ways they can help the environment. “You start with baby steps,” said Libenson. “Can you step them up to the next thing? Having leftovers on Tuesday would be an example of wasting less food, or a Meatless Monday, or taking public transport or carpool instead of driving to work. There might be things in game where we ask users how many solar panels they can see on houses. We want people to see that the world is changing.”
Jenks added, “People want to do something, but most often they don’t know what to do. Because there’s been a lot of misinformation about climate change, the public’s really confused. The challenge was to find a way to engage tens of millions (eventually, we hope) first in playing mobile game, then moving people at their own comfort level to other changes. In the game space, we love the idea — and so far, so do people playing the game — that you can play a really fun game and not feel guilty about it. You’re not wasting time. You’re enabling tree-planting, and eventually you’re enabling yourself and others to take on new behaviors that will make the world a better place. People want purpose and to reduce this uncertainty on the climate future. This is where the world is headed.”
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