When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with FernGully: The Last Rainforest, a movie from the early 90s with a strong environmental message. I saw the movie for the first time when I was four, and my siblings and I watched it over and over for years not because of its educational value but because it was a fun and entertaining movie for little kids (heck, I still watch it every time it’s on). But without me knowing it, the movie taught me important lessons about environmental responsibility and ingrained them in me for the rest of my life.
In the movie, a bunch of fairies live the forest of FernGully and have to save it from a giant polluting force of destruction named Hexxus and the evil loggers. The main character, a fairy named Crysta, befriends a human, Zach, and a crazy bat named Batty. Batty escapes to FernGully from the animal testing facility that fused wires and antennae to his head– an experience he describes in an awesome rap (voiced by Robin Williams). From then on, when I saw trash on the ground I thought of my film friends Crysta and Batty and would throw it away, not because I knew a whole lot about waste management, but because the movie said not to pollute, and littering was polluting. The movie FernGully, along with the examples of my parents, taught me environmental responsibility at a young age, and I was glad to have been influenced so positively about conservation and sustainability before I even knew what those terms meant.
Now, there’s a great game that teaches the same values FernGully taught me to a new generation of kiddies. Rescue Reef is a recently launched iOS game that has players rescue endangered sea animals from polluted waters, nurture them to health, and release them back into the wild for rewards. Players rescue as many of the four species of marine life present in the game (fish, mammals, invertebrates, and reptiles) in an effort to build the ultimate wildlife sanctuary.
The game was developed by SGN, a leading developer and TriplePoint client, as a spin-off of their other leading title, Fluff Friends Rescue. This week, SGN and and Philippe Cousteau’s EarthEcho International, a non-profit organization dedicated to engaging youth in environmental action, announced a partnership to raise awareness and charitable donations for ocean conservation. SGN will donate a percentage of revenues from Rescue Reef back to EarthEcho’s various youth dedication efforsts.
The announcement comes as part of SGN’s ongoing initiative to offer a collection of fun and educational games, with more partnerships planned in the future.“Our passion at SGN to create cross-platform games that are not only engaging, but also have a higher purpose led us to the partnership with Philippe and EarthEcho,” said Chris DeWolfe, co-founder and CEO of SGN. “We’re convinced that making fun games and educating the world on important issues aren’t mutually exclusive. We plan to release two additional games by the end of the year that both entertain and empower our audience in support of charitable causes.”
Kimberly Muller, author of the acclaimed children’s book Last Night I Swam With A Mermaid, inspired the partnership between SGN and EarthEcho. Muller’s book is another great example of a piece that teaches kids environmental responsibility. As the adventure unfolds, readers learn that humans and ocean creatures alike are all connected, and therefore we must respect and protect one another, our planet, and ourselves. Inspired by her children’s love of the ocean, video games, and their natural inclination to make a difference, Muller felt it was important to use this platform as a way to engage this generation in giving back.
As for me, I’m just glad to see companies making the effort to teach environmental responsibility through fun and games, so in playing them over and over again, kids will get the message of the importance of protecting the environment before they’re even aware of what they’re learning.
Interested in checking out Rescue Reef for a kiddie you know? You can download it here. Readers, where did you learn environmental responsibility as a kid? Sound off in the comments below. If you know of other great games that teach kids about the environment, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.