Club Penguin and its millions of animated penguin inhabitants are going green. On April 22, 2010, the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, the popular children’s virtual world will launch a special online party and new ways for its players to exercise their passion for making the world a better place.
“Our players constantly ask for ways they can improve the virtual world of Club Penguin and the world at large, and we like to encourage that spirit of global citizenship and giving back,” says Lane Merrifield, co-founder of Club Penguin and executive vice president of Disney Online Studios. “Children today are far more environmentally aware than ever before and they truly want to make a difference. It’s important that their experiences on Club Penguin reflect and reinforce those ideals.”
The Earth Day party will allow the kids who play Club Penguin to work together to make good things happen in the online community, and will include the launch of a permanent recycling depot and community garden, which players will be responsible for maintaining. In addition, players will have the opportunity to help plant and nurture a community tree, which will become a permanent fixture on the virtual island’s snow-covered landscape. In an effort to further promote sustainability and encourage environmentally friendly behavior, Club Penguin will also offer suggestions on things kids can do in the real world.
“We hope by taking an active role in caring for the virtual environment of Club Penguin, where their penguin avatars live, work and play, the kids will realize they have an important role to play, and they’ll take those lessons into their home communities and find ways to make a positive difference in the real world,” says Merrifield.
Club Penguin is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and is enjoyed by players in more than 190 countries. Word filters and live moderators monitor chat and activity on the site and work to prevent the sharing of inappropriate or personally identifiable information. Club Penguin is free to play, however paying members receive special features such as front-of-the-line access to game features, exclusive parties and opportunities to customize their penguin and igloo.
The 2010 Earth Day party is just one example of Club Penguin’s ongoing efforts to motivate its players to help change the world. A portion of the proceeds from each Club Penguin membership purchase supports organizations working to improve the lives of children and families around the globe. The annual Coins for Change online giving campaign lets players vote on where some of those donations go, including to environmental causes.
Club Penguin also supports kids or schools that want to help a village in one of the world’s poorest regions with a matching gift program, and sponsors a free speaking tour and leadership program to empower elementary school students. For more information on these and other initiatives, visit http://www.clubpenguin.com/global-citizenship/.