Just in time for Earth Day, Disney Parks and Resorts released its 2009 Conservation Report earlier today. The report, which highlights various programs, activities and educational initiatives Disney Conservation has parktaken over the past year, can be found here.
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/.
As part of a consolidated corporate responsibility report for The Walt Disney Company, Disney Cruise Line today released its 2009 Community Report, highlighting the many ways the company is involved in the ports it frequents throughout the world.
The report shares details on the line’s commitment in the areas of community outreach, environmental stewardship, and further outlines how the company provides a safe and comfortable workplace for cast and crew members.
“At Disney Cruise Line, we are proud to be involved with many communities around the world and strive to make a positive impact in all of the places we call home,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “Through our relationships with local leaders, we are able to extend our special brand of Disney magic beyond our ships and into the local communities where we live, work and play.”
In 2009, Disney Cruise Line and its cast and crew members contributed more than $252,000 in charitable, cash and in-kind merchandise and equipment donations to local organizations focused on developing children and supporting the environment across 13 unique ports of call.
The community report reflects a company-wide effort to build an integrated, transparent strategy that focuses on serving the needs of guests, cast and crew members, shareholders, business partners and local communities.
A few days ago, we revealed some of the new Earth Day limited-time-only merchandise from the Disney Store featuring the Alien from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3 with the tag line SAVE PLANET EARTH. Today, DisneyStore.com launched its Earth Day Boutique and although you won’t find any of that merchandise online, you will find dozens of other eco-friendly merchandise including Alien tees, a tree planting kit (pictured), a Muppets water bottle and re-useable tote and more eco-friendly merchandise.
Other items of special interest in the store include merchandise supporting the Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund and a special re-useable tote from Make-A-Wish in honor of its first annual World Wish Day on April 29 with proceeds going to charity.
To see all of the items now available for purchase, click the special link below.
Disney today announced Mrs. Julie Schnedler’s sixth grade Mediapolis Community School class as the national grand prize winner of the inaugural Disney’s Planet Challenge, a project-based learning environmental competition for 4th – 6th grade classrooms.
“It was such a tough decision for our judging committee to make. So many of the projects submitted exhibited environmental solutions grounded in science and teamwork”
Thousands of classrooms in all 50 states enrolled in Disney’s Planet Challenge, which is just in its first year as a national program. Since fall 2009, classes across the nation have been hard at work on environmental projects of their choosing. They spent months collecting data, conducting field research, coming up with solutions for problems, promoting community involvement and documenting their efforts along the way.
“It was such a tough decision for our judging committee to make. So many of the projects submitted exhibited environmental solutions grounded in science and teamwork,” said Dr. Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Environmental Affairs for The Walt Disney Company. “Mrs. Schnedler’s class submission for ‘Operation: Save the Quail’ went above and beyond in demonstrating a dedication to understanding the environmental impacts of actions and initiating real-life change that they can be proud of.”
Winners were chosen by a judging committee made up of scientists, environmental experts and educators including representatives from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and WestEd K-12 Alliance. State and regional winners will be announced this week on the program web site www.disney.com/planetchallenge.
Mrs. Schnedler’s class, located in a small rural community in Iowa, focused on saving the Northern Bobwhite Quail population for their project. The waning quail population – due to harsh weather and decreased prairie land – is a significant environmental issue facing Des Moines County. To restore the quails’ natural habitat, students collected information through computer research and field work. With the help of community members, the class restored acres of existing conservation space in Luckenbill Woods by conducting a controlled burn to prepare the land and replanting native vegetation that will benefit local quails, promote diversity of wildlife and help to control soil erosion. Furthering their efforts, the students wrote to the local Pheasants Forever chapter, which fulfilled a request to help fund the project. Their dedication will make it possible for future 6th grade classes to continue the work and nurture the new land.
The winning class will be honored in a recognition ceremony and parade at Disneyland® on May 7th, 2010, and featured on Disney Channel as youth environmental leaders. Regional and state winners will receive classroom grants, Disney prize packages, NSTA memberships and more.
Disney’s Planet Challenge promotes project-based learning and provides tailored lesson plans customized to reflect the curriculum standards of each state and grade level (grades 4-6). In recognition of tightening classroom budgets and the increasing importance of environmental science education, Disney’s Planet Challenge also offered a grant matching initiative with DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that connects individual “citizen philanthropists” with classrooms in need.
Disney’s Planet Challenge for the classroom, together with Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green for everyday life, are cornerstones of Disney’s focus to provide the youth of today with the knowledge and resources to positively impact the environment for future generations.
Disney’s Planet Challenge enrollment for the 2010/2011 school year is open now at www.disney.com/planetchallenge and will soon be expanded for middle school classrooms.
In honor of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, Disney Store unveiled a new line of eco-friendly merchandise today. Featuring the tag line ‘Save Planet Earth’ and featuring Alien from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, the new line of merchandise will be available at Disney Store locations nationwide only from April 12 though Earth Day, April 22.
The Alien-themed ‘green’ merchandise include fashionable ‘Save Planet Earth’ tote bags made from seven recycled bottles that were cleaned, smashed, melted and reused. Disney Store’s aluminum bottles can be reused over and over again, and the “Save Planet Earth” journals are made from recycled paper. A new line of T-shirts made from 100% organic cotton with the message “Love” and “Save Planet Earth” will also be available. Since the adorable three-eyed green alien from Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story serves as the mascot of these environmentally friendly products, Disney Store will also unveil an exclusive new plush alien to commemorate this special occasion.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach water park reopened for the spring and many of the bright colors – from the showcase “snow” on Summit Plummet to the smallest details at Lottawatta Lodge – are thanks to new environmentally-friendly paints.
In Florida, Walt Disney World Resort is a leader in the use of environmentally-friendly, low VOC paint. Some of the chemicals found in paint are volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. Previously, VOCs were considered essential to the durability and performance of paint, both in how well the paint withstood outdoor weather conditions and how quickly it dried.
Until Walt Disney World Resort began using the paint just a year or so ago, low VOC paint was not widely available at most large paint distributors in Florida.
Low VOC paint significantly reduces environmental emissions that react with other elements to produce ozone and cause air pollution. Low VOC paint improves those emissions as the paint dries, in some cases by 90%.
The Blizzard Beach rehab is an excellent example of a large-scale project using the paints. The use of low VOC paint is not mandated in Florida but its use is consistent with Disney’s longstanding commitment to the environment.
“This is one of our largest rehabs that we’ve ever had. We had a chance to go in while our park was closed and do a great refresh,” said Blizzard Beach GM Jean Gallagher. “With the ‘snow’ for example, we had our Imagineers and our art directors that come out and help direct what that painting looked like. So from the art side, you don’t just take a gallon of white paint – it’s got blue aspects, it’s got glistening ‘pixie dust’ so when the sun shines on it you can really see that shine.”
BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company announced today a $7 million investment in forest projects that will build on its long history of conservation and environmental stewardship. The projects will protect forests in the Amazon, the Congo and the United States safeguarding ecosystems that benefit climate and quality of life on the planet.
The investment is being made in partnership with leading non-governmental organizations Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and The Conservation Fund that, like Disney, put great emphasis on science and technical excellence.
Forest protection is one of the most effective ways to combat climate change, improve the livelihood of local communities and protect threatened wildlife. Healthy forests provide food, shelter and income to millions of people around the world. The projects supported by Disney will also benefit species ranging from gorillas in Africa to North American songbirds.
Support for these projects, using a variety of conservation strategies including avoided deforestation, reforestation, and improved forest management, supplement Disney’s companywide efforts to combat climate change by reducing fossil fuel use and switching to cleaner forms of energy.
“Disney has always been a conservation leader,” said Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger. “Now, more than ever, it’s essential to take swift action to preserve our most vulnerable natural environments for future generations and to be innovative in achieving that goal.”
Recently we told you about the United Nations applauding Tinker Bell’s commitment to the environment by making her an ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’ in a ceremony this past Sunday.
Below is a series of photos of Tink, the cast and crew of Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure who were in attendance of the event as well as a few other guests.
All photos by Alex J. Berliner © Berliner Studio/BEImages. All rights reserved. Courtesy of Disney.
In a step to help provide environmental awareness (and perhaps a tad of promotion), the United Nations named Tinker Bell the ‘Honorary Ambassador of Green’ early Sunday.
‘We’re delighted Tinker Bell has agreed to be our Honorary Ambassador of Green,’ said Kiyo Akasaka, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. ‘This beloved animated character can help us inspire kids and their parents to nurture nature and do what they can to take care of the environment.’
The announcement was followed by a screening of the film attended by the filmmakers and stars Mae Whitman and Raven Symone.
There will be a UN climate change conference taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark in December.
Note: additional photos from the event can be found here.