Disney’s Friends for Change, a movement that encourages kids to help the planet, is launching a new video spot about the oil spill in the Gulf. The program is also donating $100,000 to support clean-up efforts. The new content, premiering MONDAY, JULY 19, will encourage kids to communicate their feelings about the disaster, understand how they are already helping and learn more about how to protect our planet’s natural resources and wildlife.
“It’s important for us to speak to kids about this unprecedented environmental disaster, to acknowledge their emotions about the news we’re all seeing on a daily basis and encourage them to channel their feelings into positive action,” said Beth Stevens, senior vice president, Environmental Affairs for The Walt Disney Company. “Kids want to help and, even though the clean-up in the Gulf is a job for trained professionals, all local waterways lead to the ocean so we’re recruiting kids to help keep them clean.”
Included in the effort:
- Messages from kids, for kids – A new video spot features popular Disney Channel stars including Joe Jonas (JONAS L.A.), Brenda Song and Debby Ryan (both from The Suite Life on Deck) and Moises Arias (Hannah Montana). The young stars discuss their own feelings about the disaster and steps kids can take to make positive changes to keep local waterways clean. The new spot will run on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Radio Disney and Disney.com.
- Charitable Contribution – Kids are also helping make a difference thanks to their support of the Friends for Change song, “Make a Wave.” A $100,000 donation from the iTunes® proceeds of the song has been directed to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to support habitat, wildlife and community recovery in the region. The fund is donating this contribution to expert environmental organizations responding to the disaster in the Gulf region, including $50,000 to the National Audubon Society.
- Online content and resources – A new collection of Disney’s Friends for Change online content (www.Disney.com/ProjectGreen) will provide additional tips, step-by-step tool kits to organize community waterway clean-ups and resources for kids to learn more about why these actions matter.
Starting May 30, new on-air messages will begin airing on Disney Channel and Disney XD. They feature nearly forty Disney stars including the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato, as well as young environmental heroes. The spots will also be featured on Radio Disney and the recently redesigned program website, www.Disney.com/projectgreen.
The aim of this ambitious movement is to empower children to take charge when it comes to the environment, whether it’s their own piece of the planet or a big picture approach.
“With Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, kids are discovering that helping the planet is easy and fun when they work together and have the right tools,” said Jennifer Anopolsky, senior vice president, Corporate Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “In just one year, participation has exceeded our wildest expectations and we’re building on that momentum by extending Friends for Change to kids in other parts of the world and enhancing the program with fresh new content, local community events, and more grant money that will empower kids with even more ways to get involved.”
Twelve months after the launch of Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green, kids have made nearly two million personal promises to change their daily routines, from unplugging electrical devices when not in use, to taking shorter showers.
Kids can also go global with their votes on where to allocate Disney grant money. As a result, one million dollars in grants from Disney are now supporting 25 critical environmental projects around the world.
With the new videos and web content debuting May 30, young people will learn even more ways to recycle, save water, help habitats and reduce energy consumption. They will also have the opportunity to again vote on how another $1 million in grants will support worthy environmental causes throughout the year.
Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green is setting the pace for environmental initiative. With nearly two million promises, kids have pledged to:
- Cut 70,000 tons of carbon emissions annually
- Reduce/recycle 2.4 million pounds of trash annually
- Save 120 million gallons of water per month
Kids are also learning about the power of their vote. Thanks to their input, Disney has donated more than one million dollars to 25 environmental projects in 15 countries, including:
- $50,000 to the National Resource Council to help fund a forest restoration project in Costa Rica.
- $25,000 to the African Wildlife Foundation to help protect elephant habitats in Zambia.
Kids can turn their own local environmental project into a reality. Disney’s Friends for Change grants, in collaboration with Youth Service America, provide seed money to help get them started. The next call for grant applications opens June 7. To date, these grants have positively influenced nearly 8,000 kids. See http://www.youthserviceamerica.org/grants/programs/friends-for-change for more information.
Kids can also help raise money through iTunes downloads of Disney’s Friends for Change anthems Send It On and Make A Wave. At last count, nearly $700,000, representing 100-percent of download proceeds, have been contributed to the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green is set expand locally and globally in the coming year:
- Local events in cities across the country will inspire kids through hands-on experiences including tree-planting and clean-ups. The first event kicks off June 6th, World Oceans Day, at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.
- Disney’s Friends for Change: Project Green launched last month in Latin America. Kids have already made more than 200,000 promises! European markets are next in line.
In issuing its second report on the environmentality of several cruise lines, grassroots environmental watchdog group Friends of the Earth has distinguished Disney Cruise Lines as being ‘most improved’ for its improvements in sewage treatment over the past year. Continuing to use its odd letter-slash-pass/fail system to rate large cruise lines and their ships, Disney Cruise Line rose to a C- rating from a solid F in last year’s report.
With new advanced sewage treatment systems, it’s lack of shoreside power that keeps DCL from earning a top score (at least until its excursions into Alaska begin). The inability to power the ship directly from the ports means that the ship must burn off ‘dirty fuel’ while docked in order to provide electricity to the ship.
Disney Cruise Line has told the organization that the Disney Wonder will be upgraded to be able to operate on shoreside power when docked by the end of 2010 and that both the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy will offer shoreside power as well as the advanced sewage treatment systems.
For more information on the Disney Cruise Line rating as well as those of other cruise lines, visit the report’s methodology page.
Disney Cruise Line will roll out the blue carpet to premiere Disneynature’s newest film, “Oceans,” aboard the Disney Magic and Disney Wonder today. In honor of Earth Day, Disney Cruise Line will make a $3,000 donation on behalf of all guests, cast and crew members to The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt a Coral Reef program, protecting coral reefs in The Bahamas.
“Oceans” follows last year’s record-breaking film “Earth,” and features spectacular, never-before-seen imagery captured by the latest underwater technologies. Disney Cruise Line crew members will also raise additional funds through a “Walk for Oceans,” a late-night fundraiser that has become an annual tradition onboard the ships.
“The Bahamas have been home to Disney ships, and our private island, Castaway Cay, for more than a decade,” said Karl Holz, president of Disney Cruise Line and New Vacation Operations. “We have built significant long-standing relationships throughout the islands and care deeply about maintaining and preserving these precious ecosystems for all of us to enjoy today and in the future. We are proud to be involved with The Nature Conservancy’s program to give back in such a meaningful way.”
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/.
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.
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.”