Plant trees with your phone using Gcash Forest – Low Impact Filipina

Although the Philippines is a biodiversity hub, it is also one of the country’s most vulnerable to climate change impacts. In fact, carbon emissions increased twice as much since 1990. Forest cover remains is only 22% compared to the ideal 54%. Also, watersheds lost half of forest cover resulting to water crisis. This is all because of carbon emissions. Carbon is one of the main “greenhouse gases” contributing to global warming and is used as a reference against which to rate the “global warming potential” of other greenhouse gases. But what can we do about it?
While I cannot live a fully zero carbon lifestyle, I have been trying to do so through my small acts for the planet.

Photo: Rappler

Based on studies done in 2018, more than 34% of online Filipino users visit the Internet every day, while more than 45% go online at least once a week. When they do use the Internet, the average Filipino user spends up to 21.5 hours each week online.

Photo: ABS-CBN News

This is an opportunity that Gcash wants to grab – to let the millennial use their smartphones to plant virtual trees which has a real-life counterparts. GCash Forest is a personal carbon account that tracks how much emission people have consumed and can be avoided by living more mindfully. “Green” activities—such as walking, bringing eco-bags and own utensils, going cashless, reducing paper use—earn users energy points. Once you grow your own tree, Gcash will match and plant a real and native tree at the Ipo Watershed.

GCash, in partnership with WWF Philippines, has adopted 300 hectares for rehabilitation and reforestation inside the Ipo watershed.

WWF will monitor and report the growth of trees sponsored by GCash for three years, which is usually how long it takes to see any changes in a reforestation or rehabilitation site.

The 7,236-hectares Ipo watershed, which spans the provinces of Bulacan and Rizal, is part of the Angat-Umiray-Ipo watershed system that supplies 98 percent of Metro Manila’s water. It has been declared a protected area by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources but forest cover in the watershed is now only at 40 percent, a drastic drop from 85 percent several years ago.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

  1. Time to go green.
    Gcash let your lifestyle be converted to green activities to reduce waste and carbon consumption that harm the environment like walking and doing cashless transactions online.

2. Collect green energy.
Earn energy points from green activities and cashless actions! Drop by a day after your transaction to collect them.

3. Pick your tree.
Once you’ve earned enough energy points, you can choose a native tree to adopt on your own, or with other GForest users.

4. Be a green hero.
Congratulations! We are one step closer to rebuilding our forests, thanks to you.

For every tree that you plant virtually through the Gcash gets planted in Ipo watershed, which is located within the Angat Watershed and Forest Reserve in Norzagaray Bulacan. You even get your real tree be planted in your name. Isn’t that great?

Don’t have GCash? Get it here: https://gcsh.app/r/vaIRqgo

Let’s all use our smartphones in a positive way for a greener and cleaner Philippines.

Published by Angel Mata

Angel is a teacher based in Laguna, Philippines. She is advocating for reducing one's environmental impact through waste reduction, vegetarianism, and second hand purchase.

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