How I would have done a Sustainability Event in Pokemon GO

A couple of weeks ago, we had a Sustainability event in Pokemon GO. As part of a sustainability campaign by Niantic, all its games are getting events. Mostly to raise awareness, I think. Now, I don’t play Wizards Unite or Ingress Prime, but I do play Pokemon GO. And I can tell you this: the event was kinda boring. And it didn’t really raise awareness.

But it’s not hard to have made this event more interesting. So here’s how we’ll do it.

First off, a summary of the actual Sustainability Week.

There wasn’t much to it. Some Pokemon in raids. A new shiny, shiny Trubbish. And some themed spawns. Mega Venusaur came back because it’s a grass type. The other spawns consisted of Grimer, Trubbish and a rather random selection of grass types, not including Bulbasaur. Binacle also debutted because of, well, reasons, I guess?

We also had a timed research, but the rewards were meh, it was all just berries and catching grass types. It could have been literally any other grass-based event. But there are so many things we could have done with this event. Especially since, before it started, we’d just finished a massive group effort to get double stardust for 36 hours.

Here’s how I would have made it more interesting.

Some Sunkern and a Bulbasaur tut at some Trubbish in an alleyway.
Some Sunkern and a Bulbasaur tut at some Trubbish in an alleyway.

Give us another game-wide task.

Really, Grimer and Trubbish should have been the main spawns of this event. And we should have had a massive global task to pick up trash by collecting Trubbish and Grimer. Game-wide and player-based milestones would be available, with various rewards for reaching various ones. Catching, I dunno, 50 Pokemon would give you a free Starpiece, and maybe catching 500 would give you a guaranteed shiny Trubbish.

I’d also stick both Grimer, Trubbish and their evolutions in raids, all with the chances of being shiny. Have it so that raids would give double points to the global tasks or something.

The final reward would be a stardust and EXP event, with the bonuses being based on how many Tribbish and Grimer everyone caught. This event would be filled with ALL grass types, not just the random ones chosen for this event. So everything from Bulbasaur to Bellsprout to Snivy and Chespin. This should also include Pokemon like Snover and Nuzleaf, so people can still work on their Mew research in the mean time. Might also be nice to allow Grass types with exclusive moves to re-learn them during this event.

Tie in core parts of the game with sustainability lessons.

Alongside this global catching task, it would be nice to have some special or timed research that makes sense. Professor Willow literally is self-sustaining, working from a camper van in the wilderness. He should have tons of good information about sustainability! You do a couple of renamed tasks (e.g. pick up 10 pieces of rubbish, catch 10 Trubbish) and Willow will pat you on the back and give you some nice tidbits of information.

To tie everything together, we could also have a mini contest involving the camera mode. Like the photos posted during GO Fest, it’d be nice to see people taking pictures of doing things that are good for the environment. Pictures like tidying up beaches, picking up trash or recycling. The best photos could win prizes as well. Except, it turns out there WAS some sort of photo contest! But it was so well hidden that I didn’t know about it until after it happened. Even people on the Silph Road didn’t know about it, that’s how hidden it was.

Is this too much?

Are my ideas a bit pie-in-the-sky? Probably. But you need catchy ideas and big rewards to convince people. Otherwise people will just shrug and continue on with their lives. We are selfish beings at heart, so if you dangle a prize in front of us, we’re far more likely to actually stop, look and listen.


Medic, also known as Phovos (or occasionally Dr Retvik Von Scribblesalot), writes 50% of all the articles on the Daily SPUF since she doesn't have anything better to do. A dedicated Medic main in Team Fortress 2 and an avid speedster in Warframe, Phovos has the unique skill of writing 500 words about very little in a very short space of time.

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