From: World Wildlife Fund
Published August 23, 2007 10:59 AM

Second Life look at nature's real-life problems

Gland, Switzerland ”“ Ever dreamt of building a new life on a deserted island? Then pack your virtual toolkit and head for Conservation Island, a place where an orang-utan will “sell” you ice-cream and a panda will be your friend.


Set up by WWF in the virtual world Second Life, the island is the latest initiative in the global conservation organization’s campaign to get people to live in harmony with nature.


“WWF set up the island as a way to help people learn about conservation issues and the need to live sustainably,” said David Cole, Online Outreach Manager at WWF International. “We want to be able to show people that WWF has solutions to the real environmental issues affecting their ”˜first life’.


“We hope that Second Life residents will become a community that helps us build and develop the island and at the same time learn about conservation in a fun, engaging and interactive way.”


Second Life users, called residents, can interact with each other, explore their world, participate in social events and activities, and “purchase” goods and services.


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On Conservation Island, for instance, if residents “buy” an ice-cream from Mr Tangee, the orang-utan who runs the ice-cream van, they will have the chance to learn that plantations to provide the soy and palm oil found in an array of everyday products, from ice-cream to cosmetics and chocolate bars, already cover an area the size of France and are growing. This threatens not only some of the world’s greatest forests and traditional lifestyles, but also endangered species such as orang-utans and jaguars.


Visitors to another part of the island can befriend a panda who will tell them about environmental issues and go with them as they explore a town powered by a wind-powered pinwheel.


“Conservation Island provides WWF with an opportunity to put its message before a new audience, potentially millions of people who may not otherwise engage with conservation issues,” said Cole.


“Residents will be able to learn about climate change and marine and forest loss in a fun way, and then, if they want to know more, they will be directed to WWF’s website, www.panda.org.”


Conservation Island was developed for WWF by Enable Interactive, the Bristol-based specialist digital agency.


“Social and consumer behaviour is changing, so the way brands communicate must change too,” said Matt Connolly, Strategic Director at Enable Interactive. “At Enable, we’ve enjoyed helping WWF innovate around how it communicates, and believe its presence on Second Life will help it get a whole new group of people to make conservation part of their lives.”


For further information:


Moira O’Brien-Malone, Head of Media Relations


WWF International


Tel: +41 22 364 9550


E-mail: mobrien@wwfint.org


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