Target: John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, Inc.
Goal: Remove Pokéstop from Chicago’s Loyola Dunes Restoration site to protect its endangered species.
Chicago’s Loyola Dunes Restoration site has seen littering, vandalization, and the trampling of rare, protected plant and wild life since its designation as a Pokéstop in the popular Pokémon Go mobile game. The site, established in 2003 in an effort to protect natural wildlife in a predominantly urban environment, is home to rare types of grasses, flowers, animals, and now, Pokémon. The availability of rare Pokémon within the sand dunes has drawn more visitors to the park.
Some visitors have ventured off the trails and into the protected areas in order to catch Pokémon. In doing so, plants protected under state and federal laws are being destroyed. The destruction of the rare plant life can have devastating effects on the wildlife that lives there, such as migratory birds and other smaller species. Garbage is also being left behind and graffiti has since begun to mark information signs within park.
Locals and officials have filed dozens of requests asking that the site be removed from the mobile game. They have even contacted Niantic, the company behind Pokémon Go, in hopes of removing the fragile natural restoration area from the game.
This is not the first time Pokémon Go has created controversy by establishing Pokéstops at various sites. Pokéstops are not only found in natural parks such as the Loyola Dunes Restoration site, but are also found in churches, cemeteries, and memorials, leading many to wonder if the game has crossed a line. Sign the petition to let Niantic know that, while their efforts to merge video games and the outdoors are admirable, there are some natural areas that should be considered off limits due to their abundance of endangered and rare species.
Dear Mr. Hanke,
Your company’s popular mobile game Pokémon Go has found a way to bring video games outdoors. It has led to thousands of game players venturing outside and exploring the natural wonders of our nation. However, this comes with a steep environmental price in some cases.
Chicago’s Loyola Dunes Restoration site is a natural site that was established to reintroduce the area’s natural species to the now predominantly urban environment. In addition to being home to rare plant and animal life, it is now also home to rare Pokémon. This has led to an increase in foot traffic to the park.
While the increase in awareness of the park’s mission is important, it has also led to endangerment of the site’s natural species. The dunes are being littered with garbage and signs vandalized. Visitors are venturing off the footpaths in hopes of catching rare Pokémon, which has led to the trampling of plant life, destroying habitats for rare animals and birds.
Concerned citizens and park officials have asked for the site to be removed from the mobile game in order to protect the mission it started 13 years ago. I urge you to take steps to remove this Pokéstop before the damage to the site’s rare species becomes irreversible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Sue Adair