Initiative aims to transform the symbol of the Lebanese cedar into millions of donation gateways.
The Lebanese cedar, "arze" in Arabic, is Lebanon's biggest symbol of pride and patriotism. This century-old tree can be found on the national flag, documents, car plates, façades, street art, team jerseys, tattoos, and literally everything. Whilst cedar illustrations can be found everywhere, actual cedar forests are vanishing by the minute and climate change is to blame for that. In fact, there are only 17 squared kilometres of forests in Lebanon right now, making the tree harder to find in nature than on walls, wallets, Lira bills, and so forth.
With this in mind, Greenpeace and Digitas Dubai created an interactive donation platform, ArzePay.com, to raise funds against the extinction of the Lebanese cedar tree. Through the use of machine learning and built-in cameras, users must first scan an image of a cedar design or illustration to prompt the next steps of making a donation, serving as a stark reminder to all that the arze is an omnipresent symbol of national pride that needs to be preserved in reality.
“It’s almost ironic. Lebanese cedars can be found everywhere in Beirut streets, walls and so forth, but if you make the trip up North, to the cedar forests, you’ll see that they’re vanishing at alarming rates. So, we had a very simple thought: why don’t we use the cedar icons you see every day to save the cedars that are actually disappearing?” explained Eduardo Branco, Creative Director at Digitas Dubai.
By feeding thousands and thousands of cedar illustrations into a machine-learning system, the ArzePay platform can successfully scan 99.9% of all cedar icons regardless of size, shape, and texture. Digitas has also added a function to the platform that allows it to continually learn as people scan new illustrations, making it an ever-evolving payment solution.
“Heat waves, droughts, floods, and social erosion are just some of the numerous impacts of climate change on our planet. Every single one of these is having a disastrous impact on humans and nature and consequently, the cedar tree – a true Lebanese symbol – is at risk of disappearing. Together, we can avoid a catastrophe for Lebanon and the world,” said Fadi Gedeon, Digital Lead at Greenpeace MENA.
The ArzePay platform is live and people can make a donation directly to Greenpace to save the cedar trees by visiting arzepay.com. It will be supported by a month-long social, PR, and influencer strategy, with QR codes placed near arze icons across Beirut.