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The little idea that grew to save the planet!

The story of PLANETPALS™ Characters by Judith Gorgone

judith gogrone designs

In October of 1990 one of my clients that manufactured novelty items came to me and asked me to come up product ideas and designs with the environmental theme in mind.  Environmental concern was nothing new to me as I had been practicing environmentally since the 70's. It seemed only a few of us were accepting the idea back then and I even remember a discussion with my father about recycling to which he insisted it would "bring bugs"! Case closed.

While working on that environmental theme I came up with an idea for "Planetpals" earth friendly characters.  It was not the right concept for this particular client’s product…but I knew it was special…so,I tucked it safely in my idea book.

In 1994 while living in Japan I was inspired by the array of adorable Japanese characters and started thinking about Planetpals once again.  I lived in KOBE during and after the earthquake and I was overwhelmed by the amount of debris resting by the roadsides as a result of the disaster. All the while, knowing there was no place for it to go as Kansai's trash went to an Island which was already full. I knew the whole world would have this same problem in time, disaster or not.  I also knew it was time to educate the next generation to be more careful about earth and it's resources

Soon after the quake, I moved to Tokyo. I could not get the image of the massive heaps of waste out of my mind! So, now living in a hotel in Shinagawa, I began to rework the characters and wrote the first set of poems for each one, continuing to expand Planetpals concept: You can be a Planetpal, too.

In 1998, I embarked on the web and a new found creative expression: web design.  Everyone that knew html back then was building websites on just about anything.  I thought it was perfect for the Planetpals. So, Planetpals.com was born. 

Planetpals.com launched in what seems today very archaic form in August 1998. It started with about 30 pages...and grew and grew and grew.  It was not only one of the first kids sites but it was one of the first environmental sites,  It helped start a trend toward environmental education.  Earthday, recycling, global warming, energy conservation were not the buzz words of the day. Yet, as the concept grew online Planetpals was endorsed and linked.

A decade later, these are the buzzwords. Planetpals remains one of the premier resources for EARTH in education for the classroom and home.  It's ranked in the top 3% of websites worldwide. Educators from tens of thousands of schools, libraries, organizations along with  parents, homeschoolers and general earth lovers around the world rely on Planetpals activities and fun facts to teach and learn earth sciences and promote earth friendly thinking.  Planetpals pro active solutions are a creative inspiration to future generations.

planetpals characters


Planetpals.com not only grew to hundreds of pages of green ideas, but Planetpals offers an ezine, an emailing list, a friends for earth forum, lesson plans, booklists, contests, and an Epatrol kit for teachers.   It is linked by great sources like NASA, Newsweek, NSTA, PTA, EPA and has been written up by notable news sources such as BBC, CNN, Earth Times, License and Computer User. 

Planetpals cheerful characters are a unique and adoring way to teach kids with rhymes and songs.  Each character represents a natural resource and by learning about the characters one learns resourcefulness and responsibility. Planetpals characters have been used in association with Earthday events in Cities, by states and most recently by a very successful in pack promotion for Snyder's of Hanover Healthy Foods.  The Planetpals brand seems limitless for product applications

PLANETPALS™, making a difference and shaping tomorrows responsible adults.

JUDITH GORGONE: Illustration, Product Development, Design

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Webmaster: Planetpals Copyright 1991 Judith Gorgone-all rights reserved