Pokémon and Naturalism

I would like to share a personal story with you about how Pokémon influenced my passion for nature and introduced me to the fascinating world of natural sciences.

When I was a child, I was passionate about Pokémon. I spent hours collecting cards, watching the TV show, and playing video games. But beyond the excitement of capturing fantastic creatures, I realized that Pokémon also inspired me to explore the nature around us.

Through the character of Ash, the protagonist of the show, I learned the importance of observation, curiosity, and patience. Just like Ash, I began searching for new species, but this time in the real world. I started wandering through parks, forests, and gardens, armed with a notebook and a camera, ready to document the wonders of nature.

The Pokémon themselves opened my eyes to the diversity of life on Earth. Every creature I encountered reminded me of how our planet is teeming with incredible forms of life. I began learning the names of birds, insects, plants, and animals, and discovered that each species played its own important role in the ecosystem.

The Pokémon games also deepened my interest in biology and ecology. Facing trainers, I had to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each Pokémon, which led me to explore their types, habits, and natural habitats. This encouraged me to read books about nature and watch documentaries about wildlife and flora.

Thanks to this growing passion, I got involved in conservation projects, participated in species monitoring programs, and even contributed to citizen research on biodiversity.

I am convinced that Pokémon was a crucial starting point for my interest in naturalism. It ignited in me the flame of curiosity and showed me the beauty of the nature around us. Thanks to Pokémon, I have become a passionate advocate for the environment and hope to inspire others to explore, learn, and protect our wonderful planet.

So, the next time you play Pokémon or observe nature, remember that the boundary between the virtual and the real can blur, and every creature you encounter can be a source of wonder and inspiration.


When I saw a few episodes of Pokémon Sun and Moon, I could clearly see that it was based on Hawaii, with island endemic forms descended from mainland Pokémon species, invasive species, and similar themes.


The original creator of Pokemon, Satoshi Tajiri, was inspired by his childhood of collecting insects in his rural home. Supposedly he wanted to be an entomologist when he grew up. He wanted to give kids the same kind of experience he had because his rural hometown was rapidly urbanizing and these wild spaces were being destroyed.

What’s your favorite pokemon?


Yes! I totally agree with this, and it was hugely influential in my love of nature too. I also think it’s a real opportunity to get the next generation interested in wildlife and nature too. I actually made a simple card game based on the wildlife of Scotland where I drew animals in a pokemon-style way to try and make that link for people - you can have a look at it here: Ecodex

But yeah - very much resonate with this. Thank you for sharing!


linking this to ‘what do naturalists do in winter in cold areas’, last year I played pokemon go a bunch on warmer winter days, because there wasn’t inaturalist to do. Granted Pokemon Go has its issues, but i see Pokemon as a fun activity that can be a gateway to ‘real’ naturalist activities. My kids love pokemon and i definitely use it as a way to go outside, do crafts, etc. Plus some recreational screen time too cuz why not :)

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I also was a big Pokémon fanatic in my childhood. I’m not sure if I can credit it with inspiring my naturalist tendencies, as I was also delving into bug-hunting in my backyard at the time.

I’m not sure I necessarily agree that the Pokémon franchise is beneficial to increasing interest in Nature. For one thing, the games are pretty much poaching simulators, potentially encouraging an ethic of heedless wildlife harvest. My second concern is that, rather than fostering interest in Nature, the games may instead have the potential to act as a sort of placebo for kids that might otherwise go looking for bugs in the backyard, fulfilling their needs without any connection to nature.

I still enjoy Pokémon, but I think I may not go out of my way to introduce it to any children I may have; I think I’d much rather they look for bugs or go birding with me.


one of my kids is into pokemon and i haven’t observed any decrease in interest in nature because of that. I think there is some logic to that idea but it isn’t how kids’ minds work, at least not my kids

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Certainly. I didn’t fully specify in my post, but I had more in mind urban kids without much easy access to nature, an ever increasing demographic in my part of the US. I suspect the children of an ecologist who is active on iNat don’t much resemble that demographic :slightly_smiling_face:

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