Let’s Green the Gaming Industry

computer screen

Games are fun and we should play more of them! That being said, we should also be conscious of the impact our technological-driven gaming has on the environment. Ben Abraham recently launched a new project called Greening the Game Industry to promote the concept of sustainable gaming. The project stems from his work on a very good book, Digital Games After Climate Change, and he hopes to get more people thinking about ways gaming companies can better respect the environment.

One of the best ways to reduce your impact in any industry is to buy second hand and use things to their end of their life. Thus, the thinking of a “patient gamer” is one we should all follow.

The initiative is called the “Games Consoles EU Self-Regulatory Agreement”, and I won’t go into the details of self-regulation but suffice to say most of what you need to know is right there in the name. This is not the EU trying to bring energy-profligate console manufacturers to heel, and is more like a simple mechanism to get them all to the table to see what stuff they already agree on and can codify into some (not even particularly binding) rules of the road. It is also not really a climate-focussed initiative, at least not primarily, which might work backwards from the known impact of the industry and/or a given constraint and say ‘you can use this much no more’ (and there are substantial barriers, practical and conceptual, to being able to do that yet anyway). Since the EU already has rules about “vampire power”, or the power consumed when switched off or in standby.

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Financial Times Made a Climate Change Game

Phramacy

When you think about climate change coverage in the Financial Times you may assume that they’re writing about how to profit from it; however, the tides have risen. The market-focused publication recently published a short and sweet game that explores how we can avoid climate catastrophe. Through a series of key decisions players need to figure out how to protect the environment and the wealth of the elite. Ultimately, players need to get the global economy to net zero by 2050. Can you do it?

This game was created by the Financial Times. It is based on real science and reporting — however, it is a game, not a perfect simulation of the future.

The emissions modelling was developed in 2022 by the International Energy Agency (IEA). The scenarios used in the IEA’s “Net Zero by 2050” report were recalculated to track the temperature outcomes for specific pathways used in the game.

These climate outcomes were calculated using the IEA’s World Energy Model (WEM) and Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP) model coupled with the MAGICC v7+ climate model.

MAGICC stands for Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change and is used by scientists and integrated assessment models.

Play it now.

Thanks to Geoff!

Want to be more Creative? Use a Schedule

maps

Depictions of creativity in popular culture show people getting a sudden spark or realization that sets them off. The creative idea or moment arrives randomly. Unfortunately that’s not the best way to approach a creative process, instead you should use a schedule.

It might sound odd that in order to be more creative one must constrain when they’re creative. It makes sense though, and research backs it up!

Creative work is no different than training in the gym. You can’t selectively choose your best moments and only work on the days when you have great ideas. The only way to unveil the great ideas inside of you is to go through a volume of work, put in your repetitions, and show up over and over again.

Obviously, doing something below average is never the goal. But you have to give yourself permission to grind through the occasional days of below average work because it’s the price you have to pay to get to excellent work.

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Ethical Fashion: Wear it and Make it Last

pollinator

Fast fashion was once known for its fast profits, now it has the earned reputation of being fast in environmental and human destruction. With almost the entire fashion industry geared towards constant consumption, what’s an ethically minded person to do?

Thankfully Orsola de Castro has some advice for us. She’s a fashion designer who’s embraced ethical fashion and has made a great career around making and keeping good clothes. She co-founded Fashion Revolution and worked to expose the dangerous behaviour the fashion world is a part of by providing alternatives. One easy and cost-saving alternative is to just keep your clothes.

“Some people love rescuing pets. I started off rescuing clothes – and have never stopped,” she says. Her design process was initially creative, not ethically driven. A eureka moment came while she was “climbing mountains of rubbish in a warehouse” to source holey jumpers. “I thought: OK, I am not just designing – I am recuperating,” she says. “There is a purpose. It is not just aesthetic, it is also profoundly moral in many ways.”


Hide your clothes

“I have a game I play with myself. I hide things from myself for a long time. I put them in a bag and put it under the bed,” says De Castro. “I hide things that are not right for me, whether that’s because your body changes, your mind changes or trends change.” She says that, when she opens them, after about five years, she often loves them “beyond description”: “Two years ago, I rediscovered a skirt – I could never remember hiding it in the first place. Now I wear it incessantly.”

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What you can do:
Keep your clothes, don’t buy fast fashion clothing.

Burning Iron: An Eco-Friendly Brewing Process

beerSwinkels Family Brewers in the Netherlands recently adopted a new way to heat their brewing process: melted iron. And it’s arguably sustainable. It’s not as weird as it sounds.

Essentially iron dust is set alight, which burns in a contained system and produces heat (which is used to hear water in the brewery). Once burnt, the iron basically becomes rust, which then can be turned back into usable iron using electricity. If electricity is sustainably produced then the whole system is carbon neutral.

If burning metal powder as fuel sounds strange, the next part of the process will be even more surprising. That rust can be regenerated straight back into iron powder with the application of electricity, and if you do this using solar, wind or other zero-carbon power generation systems, you end up with a totally carbon-free cycle. The iron acts as a kind of clean battery for combustion processes, charging up via one of a number of means including electrolysis, and discharging in flames and heat.

As a burnable clean energy storage medium, iron powder’s advantages include the fact that it’s cheap and abundant, the fact that it’s easy to transport and has a good energy density, its high burning temperature of up to 1,800 °C (3,272 °F), and the fact that (unlike hydrogen, for example) it doesn’t need to be cryogenically cooled, or lose any energy during long periods of storage. 

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