The most efficient form of transportation is the bicycle, and to remind us how great the two wheeled vehicles are a couple drew a giant bike in Europe. They used a GPS to record their trip as they rode through multiple countries, and that meant riding in giant circles to create the wheels. Along the way they shared their enthusiasm for two wheels.
You can see the map of their route on their site (linked below).
As a reminder that transport alternatives to the car exist, we have cycled 7237 km to draw the shape of a huge bicycle across 7 countries of western Europe.
We hope that our mad endeavour might motivate others to ditch their car in favour of the bicycle for daily transport needs. We sincerely believe that bicycles can take us a long way in our battle to tackle climate change and environmental breakdown.
As a side note, with this project we have set an unofficial world record for the largest ever made GPS drawing (7237 km). We beat the previous record of 7163.67 km, which was obtained by multiple means of transport. We also beat the previous unofficial record for the biggest GPS drawing undertaken by bike, which was 4106 km. Far more importantly, we are quite happy to have drawn the biggest bicycle ever!
As a game designer who creates games about the climate crisis and what we can do about it, this recent article in the Guardian warmed my heart. The article looks at how games can help people understand the climate crisis and that there’s still hope that we can do something about it. Games are fantastic for teaching people systems and what external factors impact those systems, which is a great way to capture the complexity of ecosystems.
Go play some climate friendly games!
“There is an increased public desire to engage with climate change in a tangible way,” said designer Matt Parker, who has also taught courses on game development. “Often people don’t want to confront climate change or feel powerless in the face of its complexity. But a lot of the joy of board games is in engaging complex systems with other people.”
In 2020, Wingspan, in which players develop biodiverse bird habitats, was named the best strategy game by the American Tabletop Awards. The game was reviewed by the science journal Nature, in addition to more traditional gaming publications, and sold over 750,000 sets in its first year.
Last year, Cascadia, where players compete to create “the most harmonious ecosystem” in the Pacific north-west, won the prestigious Spiel des Jahres award as well as American Tabletop Awards’ best strategy competition.
Other recent titles include Kyoto, where players put themselves in the shoes of climate negotiators; Renature, where the objective is to restore a polluted valley, and Tipping Point, where participants build cities that must adapt to a warming climate.
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 EUalready has rulesabout “vampire power”, or the power consumed when switched off or in standby.
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?
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.