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.
Students at the University of Barcelona will now be required to take a class on the climate crisis regardless of their field of study. Adding the course to all students makes sense since the climate crisis impacts all aspects of knowledge from urban planning to our understanding of history.
The way the course got added to the curriculum is further proof protesting works.
“The trigger was the student occupation but it shows a general cultural change. Ten or 15 years ago the university would have sent in the police. But now you can’t kick them out because you know they’re right and society supports them.”
“It’s not just another course on sustainable development,” said Lucía Muñoz Sueiro, an End Fossil activist and PhD student at the university. “It combines the social and ecological aspects of the crisis, which are interrelated.”
Looking for a climate expert? Here’s the only database you need.
The Global South Database is a vetted list of scientists, researchers, and practitioners around the climate the crisis. The database was created to help journalists find voices from Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. It can help you find a climate expert too!
The database currently lists 412 experts from 80 countries. The map below shows the nationalities of the respondents, where larger circles indicate a greater number of experts.
All experts on the database are nationals of at least one global south country.
There are currently more than 50 languages represented on the database. Spanish, Portuguese and Hindi are the most commonly spoken languages by experts on the database, after English.
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?
Showing people the impact climate change is having on people usually results in rather depressing images. It doesn’t have to be this way, we can show people the great things people are doing to mediate and react to our changing planet. The mission of Climate Visuals is to help journalists to find and use positive imagery about climate change. Images that capture the resiliency of people and places that are withstanding the threats of environmental damage. We have the solutions to climate change, so let’s show those solutions to the world.
The first Climate Visuals report ‘Climate Visuals: Seven principles for visual climate change communication (based on international social research)’ summarises research with members of the public in three nations.
The research combined two different methods. Four structured discussion groups (with a total of 32 citizens) were held: two in London, and two in Berlin. Participants responded to dozens of climate images, engaging in detailed discussions about what they saw. Following this in-depth research, an international online survey of 3,014 people was conducted, with participants split equally between the UK, Germany and the US.
The survey allowed us to test a smaller number of images with a much larger number of people. Further details on the methodology can be found in the separate appendix document below.