These 4 Games Will Teach Kids How We Can Tackle Climate Change
The Games for Change finalists make playing games on your phone all day a lot more worthwhile.
For both kids and adults, games are sometimes a great way to learn about social issues and brainstorm creative solutions. The nonprofit Games for Change has worked on this idea for more than a decade, and at its upcoming annual festival in New York, it will present four new games that tackle the most pressing challenge for humanity: climate change.
“The environment, civilization building, and sustainability are topics that get explored in games—but often they are just the backdrop and not part of having an explicit goal of learning or education,” says Games for Change president Susanna Pollack. Think SimCity, or Minecraft.
With Columbia University Climate Center’s PoLAR Partnership and the company Autodesk, Games for Change launched the “Climate Challenge” and the winner will be decided from among four finalists at the festival.
“Games can help inspire curiosity, optimism, and problem-solving, all of which are crucial elements in the collective impact to address climate change. Through games, people can explore potential climate changed futures. Games are also used by organizations like the military to help people evaluate and make decisions regarding complex material,” says Stephanie Pfirman, a researcher who leads the PoLAR Climate Change Education Partnership.
Games related to sustainability and environmental science can come in many forms. Pfirman highlights multi-player card games like EcoChains: Arctic Crisis, storytelling games like Future Coast, and sea level rise interactive modeling tools like Polar Explorer.
The Games for Change finalists, chosen from 50 entries, are all in a prototype stage and are addressed for different age ranges. Some are about world- or community-building, with carbon and energy budgets explicitly figured in. Another, Carbon Runner, is a fun endless-runner style game. If you’re going to spend your time glued to a screen, all look like a pretty good way to spend that time.
Read full story and details on the games: Fast Co Exist
Be an Urban Climate Architect
This game created by the Cluster of Excellence CliSAP demonstrates on 64 spaces the factors influencing urban climate.
Players of this game build their very own city while having to strive for a balance between different requirements like housing and workplaces and the urban climate – a task being not as easy as it seems.
Throughout the world, people are moving from rural to urban areas. As a result, metropolises require more housing and better infrastructure, more jobs and green spaces. At the same time, our climate is changing, and modern cities have to adapt to these new conditions. Cooling, water management, emissions of CO2 and pollutants are key aspects. These issues can vary greatly from region to region. Accordingly, urban planners have to take into consideration how buildings, industry, green areas and traffic affect urban climates. Solving this major challenge is exactly what players will try to do when playing Urban Climate Architect.