I live in Sweden, where Greta Thurnberg (of school climate strikes) is being venerated as a modern-day national hero. I understand why Swedes want to be recognized for their leadership in environmental issues – that’s one of the reasons I live here.
But I don’t have much faith in Greta’s methods. I’ve been an environmental activist too, and I know it feels good to protest and raise awareness and call for urgent action. I also know that in the many years I’ve been doing it, very little has changed. If world leaders could solve the climate change problem, they would have done so by now.
A better approach than demanding that others take action on the environment might be to take action ourselves, not just individually, but collectively – gaming for climate change.
Gamers understand the power of millions, even billions of people with a common interest. With over 7.5 billion people on the planet, I’m sure there are a lot of ideas that haven’t been considered yet. What we need is to design games for collecting and “gaming out” ideas, hypotheses and scenarios – combining, testing and revising.
Climate change is complicated, with a lot of interdependent variables – that’s what computers are good at. It’s going to require massive amounts of cooperation, dedication and teamwork – that’s what gamers are good at.
We know how to design games that are engaging and fun to play. The next step in the evolution of gaming is to design fun, engaging games with a purpose – social change on a global scale.