In the future, climate change is a daily challenge, it has already affected areas all around the world and is expected to become more severe. Sea levels are rising, destroying coastal communities. Storms have been increasing in frequency and intensity. Precipitation patterns are altered, causing degradation and desertification of arable land. There are prolonged droughts and mass extinctions of marine and terrestrial life, making the planet pretty uncomfortable for humans.
But what if you had the power to go back in time to present day…and stop climate change?
That is the premise behind Future Delta 2.0, a videogame that is currently in development by an interdepartmental team at the University of British Columbia.
Future Delta 2.0 is set in the suburban city of Delta, BC. The decision to place the game in Delta was to create a place-based learning experience for middle and high school students in Delta and its surrounding areas. Since players are able to position themselves and their communities within the game, they witness problems relevant to their community. The effect is to make climate change issues personal, because it's one thing to hear about a disaster that may occur at some future time, in a place that is really far away, but it is something else entirely to see that disaster occur on your own stomping grounds.
The game developers hope that players will be able to bring mitigation models from the game into their lives, leading to lasting changes in the community.
Researchers found that after having played the game, students who initially claimed to know nothing about environmental issues felt like they were better informed. But the really interesting thing is, the kids who claimed to know a lot about the environment came out of it feeling a little more humbled. After they played the game, they realized that environmental issues are complex and possible solutions are even more so.
What do you think? Would you say that you know a lot about environmental issues?
Even if video games don’t appeal to you, be sure to check out some other fun ways to virtually fight climate change, and then try to bring those virtual changes into real life! After all, we only have one Earth, and we are all in this together.
Bonus! Here’s a list of ways to jumpstart your fight against climate change:
- You have heard it before but it is worth saying again (especially as the sun comes out): try to get out of your car! 25% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are caused by cars. Walk, ride your bike, take transit or carpool!
- Have a Meat-Free Monday. By eating low on the food chain, less energy is needed to produce your food. Try buying locally or growing your own food at home to earn double gold stars on this one.
- Cut down on your trash. Before something goes into the bin, decide if it really belongs there. Try to reduce waste by reusing, recycling and composting (even used tires can be repurposed).
- With this summer heat coming up it might be tempting to crank the A/C, but try a fan and an icy cold drink instead.
- Lastly…control climate change with your purchasing power (or lack thereof)! If fewer thing are bought, then fewer things need to be produced. This, in turn, lessens the stress put on our beautiful Earth! If you do need something, take a quick look around to see if you can pick it up second hand.