This project, employs a team of researchers from UBC’s Collaborative for Advanced Landscape Planning in the Faculty of Forestry and the Centre of Culture and Technology in the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies.
It’s unique in its use of video gaming to encourage exploration of local climate change challenges and solutions in an innovative place-based game environment by high school students and other community members. The videogame pilot has been co-designed and evaluated with students & teachers from Delta B.C., in order to explore how simulated future scenarios in the students’ own neighbourhoods may motivate interest, learning, behaviour change and civic engagement and help them understand local climate change scenarios in ways that appeal and engage.
What Makes Delta 2.0 Different
Unlike other ‘serious’ videogames on climate change that are currently available, the Future Delta 2.0 (FD2) videogame enables real-time exploration and querying of local climate change scenarios in the player’s own backyard, addressing issues such as sea-level rise, extreme weather, dikes, community energy, environmental refugees, etc.
The game experience hopes to mobilize discussions around the realities of climate change, as well as stimulate action on possible adaptation and mitigation solutions. In addition to addressing teachers’ learning objectives and curriculum needs, the project focusses on citizenship and environmental responsibility, while empowering students to be ‘agents of change’. The game innovates by linking climate change science, gaming and community action, which have never before been tied to a real-world application at the neighbourhood scale.
The design of Future Delta 2.0 applies concepts on visual communication from the book “Visualizing Climate Change” (Sheppard, 2012) and will rigorously evaluate game efficacy in influencing attitudes, personal behavior and engagement in community issues.
Climate change education is the cornerstone of our work. We are interested in developing visualization tools that help communities understand and engage with the decisions they can make to impact global and local change. Our goal and challenge is to allow Delta youth to be a vital part of the climate change communication process. The game-platform will not only inform the youth of key concepts related to climate change, but also empower them to learn for themselves, and to become more engaged with climate change challenges that are vital to their future. The videogame aims to have two kinds of positive outcome:
- Based on the intense media interest in the research to-date, the project has the potential to create a ‘buzz’ in the community and strengthen support for local climate action by involving parents, local organizations and perhaps even local decision-makers, with schools playing a leading role;
- This new educational model for school and community engagement, if successful, could be replicated in other communities across BC and Canada.
For more information on how to get involved, contact us.
About the Story
The game starts with a video that depicts a dystopic future, where Delta has failed to address climate change adequately – it has been affected by sea-level rise, storm surges, heat waves, & fires, and communities are facing food shortages, high-prices, increased traffic and pollution.
The player’s long-term friend from childhood, a climate refugee from Mangalore, India, has invented “time travel” and the player is sent back to Year 2015 on a mission to change this dystopic future through the cumulative choices he/she makes with the Delta communities. The game follows 2 alternative pathways – ‘Adapt’, and ‘Adapt + Mitigate’ – that exhibit different learning outcomes. The player can either just respond to problems at hand (Adapt), or promote solutions to reduce carbon emissions in order to arrive at a Low Carbon–High Resiliency Future (Adapt + Mitigate). Some attributes of game-play include:
- taking decisions that increase/decrease the player’s and his/her community’s carbon footprint
- the use of ‘carbon vision’ as a tool to engage in a ‘scavenger hunt’ to track down the enemy (i.e. anthropogenic carbon) in a race against time; and
- using time travel to discover what Delta communities look like in the future.