Climate solutions in this context are defined as technological and social innovations that can help people, communities, and organizations reduce their environmental impact. Project Drawdown has assembled a comprehensive list of the most effective climate solutions currently available and presented them in a friendly format, almost like a tabletop book. Take a look at them, as you may find a solution that may add depth and added value to the game you are bringing to life.
WHY IT MATTERS
There are thousands of ways to reduce carbon emissions, and thousands more to draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere – but many are not well known to the public and often don’t get funding they deserve. The number of solutions, combined with complex scientific language that can be difficult to quickly understand, makes the process of identifying what solutions to support very inaccessible – especially when we often only have a few moments to spare in our day. This is a big problem also because there is no single silver bullet to solve climate change. In truth, we need to apply many different types of solutions across the globe to get the job done.
By normalizing the existence and adoption of climate solutions, and giving players opportunities to directly engage with them – we strengthen players’ knowledge, confidence, and preparedness to advocate for them.
DO’S & DON’TS
Depending on your game, including climate solutions as game mechanics might be a tall order. With this action, however, you can achieve just as good results by including them in the story, or in the broader story of the game world.
Quantity and quality through player interaction. As there is no silver bullet solution, the good way to surface this can be to have multiple complementary solutions in your game. Ideally, the climate solutions are integrated into your mechanics, with mastery of them vital to player success. Depending on the goals of your game, players’ ability to directly practice and master activities associated with a solution – and demonstrating how the impact can stack when paired with others – can prove to be valuable to players’ understanding of the power and interconnectedness solutions can have in the real-world.
Focus on climate solutions that makes the most sense for your game. At the same time, there is no need to have every single possible climate solution in your game. Much like in standard game design – too many systems can have a negative impact on the cohesiveness of your design. This can have negative effects on players’ ability to quickly process information, feel immersed, and experience your design goals the way you intended. Create a list of potential solutions that may make sense – and then prioritize based on what will most likely add depth and value to your design. If player interaction with a solution does not make sense in your context – it’s still meaningful to consider how they can be surfaced in the broader context of the game world.
Don’t buy the hype. It’s critically important that the solutions portrayed are feasible and that the game is up-front about their time frame and potential scale. Otherwise games risk overplaying the importance of singular fringe, risky or slow strategies and play into techno-optimism, which is a Discourse of Delay. This is especially important when featuring solutions that corrupt industries are trying to paint as climate silver bullets, such as Direct Air Capture. In reality, there is no silver bullet – so we should always portray new tech as one small part of a large ecosystem of decarbonization solutions.
Social technologies count! Remember that these don’t have to be conventional technologies; they could also be social ones. For instance, Drawdown ranks education for girls among the top climate solutions. Consider frameworks that games can teach to players who are alarmed about the climate crisis (ex. the Environmental Game Design Playbook, Donut Economics) or political concepts (ex. Fee & Dividend, the Clean Energy Standard).