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How much have you saved?

Captain P is my Habitat user name. I have 3268 Habitat points which places me in 45th position on the leader board. A couple of weeks back I received an email from 7 year old Madeline telling me she loved the game and she was top of the leader board with over 5000 points.

I can’t see Madeline from my position but I am sure she has racked up many more points by now.

When players sign in we are all asked to sign onto the honour system by ticking a box that says we promise to tell the truth about our real world missions. So there is no way for us to verify if players are lying about what they have done in the real world but I am able to tell you about what I have achieved in the month I have been playing. I have tried to be as accurate about my behaviours as possible and according to my profile I have saved:

–       240 buckets of water,
–       103.8 feet of land, and
–       5181 balloons of carbon.

The calculations of my real world behaviours

So what does this mean? It is the team at Integrated Sustainable Analysis at Sydney University who have up with the algorithms and our measurement tools.

The number of buckets represents the litres of water based on an averaged sized 10 litre bucket or 2.64 gallons.

Buckets of water represent the number of litres of water you have saved

Buckets of water represent the number of litres of water you have saved

The number of footprints represents the area of land that a player has NOT disturbed by their actions. The measurement is based on a typical human footprint area of 300 cm2 or 47 square-inches.

Represents the area of land you have NOT disturbed

The number of balloons represents the volume of greenhouse gas emissions measured in terms of volume of C02 gas, 1 kg or 2.2 pounds.

The number of balloons represents the volume of greenhouse gas emmissions

Remember all of these actions are based around rewarding players when they are under the national average.

So if we add all of my measurements up I have saved:

–       2,400 Litres of water or 576 Gallons of water
–       31,140 cm2 or 4,878.6 square inches of land
–       5181 kg or 11,398.2 pounds of carbon

I could keep calculating to tell you that each gallon of gas you put in a car produces 14 pounds of carbon dioxide. My behaviours equate to about the equivalent savings of over 800 gallons of gas.

Although we can never verify the actions of our players, right now we have a couple of thousand kids playing and collectively they have saved:

Community Saved Water Buckets: 32703.48

Community Saved Soccer Fields: 882965.09

Community Saved Light bulbs: 2935397.98

And who said kids can’t make a difference? It is going to take top down and bottom up approaches to address global issues like climate change and we need our kids to know they can be part of the solution.

We are keen to know what you have saved and what that equates to. Please share your profile with us on Facebook:

To learn more about how Sydney University came to calculate these savings go to our previous blog post:


Habitat Behaviours Uncovered

We have quizzed kids aged 7-12 about what environmental behaviours they recognise and can undertake. Their answers have given us a list of actions that kids will earn points for in the game and in turn we are able to tell them (thanks to Sydney University’s team at Institute of Sustainable Analysis – ISA) how much water, land and carbon they have saved.

Habitat's Real World Actions

Real World Actions






Here we look at Super Scrub which asks players to reduce the length of their shower.

Super Scrub behaviour

Real World action Super Scrub

Each action is accompanies by an explanation. With Super Scrub the player learns why they should try and limit their showers i.e “limiting your shower to 4-minutes means that you only use about 80L of water for your shower, and that means we don’t have to put as much stress on our water ways and environment to meet our water needs!”

Explanation Real World Action

In order to earn points the player inputs how many minutes they spent in the shower. They are rewarded for every minute they save under the national average (ie 4 minutes) with an average water flow of 15 litres per minute. They are also able to tick a box confirming they took a shower instead of a bath, which gives them an automatic saving of 120 litres.

Habitat players are rewarded for real world behaviours

The environmental savings in Super Scrub are then calculated as savings relative to the national average and in this in this behaviour the player is saving both water and carbon (energy expended from heating the water) 

The team at the ISA have worked out calculations for every one of the behaviours in Habitat the game. If you would like to know more about any of the action send us an email at parents at habitatthegame dot com

How Habitat is committed to protecting your children

Our team at Habitat takes maintaining the privacy of your children very seriously. Below we explain the measures we have taken to keep your child’s identity private while playing Habitat.

In Habitat the Game players adopt a virtual animal, play mini games and do tasks in the real world to keep the animal alive.


We will never know the identity of our players as we do not collect any personal information about your children when they login, but we do keep track of what they are doing in the game so they can earn rewards for their real world actions.

What makes Habitat different from most other games is that we are integrating player’s real world actions into the game. In order to keep these scores players will be asked to answer questions about their ecological footprint and their real life behaviours. These results will be put into their own eco calculators to show how much water, land and carbon the players have saved.

We have also added location services to the game so players are rewarded when they find locations in the real world. This means the player will be notified then they are close to a Habitat location. We will know how many players visited certain locations and how many pins they traded (this information will never be supplied in real time). The pins have all been placed in areas that are trafficked by family groups.

Once players collect these digital pins they will then be able to trade these pins with other player around the world. This is a closed game system where players will only see one another’s usernames and pin collection.

In order to connect with their friends we have provided players with the ability to have limited and controlled communications (they share codes between one another to gain access) such as seeing one another’s animals and sharing scores. On the leaderboard players will be able to view their progress relative to their friends. They will be able to identify one another through their usernames.

We have a very simple log in system where players put in a name for their animal. In order to keep track of their real world actions and the pins they collected we ask players to sign in with a user name and a unique password. They need to remember the name and password, as we are not collecting emails or any other personal information. We also ask them a security question so we can help them remember the password if they need to.

The login system was established so the players never lose their real world scores or pins, which we believe would ruin the game play experience for children that have worked hard to build their profiles.

We have designed Habitat to be a game that encourages kids to seek answers from their parents. They may need your help to answer some of the real world questions.

We have more information for parents on our website:

We have set up a blog with the latest news

and facebook page  to communicate with parents

You can also email us: parents at habitatthegame dot com

Our privacy policy can be viewed at:

Here are some tips about how to keep your kids safe on line while playing Habitat and other online services.

–       Ensure your kids pick a username that is not able to identify them
–       Help them pick a good password
–       Tell them never to share their passwords
–       Only allow them to share friend codes with their friends
–       Teach your children to logout of computers when they have finished playing
–       Tell them not to open emails or messages from people they don’t know
–       Teach your children how to use social networks

Habitat launches on the 13th of May 2014

The Wildlife Conservation Society and the Rainforest Alliance on the 13th of May will launch an environmental app called Habitat the Game.

Habitat the Game launches at Central Park Zoo on the 13th of May 2014.

Habitat the Game launches at Central Park Zoo on the 13th of May 2014.

The free app is available on iOS, Android and tablet devices. In the game players adopt an endangered animal (in this case a polar bear). Players are aiming to keep their virtual polar bear health and happy. The game is designed to teach seven to 12 year olds ecologically sustainable habits. Players help their cute bear by scoring points in mini-games within the app and by completing real-life ‘missions’ in the real world, like recycling. They can also rack up points by visiting partner locations such as the locations around Central Park Zoo. The pin systems aim to get kids out doors exploring their natural environment.

Habitat worked with the team at the Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) at Sydney University to develop algorithms that measure players’ ecological footprint based on indicators like water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Habitat has based the point system in the game around incentivizing the players towards a 25% reduction in their carbon, water and land use – compared with the national average.

The app’s creator Kylee Ingram explains: “Our aim was to create a game that was entertaining but had cross over into the real world. Kids that play habitat will be encouraged to change their real life behaviors. They will not only be rewarded by their actions they will also be able to see how much they are saving in terms of water, land and carbon as both individuals and as a community.”

Features of Habitat the app include:

–        Individual animal with persistence style tamagotchi play
–        “Temple Run” style feeding games
–        Ecological footprint calculator showing players their savings
–        Challenge a friend – players can invite friends to see their progress in the game
–        Leader boards – players can see how they are tracking in relation to other players
–        Location services notify players when they are near a Habitat location
–        Pin trading scheme allowing players to swap pins with other players around the world

From the 13th of May Habitat will be available to download for FREE on all iOS, Android and tablet devices.

For more information email info at

Or visit

Real World Questions for the Players

In addition to taking care of the bears and playing mini-games, players can earn eco tokens by performing real-world missions.

These missions vary in difficulty. Many will be “honor system” activities that the app does not directly track, but maintains an instructional value whether the player performs them or not.

The eco tokens that are earned can use in the virtual store. Undertaking real world actions will also improve the health of the glacier park where their bear resides.

Some of the example questions for our players can be seen below. The savings for these behaviours are calculated by Sydney University.

Dark nights
I turned off the lights
INSERT – number of lights
INSERT – number of nights

Super Scrub
I took a short shower (3 minutes or less)
INSERT – number taken

Hit the Source
I turned off electronic gadgets at the source
INSERT – number of gadgets
INSERT – Hours

 No Baggage
I took our own shopping bags to the store
INSERT – Number of bags

If you have any ideas about actions your kids would like to do let us know.

Or join this discussion on Facebook:




Ecological Footprint Savings

Habitat players will be asked questions about their environmental behaviours and also be provided with the amount of saving they have made undertaking real world actions. All the algorithms measuring the behaviours will be undertaken by the ISA team at Sydney University:

We will be measuring these savings in terms of Carbon/Energy (C02), Land area (m sq) and Water (L).

In order for these savings to resonate with our players, their savings will be represented in terms of the number of objects just as hot air balloons, swimming pools, barrels of oil and soccer fields they have saved.


We will be measuring the savings for individual players and as the Habitat community. Over time we hope that the savings they make as a community will be impressive and kids will be able to see what they can achieve when they work together as a unit.

There is an old African proverb we love; “If you want to go quickly do alone. If you want to go far go together.”

Sustainability expert Chris Andrew talks a little about the importance of working together as a collective: