We have been working with Dr Chris Dey and Jacob Fry. Below are some notes about how they have set up the figures behind the game.
“The game has the task of conveying ideas of both responsibility and empowerment to the player. Responsibility here means creating the link between lifestyle choices and consumption habits, and environmental impact. The consumption of goods and services in Australia create environmental (and social) impacts all over the world through complicated supply chains. Often the environmental impacts of production are hidden to the consumers of final goods and services which makes it difficult to conceptualise these impacts. The game encourages the players to accept some responsibility for these consequences, without overwhelming them. The assignment of responsibility is tempered by empowerment to alter these impacts through lifestyle and consumption choices. The game guides players through relatively simple changes that cumulatively reduce their environmental impact.
The game aims to reduce the total impact of the players while recognising the importance of relative or fractional change as well. All reductions in environmental footprint should be encouraged, however the effect of this reduction should be compared to the scale of the problem and not be in ignorance of the environmental footprint that remains.
Environmental impact of players will be measured against a number of indicators, including energy, water, greenhouse gas emissions and ecological footprint. These data will be collected from the players over time to establish their personal footprint. The players then complete real world tasks, or actions, to improve their footprint. For each action, the change in environmental impact will be calculated against the national average and combined to determine an overall footprint:
– Water (ML)
– Emissions/Energy (t-CO2e)
– Land (ha)
Habitat points are an easy way of summarising the player’s progress in the game and allow them to communicate this progress with their peers. The ‘player profile’ will contain information about Habitat Points and the actual environmental indicators. These indicators could be presented in standard metrics, such as mega-litres (ML) or hectares (ha), as well as simplified metrics which may be easier for the players to understand – such as ‘swimming pools’ or ‘football fields’. The player profile could also contain the details of completed actions, this may also create peer pressure to ensure that these actions are actually completed or maintained.”
Below is a short review of an opinion article appeared that in the scientific journal – Tropical Conservation Science authored by Yong, Fam and Lum (see link below).
They were looking at the effects feature animations like Madagascar, Happy Feet and Finding Nemo could have on conservation efforts; and should NGOs be doing more to establish partnerships with animation studios?
NGOs have acknowledged the importance of social marketing in generating awareness across mass markets. They know these films shed light on issues concerning habitat, species and they can form the starting point of biodiversity and conservation knowledge.
The authours do list a number of criticisms of the films, arising from the simplistic portrayal of conservation issues, including inaccurate and sensationalized depictions of reality and the negative influence of wildlife trade (eg Jurassic Park lead to a spike in people keeping iguanas).
While acknowledging these criticisms the authours do believe that these films could have better outcomes for conservation if they were complimented with good educational and outreach materials. These outreach tools that would need to be created to reach the masses still remain relatively untapped.
So while these popular programs will not solve biodiversity problems, if they are created alongside carefully developed outreach programs they can go a long way to communicating much needed awareness and knowledge of biodiversity science to large audiences.
At Habitat the Game we are developing a range of outreach materials for teachers, players and parents.