Guest Post: “Game Over” for Climate Change!

Gamification for Climate Change

Best of times and worst of times for Behavioral Change

(This is a Guest Post by the WeForest Team. They are applying Octalysis to solve global climate change problems, and we love to promote efforts that make the world a better place. If you want to share a similar post, you can email victoria[at]yukaichou[period]com)

Shigeru Miyamoto from Nintendo once said: “For those who don’t play video games, video games are irrelevant. They think all video games must be too difficult.”

I say, same goes for fighting climate change.

Life as we know it is about to end. Quite literally!

Nowadays, everyone is busy in their own bubbles, whether it is sustaining a living, building a career or raising kids. We don’t often look around to check what is happening around us. Even if we do notice major issues such as poverty, pollution, climate change, natural disasters, we immediately think, “this is out of my league, there is no way I could solve such issues, I prefer to stay in my bubble.”

But what if these major issues will start affecting your bubble? What if you can still move on with your same routine, same lifestyle and still help in solving one of these looming and world-crushing dangers?

Confronting the Hard Truth

It is a fact that Global climate change is real and already starting to transform life on Earth. Glaciers have shrunk, ice on rivers and lakes are breaking up earlier, plant and animal ranges have shifted, and we already see the first climate refugees.

So yes, life as we know it is about to end. Or as James Hansen – the famous NASA and Columbia University scientist – puts it: “If we continue, if we extract oil and burn that and emit that into the atmosphere, we are absolutely at game over with climate change.”

So, let’s do something about it. In the Octalysis Framework, we know that Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning & Calling is a White Hat Core Drive, which means it is very powerful, but lacks urgency. People WANT to make the world better, but there is not immediate trigger to do it today. Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance is a Black Hat Core Drive, which means it motivates us immediately through the fear of losing something or having undesirable events happen.

Let’s see how to use that Core Drive 8 to lead into Core Drive 1.

Gaming and Climate Change

Gaming and fighting climate change –  Have you ever thought what they might have in common? Most people see nothing! But if you look deeper, you will find the link.

Gaming is all about problem solving, one of the motives that makes gamers enjoy playing video games is the sense of achievement and accomplishment they get when they pass a level or get a high score. This is Octalysis Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment, where we are driven be a sense of growth and desire to achieve targeted goals. So, what if you can take this sense of achievement to a whole new level and create an impact on a major global issue?

Another important aspect is the power of the crowd! The gaming industry can motivate huge crowds and create a movement that can definitely make a difference. Humans have an innate, intrinsic desire to belong to a social group and exert influence socially (Octalysis Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness). When we see a group of people that we relate to spring into action, we want to participate and play our part in that group. In the same vein, not participating when other people in our group are, may result in a fear of missing out (Core Drive 8: Loss and Avoidance).

Hence, as a gaming company or a gamer, you could do a lot about it actually.

Fighting the New Dragon: Climate Change 

Gamification is the next big thing. Games are no longer just about scores, building fortresses or fighting the dragon anymore; learning from successful games is now a very powerful tool for motivation, education, and spreading awareness. Several initiatives have already started making an impact through social gaming, which makes us strongly believe that global public awareness about the climate change issue could be significantly increased through Gamification. In fact, we believe that only a gamer could have what it takes to combat the new dragon, aka climate change.

What steps does it take to fight Climate Change? 

Did you know that the total electricity consumed by idle electronics equals the annual output of 12 power plants? There are many solutions that one could put in place. Starting from basic actions such as choosing greener computers and game consoles to activating the power management features on your computer. If we can present various ways for people to contribute to climate change, and let them choose how they will participate, they will feel empowered in their autonomous choice perception (Octalysis Core Drive 3: Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback).

In addition, act as an ambassador to the cause and promote it among people you know (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness). Awareness is the first step to know about the issue and afterwards start looking for solutions.

WeForst: Planting Trees for every in-game behavior!

As Oxford Scientists put it: “Trees are the best technology to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere” and that’s what we are focusing on at WeForest.

Our main mission is to fight climate change through reforestation and landscape restoration projects. Reforestation is not just about planting trees, it’s a process of reviving a whole community with all its living organisms. By planting trees, you give new life for our Earth and for the community surrounding it, initially by absorbing carbon dioxide and by being a proactive tool in in meeting the international goal of avoiding climate change greater than 2 degrees Celsius.

Planting Trees adds to people’s innate desire for progress (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment). Every tree is like a reward that people can collect, and if grouped together the trees could form part of a collection set. Perhaps you can collect different kind of tree types: teak, mahony, oak, sequoia and get special powers if you complete a tree collection set (Core Drive 4: Ownership and Possession – we are driven by the feeling that we own something).

At WeForest, we offer trees as a currency for companies to engage their millions of gamers. With this powerful tool, gaming companies may choose to plant a certain amount of trees for every gamer who passes a certain game level. With this, everyone will have his share in solving the problem, whether it is the gaming company, the gamer or the organizations. This is one idea of many other solutions.

As we can see, fighting for our planet can be a well-designed gamified experience, using Octalysis Core Drive Motivational design. We can all be part of this virtual movement and create a real difference. Let’s collaborate and plant trees to make our Earth cooler and hopefully receive the message “Congratulation. This story has a happy end. Thank you.”

Check our website to know more about our different reforestation projects (www.weforest.org) and if you have any inquires or suggestions, please dont hesitate to drop us a message.

5 thoughts on “Guest Post: “Game Over” for Climate Change!”

  1. Heck, I could feel obligated to play games from your sponsors! And just use your browser gets trees planted – a no-brainer!
    Have posted the browser to FB

    1. BTW, the browser is at https://www.ecosia.org/. How can you not use it if you are greening the planet with web searches you are already doing?
      Victoria, awesome, smashing, at the top for causes & meaning to life!
      If Yu-Kai gets run over by a semi while filming his Octalysis videos, give me a call! 😉

You must engage in the conversation!!