Climate change is just a game

2011-12-02 14:00

Durban - When Pablo Suarez began teaching farmers, fishermen and emergency volunteers about rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns using scientists and a Powerpoint presentation, people were falling asleep in their chairs.

Eventually he decided on a very different approach.

"I had to convey the idea of a storm, of an extreme weather event, and I had a Frisbee and I just threw it into the audience," Suarez, a Red Cross associate director of programmes, told Reuters on the sidelines of a global climate summit.

"And the audience woke up, they saw that there was danger."

Soon Suarez began using games to explain more complex ideas like micro insurance to mitigate risks for subsistence farmers. He also teamed up with the Parsons School for Design in New York to create a number of climate games geared at communities, volunteers and policy makers.

"Farmers in Ethiopia don't have insurance in their language so we introduced a game with stones, where everyone has some stones but not enough to pay for when their child gets malaria and has to go to hospital," the Argentine researcher said.

Janot Mendler de Suarez from the Boston University Pardee Centre, who collaborates on the project, explained its impact.


"When you have that 'Aha!' moment in the game you see people's faces light up," she said. "That's a knowledge that you're much more likely to act on."

Games are not the only way to teach about climate change.

In Uganda, a national radio network brings farmers onto the newscast to explain, often in the local dialect, what seeds or trees best to plant where and when.

In Jamaica, think-tank Panos Caribbean enlisted the help of well-known local artists to write climate change songs and perform them at schools and in communities.

Through catchy tunes, some of them performed to reggae rhythms, songs such as Global Warning or Mother Earth's Cry help people to understand the dangers, said Indi McLymont-Lafayette, Panos' regional director for environment.

"Jamaica and the Caribbean are an oral culture and (people) would much more quickly absorb the message through music than through reading something in the newspaper or watching it in a newscast," she said.

  • Toto - 2011-12-02 14:21

    fantastic presentation, I like the idea.

  • Oceanh - 2011-12-02 15:51

    it is a pity though that one has to go to these extremes just be get people interested in the subject.

      Sheda - 2011-12-02 16:48

      That is because they have to lie about global warming to tax us, so now they resort to games. Bullsh%t baffles brains......... Merda taurorum animas conturbit..........

  • Gerhard - 2011-12-02 17:27

    @ Sheda... I'm afraid you may have that very wrong. Certainly, we are being taxed, and the taxes may not necessarily go towards reducing our carbon foot print, but man-made enterprise contributing heavily towards carbon emissions, that is a fact. That these contributing carbon emissions accelerates global warming, that too is a fact. Media outlets' first and foremost responsibility is to create viewership. Therefore, 98% (made up statistic, btw) of what you see on the news, and read in the papers is misrepresented for the sole purpose of creating an entertainment value. A very good website exists (actually, it's just one of many), that will steer you to the correct science as supported by proper science (and not the half baked media sound bites). This website also goes to great lengths to debunk the myths surrounding the media frenzy about scientists' so called 'lying' to us. Science produces the data. Politicians will often eschew that data to further specific business goals. For your own education, please look up You might just see the world through different eyes. And remember, there’s no truth in the news, and no news in the truth.

      somacaulay - 2011-12-03 01:11

      "That these contributing carbon emissions accelerates global warming, that too is a fact." Man contributes at most 4% towards CO2, 0.28% towards the whole greenhouse effect. In our whole atmosphere, man is just responsible for 0.001% of it. But that doesn't really matter because temperatures have been rising since the early 1800, way before the industrial revolution, and continued until around 1940, this is when industrial mass production started with cars, refrigerators, stoves etc. man-made CO2 was increasing greatly, but the temperature started decreasing. It did so for 4 decades. Also, the temperatures for the past decade have been relatively flat and stable, yet man-made CO2 continues to increase. In fact, ice core data has shown that after the temperature rises, natural CO2 rises, not the other way around.

      Douglas - 2011-12-03 01:31

      @somacaulay, interesting stats, could you try to back them up somehow? The temperatures for the past decade have been relatively 'flat and stable'?? Where have you been, in an igloo? Acc to 3 prominent organisations (UK Met Office, NASA and NOAA), the ten years from 2001-2010 are all contained in the top 11 hottest years on record. The only year from another decade is 1998. Somehow, the words flat and stable do not exactly come to mind. Are all your other facts equally well-researched?

      somacaulay - 2011-12-03 02:27,1518,662092,00.html, Seriously, you can't use Google?

      Ernst - 2011-12-03 10:10

      @Somacauly: You are wrong. I suggest you see: 1) 2) As for your assertion that human Co2 has no effect I suggest you read, very carefully, the following: 3)

      Soetdoring - 2011-12-04 08:43

      @ Ernst and Douglas. You keep on promoting the alamist view. Fairness seems to me does not exist in your vocubulary. To those who are prepared to listen and watch without blinkers, here is a nice 4 part video to watch.

      Ernst - 2011-12-04 13:57

      @Soetdoring: Please stop promoting your Denialist view and I will stop as well. As for the link you provided earlier (c3headlines): I havent found any citations to peer-reviewed research, published in prestigious scientific journals, to back up any claims made by the website. If I missed any then answer the following question: 1) Do the citations provided, point to research done by the 3% of scientists that think manmade global warming is not true. (the other 97% say man is responsible). And what is the impact factor of these journals? How many citations do these author's have? What is the prstige of the journals? 2) Seeing that you are such a conspiracy theory fanatic, where do these guys get their funding? One can virtually make any claims on the internet and provide fancy graphs to back it up (c3headlines). If these claims have not been scrutinized (peer-reviewed) by experts in the field, then it is not worth the paper it is written on.

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