Games for a new climate
“Play is the highest form of research.” – Albert Einstein
Games are a fun but serious way of helping humanity tackle the complexities, volatilities and uncertainties that could be hallmarks of the “new normal” for the global climate. Five reasons for using games in learning and dialogue:
- They encourage active learning and active engagement in dialogues.
- Games allow you to simplify complex systems.
- In games, you have to take decisions and receive feedback on the result of that decision.
- Games provide opportunity for reflection, discovery, exploration and challenge.
- And …. they are fun! Considering that emotions matter in learning – this is also a serious goal.
Games and the Climate Centre
In recent years the Climate Centre and its partners have designed at least 45 games about humanitarian issues like disaster preparedness, gender, food security, health, migration. Across five continents, Red Cross Red Crescent volunteers, goverment officials, farmers, schoolchildren, meteorologists, students and climate-policy negotiators have used our games.
Want to learn more? Read Pablo Suarez, our Associate Director for Research and Innovation, article on how games can support the development of better governance systems.
Resources by the Climate Centre and partners
Our Games for a New Climate video shows how games speed up learning, dialogue, and action on climate risks: they involve decisions with consequences, enabling players to inhabit the reality of climate-risk management and test possible future scenarios in a captivating and fun way.
Brief report for Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration on “Forging Resilience”
This paper reviews serious games/simulations addressing issues related to disaster risk management (DRM) and serving as educational and engagement tools for affected communities, policy-makers, and other stakeholders.
This detailed look at best practice for using games in disaster risk reduction, using the example of Ready! in Namibia, documents what’s been learned by humanitarian organisations, designers, and practitioners interested in the potential of games.
November 6, 2012
Games with an underlying serious purpose can speed up learning, dialogue and action on climate risks, engaging people’s minds and emotions, in sharp contrast to unidirectional learning through traditional lectures and PowerPoint presentations. Learn how with this working paper, the first in our series.
27 July, 2015
This paper examines the role of games in improving communication and spurring learning, and improving decision-making capacity about climate risk management amongst diverse stakeholers. Among other aspects, it discusses challenges associated with communicating the concept of loss and damage and the implications post-2015.
Humanitarian and development practitioners are confronting an irrefutable challenge: the past no longer elucidates the future. This book explores how we can accelerate learning and dialogue for climate-compatible development in a changing world among very diverse stakeholders.
The results of an evaluation of the effectiveness of a game-based handwashing curriculum to generate learning and behavior change.
For questions, please contact: email@example.com
In this game the ‘community team’ has to prioritise vulnerable community resources and take collective or individual actions to protect them from the ‘hazard team’.
Handwashing with Ananse is a set of educational games to teach children why, how and when to wash their hands with water and soap.
A quick energiser to allow people to self organise in a room according to certain questions called out.
A decisions making game designed to introduce forecasts and possible actions, three different roles.
Inspired by Chinese Whispers, participants experience the complexities of communicating a forecast message through several intermediaries.
An intensely interactive game to support learning and dialogue about key aspects of financial preparedness needs under uncertainty.
An intensely interactive game designed to support learning and dialogue about key aspects of long-term investments under uncertainty.
This physical game aims to support experiential learning and dialogue on the concept of resilience. Players become donors or subsistence farmers and face changing risks.
This simple dynamic group exercise where participants throw balls can be used to explore the complex and compounding effects of multiple stressors in a system.
This game support experiential learning and dialogue on the differential vulnerability of women and men facing climate variability and change.
An energetic, physical game in which participantssimulate the greenhouse effect, becoming either heat from the sun or greenhouse gases.
A card game that combines story-telling and strategy to show the importance of taking climate change into account as we make development investment decisions.
During this game you will experience how climate sensitive social protection works and how it is linked to climate shocks.
In this participatory activity, players become humanitarian workers, who are facing changing risks. They must make individual and collective decisions, with consequences.
Two teams test their ability to respond to a crisis using existing opportunities. This game also explores decision making under pressure and dealing with complexity.
Starts as a sit-down preparation discussion that evolves into a physical game where players frantically race to complete tasks before a disaster strikes.
During this game players become farmers who have to make decisions under the uncertainty of a seasonal forecast.
In this physical game, especially appropriate for large groups, players explore having to migrate as a result of shocks.
During this energetic, physical game, participants experience one of the impacts of climate change. The last group standing on an ever-decreasing surface wins.
This quick game explores thinking patterns on a certain topic in a dynamic way with a partner and can be used to dynamically explore associations with a certain topic or process.
In this participatory activity, players becomesubsistence farmers, who face changing risks and government officers. Players must make individual and collective decisions, with consequences.
This simple dynamic group exercise where participants throw around balls can be used to introduce climate sensitive social protection
The aim of this exercise with playing cards is to increase consciousness, flexibility and choice in our interactions by enhancing the understanding of status behaviour.
In this collaborative exercise, players work together to move a number of balls around large piece of cloth. Cooperation is key! Rich discussions emerge.
Participants work together to co-create a tree of knowledge. There are 3 simple rules and rich discussions.
Would you like to explore how serious games can enrich your organisatinal learning processes? You are very welcome to explore any of our materials. As with any game, it is typically easier if someone can show you how to run something first, so do not worry if from the materials alone some activities may seem cryptic. We are happy to provide support where needed:
1. Ad hoc game support: We can support you with specific questions on our games.
2. Game design: We can (co-)design new games that contribute to better dialogue / learning around climate resilience.
3. Training support: We can organise Training of Trainer sessions. Please find an example here of a tried and tested 3 day agenda. We can adapt the agenda to cater to specific needs.
To contact us, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please find general facilitation tips – see also: “General Guidelines”
Our top tips:
1. Safety first – make sure physical and/or emotional risks are minimised.
2. Give out instructions step by step. Don’t explain all at once. And where possible, let people experience the outcomes of decisions.
3. Practice makes perfect! Try your games a few times with a safe audience (e.g. friends and family), before you try them with a ‘high stake’ audience.
4. Enjoy! If you show you are enjoying the experience, people playing the game are also likely to enjoy the process.