THE BLOG

Climate Fun Was a Game Changer

17/03/2013 15:02 | Updated 15 May 2013

People may have thought we were just having a laugh but our games night at the London Science Museum was a winner for the environment.

More than 100 people turned up to play a variety of family favourites including eco bingo, giant human sized eco snakes and ladders, and a food footprint game.

By using games as an alternate guilt-free approach to climate change messaging we aimed to change people's thinking and behaviour towards the environment.

We wanted to test how effective games are in educating and gently encouraging, or 'nudging' people to take on environmental actions that they might not have thought of before.

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A total of 192 actions were chosen on the night ranging from installing insulation, investigating renewable technologies, to purchasing a laptop instead of a desktop to save energy.

Nearly one third of all respondents, by far the most popular response, said they would be more careful in their food buying choices in future. A testament to the power of the food footprint game.

The next most popular area for action was concerning water efficiency. About half of the audience chose to take on a water saving action of some kind. From putting hippos in loos, (a device which can save nearly a litre of water per flush) through to turning off the tap while brushing teeth, not overfilling the kettle and ensuring lids are put on pans whilst boiling veggies.

Interestingly more sustainable transport choices did not score highly, which just goes to show how difficult this area of environmental action can appear to people. Either that or the fact we were in London meant that people were already ditching their cars and using public transport, bikes and their own feet to the max.

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So, what are the carbon and climate implications if everyone carried out their chosen actions (for which we could calculate carbon savings)? The final score showed that if all actions picked on the night were undertaken, the event would have been the catalyst for saving around 30 tonnes of carbon per year. Not bad for a night's work!

And this is just the start - it will be fascinating to see what results we can gather over the rest of year as part of my LSDC London Leaders project.

Paula is embarking on her research project over the next twelve months and is also the author of a new book on How Gamification Can Help Your Business Engage in Sustainability (Dō Sustainability: March 2013)