Climate change is happening rapidly, and the only way to prevent further damage is to start working now. Still, many people don’t think the climate crisis is a big deal. They may not have been exposed to the right information and may not go looking for it. The only way some people will ever hear about what’s happening to the world is through the media they consume.
When pushing for efforts against climate change, you shouldn’t count out the power of media that can change people’s minds. The video game industry in the United States is worth almost $100 billion, a staggering number that will only increase over time. The right video games can expose problems to the general population, who may not have known about the issues before.
The Climate Crisis and the Next Generation
When thinking about the future, you likely consider how the next generation will take care of the world as they enter adulthood. Generation Z and younger Millennials often have intense fears about the state of the world and wonder whether there will be a world to enjoy when they enter their senior years.
Nearly half of Gen Z has considered not having children due to the fears of climate change and the future world they would grow up in.
Since a lot of the younger generation seems to grasp just how dire a situation the world is in, you might think the world is in good hands as they grow up and become policymakers. Still, many people may not believe that humanity needs to take action now. One of the best ways to reach these people, including younger Millennials and Generation Z, might be through messages in video games.
How Video Games Impact Change
Video games are already known for influencing people’s opinions and awareness of certain circumstances. E-sports have brought awareness that gaming with blue light for too long can negatively impact a gamer’s eyesight. Likewise, video games have a significant likelihood of bringing information about climate change to people who may not have encountered it.
The system is not without fault, though. Physical copies of video games can add to the greenhouse gases in the air. Shipping items is worth around 3% of the human activities that cause greenhouse gas emissions. Because physical copies of games involve the shipping process, the video game industry can’t be considered carbon-negative.
Families have turned to board games for more eco-friendly options that allow them to learn more about the environment and spend face-to-face time with one another. Board games are a welcome alternative for family game nights, but people should still find something to rely on to teach individuals about the consequences of climate change.
Digital games result in fewer greenhouse gas emissions and are healthier for the environment as a whole. As more things in the video game industry go digital, such as the digital-only PS5 option, society may see an even greater push for environmentalism. Games and the gaming industry can spur people into action through exposure to new topics.
One way the video game industry can open people’s eyes is through simulation games. Simulation games allow the player to put themselves in another world or another situation, where they can see through the eyes of someone or something affected by something different.
For example, “Bee Simulator” allows players to live as a bee, navigating all the issues with endangerment and human involvement. “The Sims 4” even has an expansion pack that allows players to build an eco-friendly city and rewards behaviors that will lower a Sim’s carbon footprint.
Video Games Pushing for Environmental Protection
Plenty of games are already pushing for environmental change and protection. Some of the best games aren’t available on every platform, but there are plenty of games that can change the way a person thinks about a topic. Here are a few options you can play yourself or gift to others who need to know just how dire the situation is.
1. “We Are the Caretakers”
This game relies on expert management skills, but it can show players how crucial it is to protect the planet’s inhabitants that cannot defend themselves. The afrofuturist design may hook some people just with the game’s appearance. Also, 10% of the sales proceeds go to saving rhinos, which is always a great cause.
2. “Deliver Us the Moon”
This game is available on PlayStation, Xbox, and Steam (PC). It features an apocalyptic future where all of Earth’s resources have been depleted, so one astronaut is sent to the moon in a bid to save humanity. While not directly related to conservation, this game can give players an idea of what might happen in the future if they don’t help to stop it.
3. “Endling – Extinction Is Forever”
In this game, you play as a mother fox – the last one in the world – who must protect her children from extinction. This eye-opening game will have players sympathizing with the species that face extinction daily. When they see the extent of the struggles they have to go through in this game, they may just want to advocate for the critically endangered species around them every day.
Climate Change Ends With Intervention
The more widely known climate change is, the more people will want to stop it. Unfortunately, some people still won’t take the environmental crisis seriously – but they can still appreciate the consequences of not taking care of the world around them. With any luck, video games and other forms of entertainment will expose people to environmental issues. From there, more people are likely to take responsibility for their carbon footprints and work toward change and a brighter future.
Jane is an environmental writer and the founder and editor-in-chief of Environment.co where she covers sustainability and eco-friendly living.
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