Sim City Societas

Sim City Societas

“A Stitch in Time: General Lessons from Specific Cases” details nine general lessons about adaptation to climate change. Number four on this list is “increase awareness and adaptation.” The authors of this article used case studies as proof that there are information “problems” in terms of communicating, advancing, interpreting, and applying the management of climate change. Additionally, the authors later attribute this lack of knowledge as a major reason for lack of will to adapt and mitigate climate change.

So if there is a general lack of education about climate change, what actions should we take to increase knowledge of the importance of adaptation and mitigation? Is reform needed at the national education policy level? If so, at what age level should schools teach climate change? Or, would supplemental educational programs be more effective? Perhaps just solid “green” leadership (governmental or non-governmental) would help.

Laura Wray and Constance Flanagan discuss the impact of youth’s perception of the government’s role in mitigating climate change on youths’ own motivation to “preserve the environment.” Quoting Al Gore, Wray and Flanagan state:

Gore argues that in America, “political will is a renewable resource.” Perhaps one way to renew this resource is to start focusing more on young people and their understanding of, as well as contribution to, environmental problems.

One great example of a project that greatly improved public knowledge of climate change is the documentary “An Inconveient Truth” by Al Gore. In Austrailia alone, some speculate that the documentary was enough to convience official cabinet members to change their skeptical stance on climate change (in addition to convincing large portions of the general public). Surprisingly, Andrew Revkin of the New York Timesblog “Dot Earth” postulates that it is possible that a new video game, “Sim City Societas,” could exceed “An Inconvenient Truth” in widespread educational impact. The game conveyes the short and long-term impacts of climate change, as well as forces players to make decisions with regards to energy sources.

Through multimedia such as documentaries and video games, successful models have helped improve public knowledge and education about adaptation to and mitigation of climate change. Perhaps promoting the advancement of these types of materials would have a larger impact than tackling the beast that is public school curriculum reform. Whatever the forum, more needs to be done.

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