The UN's blog details gaming's power to promote environmentalism and the Green Game Jam.
Feelgood Friday: The UN & Gaming Industry's Fight Against Climate Change
The games industry is making huge progress in the fight against climate change. And while initiatives undertaken by various games companies may not single-handedly stave off climate catastrophe, it's heartening to see the biggest industry taking some kind of action where others are content to bury their head in the coal.
These actions have taken many forms over the years. For some such as the UN Development Programme (UNDP) it meant becoming an unlikely mobile game developer to educate and raise awareness. Mission 1.5 gamifies the process of educating people on what causes climate change, while also gathering opinions on how governments should react to the changes.
Then there are dyed-in-the-wool developers who have decided to use their resources and knowhow to develop a climate-focussed title off their own backs. Such is the case with Monument Valley developers, Ustwo, who created Alba: A Wildlife Adventure to communicate the importance of conservation and restoration.
And by donating a portion of the profits from the game to tree-planting efforts, Ustwo are happy to put their money where their mouth is. Which has led to over 1 million trees being planted and three habitats being restored.
And Ustwo are just one of over 40 studios t0 join the UN's Playing For the Planet Alliance, which was launched in 2019. Whether we like it or not, our gaming has an impact on the planet (something has to power those rigs), and the Alliance is a way for studios to work together in offsetting the industry's carbon footprint.
For example, the Alliance's organization of Green Game Jams wields the power of gaming, and the sweeping influence of some member studios such as Microsoft, Sony and Ubisoft, to deliver a green message not just to gamers, but to people in power. For instance, 2021's Green Game Jam encouraged millions of participants to support organizations like Play4Forests and Glowing, Glowing, Gone while garnering 60,000 pledges for UN environmental campaigns.
And some studios are taking personal responsibility, with Sony increasing their energy-saving potential through savvy investment in components, whilst mobile game developer Gameloft has implemented an admirable project to become Net-Zero Carbon.
This year's Green Game Jam will involve over 50 studios with a focus on 'Food, Forests and Our Future.' To see what's in store, and how to get involved, check out the official website.