Virtual game by University of Waterloo to highlight climate crisis to students
KITCHENER -- A new virtual simulation game created by the University of Waterloo is helping students tackle the complex issue of climate change while having fun.
Like most kids, 10-year-old Ethan Glauser says learning is a lot more interesting when its done through a video game.
"It was much more fun than hearing 'you do this, while I help some other kids do this with climate change,’" explained Glauser.
Glauser is one of the first students to test out the new virtual game called Illuminate.
"I definitely learned something from that game and I got more understanding of how climate change works," he said.
That's because his dad Simon, the managing director of the University of Waterloo's Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change, is one of the people that helped bring it to life.
"We tried to make the game easy to use, but challenging to win, so that it reflects what is really going on in the world," said Simon.
It's filled with research from the school's climate change experts, with a focus on the Canadian landscape.
"You’ll see that in the art work and the type of communities that you visit in the game," said Illuminate developer Adam Leung. "They’re communities that exist in Canada and the science is based on that."
Players are prompted to make decisions in an attempt to mitigate the climate crisis.
"So, that’s things like switching to nuclear power or planting billions of trees," explained Leung.
Players will either be congratulated on their choices or they will face the consequences of failing to invest in the right set of solutions.
"We know those solutions exists, that's why we wanted to highlight those solutions in the game to show that there is a pathway to a bright future," added Simon.
The game is set to be released to 500 Canadian classrooms over the next year through the Protect Our Winters Canada platform and can also be played online for free.