Board Games as a Solution to Climate Change

From talking to hundreds of founders over the last couple years, I’ve learned that one of the biggest challenges to technology adoption is educating consumers. Education is key for changing consumer behavior.

Startups are getting creative about how to do this for their particular solutions, but we ultimately need as many people as possible to be educated on the climate crisis and the many solutions that exist.
Solutions is a game inspired by Project Drawdown, which is a framework of climate solutions, developed by a collaboration of over 200 experts. Project Drawdown shows a path forward to how we can beat climate change by the year 2050. They have ranked 76 climate solutions based on how much impact they can realistically have between 2020–2050, based on technology trends, adoption trends, economics, carbon lifecycle analysis, and more.

Now people can have fun playing a board game, while learning about the climate crisis. Players are going against time — as in-game time progresses, the global temperature increases. Each turn players need to discuss the solutions with the highest carbon reduction impact to keep the temperature from rising too much.

The game is also a fun tool for parents and teachers. Sam Levac-Levey, the creator of the game, says that “When teachers introduce and play this game with students, the students are shocked to learn about the diversity of solutions that exist, most of which they’ve never heard of before.” He has talked to dozens of teachers who want to teach about climate change, but they have no idea how. Solutions a good starting point for approaching the subject in a positive way that encourages action rather than climate anxiety.

Sam has taken this one step further by also building out material for project-based learning. “The ultimate goal of the game is to make it more than just a learning tool. This can be a starting point for real world climate action,” says Sam. As such, when people are done playing, they can pick their favorite solution and turn it into a real-world project. “Today, there’s a big focus on the small personal actions you can take, and then there’s the giant actions that governments and corporations can take. I think there’s a huge sphere of actions in the middle where a single individual or group of individuals can have a huge impact outside of just themselves,” Sam states.

This can manifest itself into larger, community-based initiatives. For instance, one school in Palm Beach, Florida has started a project to reduce cafeteria food waste, inspired by the game. Their teacher, Cassie Klein, says “The game inspired the students, who then inspired the administration to make a bigger impact right here at school”. These initiatives can then be uploaded as ‘action templates’ to be replicated and improved upon across communities and organizations.

Making climate education available and digestible is the right step for a greener future. The approach Solutions is taking will encourage grassroots movements within communities. With a shift in consumer demand, governments and corporations will need to revisit their policies and operations.

Solutions will be launching on Kickstarter in June. To be notified of their launch, sign up here!

This newsletter went out first to readers of The Impact, an Op-Ed email newsletter focused on cleantech that is written by analysts, founders and executives in the industry. Check it out and subscribe here.

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Daniel Kriozere

Daniel Kriozere

Impact Investment Analyst at One World | Startup Weekend Facilitator | Climate Tech Enthusiast