Let’s play…how a new board game devised by teenagers is tackling climate change
Teenagers and academics in the English city of Birmingham have put their creative minds together to come up with an innovative new board game to help raise awareness of key issues surrounding climate change.
The Climate Action Game project is the result of a partnership between Birmingham City University and a group of 13 young people from the city, aged between 14 and 18.
They all worked together over a two-month period the to create CLIMANIA, a free resource for families and communities to learn about the impact of the built environment on climate change. The project cost around £9,500, which was funded by the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).
CLIMANIA, which can be downloaded or printed to play for free, tasks participants with ‘retro-fitting’ properties – the process of adding additional technology to their homes – while facing different environmental challenges and opportunities.
Players take turns to answer questions about climate and built environment issues, building up their climate change knowledge to win retrofit components and race against time to reach the centre of the board, reinforcing the message of rising global temperatures. The game stimulates creativity, discussions and collaboration.
Researchers say the aim is to educate people about the impact of homes and the built environment on climate change, and how retrofitting buildings could play a vital role in cutting the demand for energy to heat homes and water, achieving energy security and delivering climate goals.
Simeon Shtebunaev, Doctoral Researcher at Birmingham City University and Principal Investigator, said: “CLIMANIA is a demonstration of the untapped potential and innovativeness that teenagers can contribute to climate action research. The boardgame can spark inter-generational discussions at home, in boardrooms and in the public realm about the need to retrofit our dilapidated homes and pay attention to the built environment when it comes to climate mitigation!”
The game was created through a series of creative workshops to share climate change facts and discuss how the built environment currently impacts on climate change, and how reforms could cut emissions and help communities to adapt.
The teenage members of the team interviewed around 30 people from their own communities in the Balsall Heath area of the city to find out about their climate concerns. Four external professionals helped produce the game and testing was held with some 50 people ranging from teenagers to pensioners.
‘..it demonstrates how teenagers can contribute to climate action research’
Fellow team member, Associate Professor Claudia Carter, said: “CLIMANIA is a fun way to illustrate that climate action is urgent, possible and affordable – lowering resource use and costs over time. If you’re unsure what retrofit is about, play the game!”
Anam, one of the young researchers from Balsall Heath, added: “The project helped me understand the amount of energy humans use and waste on a daily basis and reducing this could help our climate. My main takeaway is that we could come together to come up with solutions to help the world we live in.”
It’s already been downloaded over 100 times by people in more than 25 countries, and is now available for the public to access and download to help boost awareness of major issues of climate change in urban areas.
Click here for CLIMANIA.