Earth Remembers

Inspired by the “edutainment” video game wave of the 1990s, Earth Remembers is a computer game that illustrates how the impacts of climate change are a direct outcome of the decisions made by political entities, and teaches its users how to negotiate. Set in 2033, Earth Remembers begins when scientists have confirmed that the tipping point for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has been triggered and traditional measures of reversing global warming, like lowering emission rates, will no longer stop global sea levels from rising by over four meters. Island nations and low lying cities are now being steadily engulfed by the oceans. The game mirrors our current international climate change decision-making process, where the user plays as a UN delegate representing a specific country at the UN COP24 Climate Change conference in Katowice, Poland. With each turn they must negotiate with all other delegates about how they will spend their national budget and what environmental commitments they will make. After decisions have been made, the game uses IPCC climate models to simulate the effects their decisions had on global temperature, carbon emissions, and the respective country’s national GDP over a five year period, allowing the player to “live through” the scenarios. Each five year round from 2033 to 2118 produces different results based on the negotiations finalized by the user’s interactions. A collaboration between researchers from Glasgow Caledonian University, Utrecht University and the Purdue Climate Change Research Centre in Indiana, the ultimate goal of Earth Remembers is to combine art, science, and political discourse in a way that inspires youth to foster meaningful change and avert future climate crises. The game may overlook some of the nuances of negotiations where countries may not always live up to their commitments, like the 34 of the 37 countries who have ratified from their second-round commitments to the Kyoto Protocol in 2005. Additionally, it is hard to make clear outcome scenarios for short term environmental impacts for over 100 years in the future. Despite this however, users have so far reported viewing tipping points as much more “real”, and by understanding the political processes involved, they could help create better systems for managing environmental regulation.   

Von Stein, J., 2008. “The international law and politics of climate change: Ratification of the United Nations Framework Convention and the Kyoto Protocol.”


Aesthetic/Leisure, Climate Change, Ecological Monitoring, Immersive Technology, Internet of Things, Psychology, Regulation