Are You Ready to Get into the Game?

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Carey Guerin
Sustainability University

A great feature of the Greenbuild Conference (in San Francisco two weeks ago)  is the ability to hear from inspiring leaders across the globe.

Jane McGonigal, Director of Games Research & Development , Institute for the Future, spoke about using games to make a difference.  She shared how community volunteerism for local gardens increased 100x when implementing a real-life game similar to the popular online game FarmVille.  She also talked about gamers ability to help scientists solve medical problems. A puzzle game was created to mimic a folded protein. Scientists had been working on “unfolding” the real-life protein for 10 years to help with an aspect of AIDS. Gamers were able to solve the puzzle or unfold the protein in less than 3 weeks! Click here to read more about this astounding feat.

One game she discussed was very relevant to the real estate industry. The game “World Without Oil” was created in 2007 and asked gamers to participate in a simulation game of a global oil crisis for 6 weeks. The game had people strategizing about how they would live life as the global oil crisis unfolded. Higher gas prices, gas shortages, etc. It reminded me of the struggles our fellow Americans had during Superstorm Sandy.

Climate change is still a debate in this country (watch this Frontline story for more on that), but at the end of the day, mother nature will have the last word.  There are over 1 billion gamers out there. Imagine if they were all playing with ways to address this issue!  Why not?

PS. Curious about how sustainability strategies weathered in Superstorm Sandy? Watch this story of a Nissan Leaf owner who was able to bypass the long gas lines left over from Hurricane Sandy with his electric vehicle.

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