Vermontivate! A Game-Based Approach to Addressing Climate Change

Challenge:

The solutions to climate change are as diverse as its causes, posing a formidable challenge that can feel overwhelming, even for the dedicated environmentalist. With this in mind, in 2010, VEIC Consultant Nick Lange proposed a research and development project to study game-based approaches to climate change. A year and a half later, fate placed him at a meeting with artist and activist Kathryn Blume, who had independently started gathering a team to design a climate change game. Through the game, that team hoped to educate the public about climate change, offer steps to curb its negative effects, and encourage sustainable living habits.

Solution:

Initially sponsored by VEIC, Lange and Blume developed their ideas into a sustainability game called Vermontivate! The first game began in May of 2012 and attracted 225 players from 31 Vermont towns. To play the game, players take on a wide range of sustainability challenges posed by friendly cartoon barnyard animals, which were designed to speak to individuals of all psychographic styles, skills, and interest levels.

Through Vermontivate! participants embark on a personal journey towards sustainability. The game is designed to empower players, encourage action, and inspire group involvement.

Vermontivate! has involved more than 30 Vermont-based organizations and programs that support sustainability in a variety of areas, including organic agriculture, waste removal, transportation, and energy efficiency. Vermontivate! has been funded by VEIC, the Agency of Transportation, Efficiency Vermont, and private donors.

Moving forward, VEIC continues to use the lessons of the Vermontivate! pilot to improve engagement and enhance personal experience through program design, implementation, and consulting practices that incorporate and develop community partnerships.

Results:

  • 94% of players reported average to above-average understanding of climate change and sustainability after playing Vermontivate! (compared to 78% prior to playing)
  • 95% of players reported average to above-average engagement with climate change and sustainability after playing Vermontivate! (compared to 78% prior to playing)
  • 85-87% of players strongly agreed that Vermontivate! helped them feel like they could make a positive change in their life and community.
  • 75% of players reported a desire to play Vermontivate! again.