Namaste. You are India. You want to develop a partnership with Europe on clean technology. Well, that’s not free. You have to pay 500 Nobel into a climate fund – a lot of play money in the new world currency. But later you receive 1500 Nobel from that fund to close a dirty CO2 factory. Is it worth it? You must decide whether this is a beneficial investment that world countries can work on together. Without such collaboration, the world ends up in a chaos.
But you are lucky. This is just a game.
“We know everything. So I wanted to bring the knowledge from the climate change conference to the tables of the families back home. I did that through a game,” according to Dr. Otto Ulrich, engineer, political scientist, and the game’s designer.
The board game “Cooling down!” enables players to take the roles of major world regions and decide upon the future of the world.
“The aim of the game is to improve your consciousness about the future,” Ulrich said. The future, however, is full of complex climate change issues that must be handled collaboratively and fairly.
Russia, for example, has to seriously consider how to solve poverty issues in developing countries. But can Russia afford to pay 3,000 Nobel for climate projects? Participants must make such tough decisions, recognizing that interdependence is the only path to viability.
The game’s target group is students 16 years old and older. “The game is not only for joke (just for fun),” Ulrich emphasizes, as the players must be able to build upon their knowledge about climate change. “Afterwards you are a world citizen. You start with the position ‘I’ and ‘me’ and later on we have the feeling of ‘we’ and ‘us,’” Ulrich said. To date 2,000 games have been sold internationally.
It is a game to learn about the world, Oliver Hasenkamp said as he completed his first round. “The game seems well thought-out. But it is really complex.” This opinion is shared by a number of other participants who got a short glimpse of the game during a workshop at the 64th DPI/NGO conference.
A brief view is not enough to enable one to master the challenges. “The game can last two weeks or two years,” Ulrich said. The climate change problems unfortunately last even longer.
By Bettina Benzinger and Manisha Deena