Let’s Play a Game

I’m encouraged by the recent trend of gamification, in particular its applications in the environmental space.

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve loved games. I’m pretty sure my parents could have manipulated me into doing whatever they wanted by calling it a game. “John, I bet you can’t be silent longer than me during this five-hour car ride. Ready? Go!” Or, “John, do you think you can eat all of your vegetables in the next 60 seconds?”

I’m constantly on the lookout for a new board game to play. The most recent game that I’ve taken a liking to is the Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures game, which is timely given how popular The Force Awakens has been. Credit goes to my little brother, Patrick, for the introduction to this game. If you are a Star Wars nut like me and enjoy complex, strategic board games, this one is a winner. And yes, I realize this is further confirmation that I’m a nerd at heart.

I’m encouraged by the recent trend of gamification, in particular its applications in the environmental space. Can we get people to recycle more by making a game of it? The Bottle Bank Arcade suggests that the answer is yes. How about getting people to drive in a more efficient manner? My wife and I can vouch for this one with our Nissan Leaf. The more efficiently you drive, the faster you fill up a tree-shaped gauge on the dash board. I have shamelessly texted my wife a picture of the dash board with the question, “Have you ever filled three full trees before?!?!”

I’m sure dozens of other examples are out there (if you know of one, feel free to share in the comments). I also expect that it’s a trend that will continue to emerge. Sounds good to me.

So I’ve got a game for y’all. Can you guess the author of the following quote? No Googling allowed, of course. I’ll have an answer for you and a few further thoughts next week.

The continued acceleration of changes affecting humanity and the planet is coupled today with a more intensified pace of life and work which might be called “rapidification”. Although change is part of the working of complex systems, the speed with which human activity has developed contrasts with the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. Moreover, the goals of this rapid and constant change are not necessarily geared to the common good or to integral and sustainable human development. Change is something desirable, yet it becomes a source of anxiety when it causes harm to the world and to the quality of life of much of humanity.