Essay by Eric Worrall
Invade houses and mess with people’s heads, Guardian style.
Can video games change people’s minds about the climate crisis?
A new wave of game makers is trying to influence a generation of environmentally conscious gamers. Is that possible and is it enough?
Lewis Gordon Thu 26 Jan 2023 20.30 AEDT
It was scary. It made you realize how, despite all the sophistication of modern society, we still depend on water falling from the sky.” Sam Alfred, lead designer at Cape Town-based video game studio Free Lives, vividly recalls that his city almost the water would have run out. In 2018, the area around South Africa’s second-largest city suffered from declining rainfall for months. Dams have not been able to refill at the rate required by their occupants. Water was rationed. Stores closed. The situation even called for its own grim version of the Doomsday Clock: Hour by hour, the city ticked closer and closer to Day Zero, which marked the end of its fresh water supply.
Terra Nile, the video game that Alfred has been developing since 2019, is a response to these terrible events. Billed as “a city builder in reverse,” it eschews the consumption and expansion of genre classics like Civilization and SimCity to paint a picture of environmental restoration. Starting with the arid desert, it’s up to the player to overgrow a landscape using various technologies such as a toxin scrubber or a beehive. At the speed of light and with eye massages in emerald green and azure blue, the surroundings are transformed into lush vegetation. Terra Nile’s simplicity is as beautiful as its looks, offering the satisfaction of a coloring book while dishing out a perceptive critique of environmentally destructive extraction.
Whether it changes minds or behavior, there is a desire among game makers and gamers alike to address the ongoing threat of global warming. Games like ABZÛ and Alba: A Wildlife Adventure – ecological fables set in the ocean and on land – are among many that show us a way of seeing the world that doesn’t go through crosshairs.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/games/2023/jan/26/can-video-games-change-peoples-minds-about-the-climate-crisis
Back in the real world, even The Conversation admitted that the 2017-18 Cape Town water crisis was caused in large part by corruption and incompetence, not climate change like most of South Africa’s other problems.
The cause of the crisis
The civil society group South African Water Caucus reveals that the national government’s reluctance to release funds to help drought relief is due to rising debt, mismanagement and corruption at the national department for water and sanitation.
This claim is supported by the Auditor General, who credits the department with “irregular and fruitless and wasteful spending” exceeding its 2016-2017 budget by R110.8 million.
The department has not allocated funds for next year’s drought relief in the Western Cape. Here, too, the state government has to foot the bill.
Had systems in the national government functioned smoothly, Cape Town’s water crisis could have been alleviated. Adequate water allocations would have made more water available to Cape Town. And with timely responses to disaster reports, the water supply infrastructure could have been up and running by now.
Cape Town teaches us that water crises are rarely a matter of rain. Understanding disasters like droughts requires looking at the problem from many different perspectives, including politics.
Read more: https://theconversation.com/cape-towns-water-crisis-driven-by-politics-more-than-drought-88191
As for the Guardian’s advocacy of using computer games to raise concerns about the climate, it’s hard to think of anything more reprehensible.
Many computer gamers are young people. Young people are already so scared of climate change that they are self-destructing with hard drugs because they cannot face their fear.
The following is a statement from Dr. Alex Wodak, a top Australian drug rehabilitation expert, on an ice supplementation survey in NSW in
First, the threshold step is to redefine drugs as primarily a health and social problem and not primarily a law enforcement problem. Second, drug treatment needs to be expanded and improved until it reaches the same level as other health services. Third, all penalties for personal drug use and possession must be abolished.
Fourth, as much of the drug market as possible needs to be regulated, recognizing that some of the drug market is already regulated, such as B. methadone treatment, needle and syringe programs, medically supervised injection centers. Of course, it will never be possible to regulate the entire drug market. We previously regulated parts of the drug market. Edible opium was taxed and regulated in Australia until 1906 and in the United States Coca-Cola contained cocaine until 1903.
Fifth, efforts to reduce demand for strong psychoactive drugs in Australia have had limited benefit and require a new focus. Unless and Until young Australians are optimistic about their future, demand for medicines will remain strong. Young people understandably want more certainty about their future prospects, including climate, education, jobs and affordable housing. Change will be slow and gradual, like all social policy reforms.
As Herb Stein said while advising President Nixon:
Things that can’t go on forever don’t.
Drug prohibition cannot last forever and is being replaced by libertarian paternalism. Thank you.
Source: Wayback Machine
I am not a proponent of censorship of computer games, but in my opinion there is nothing commendable about measures aimed at increasing concerns about the climate. I believe games that focus on climate change could plunge even more people, particularly vulnerable young people, into a crisis from which they may not recover. The climate concern, especially among young people, has already been boosted so much that some of the kids are breaking down.