New game app takes kids on a climate action learning adventure

Published 3 November 2021
A diagram of a cityscape A screenshot from the Climate Action Adventure! app.

Australian children can embark on their own journey of climate action discovery using a new app designed by children in conjunction with Southern Cross University and RMIT.

The Climate Action Adventure! web app is designed as an adventure game and digital campus with its own cinema, library and art gallery to inform and educate young people on the challenges facing different parts of planet earth. A data dashboard and live hashtag tracker are regularly updated on the latest climate science and activism campaigns from around the world.

This safe space offers a range of peer-reviewed resources about climate change and a series of actions designed by young people to give everyone the opportunity to engage with sustainable, responsible practices, according to Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education at Southern Cross University.

Hi we're Aoi and Elbereth and we've got an important secret to share. Recently we discovered we have superpowers. My mutant hand makes drawings come to life and Elbereth's blue flame can affect the hearts and minds of people. Both useful powers for creating positive change in our world. Guess what? We've decided to use these powers together to fight climate change and now you can join us too. Jump in and explore climate change campus where we've created a secret underground mission to research and share climate action ideas with the world. We'd love you to join us using our own climate research shuttle and today's global technologies like social media. So please jump on board with our amazing team of climate researchers, artists and social campaigners today. And find out what you can do to take meaningful action against climate change. Let's do this.

“This game app is not only exciting but is inspiring too. It enables children and young people to contribute meaningfully to climate change conversations,” said Professor Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles.

“We’re in a time when children are choosing to take part in youth-led climate strikes and there is growing awareness of children’s concerns about climate change, which makes it all the more important to invite children to have a platform to express how they feel.”

Professor Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles, who is also research leader of the international Climate Change and Me (CC+Me) program, added: “With world leaders meeting now in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, we encourage children to join the Climate Change + Me community.”

A group of 20 young people, aged 11 to 16 from across Australia, came onboard as co-researchers and co-designers. They were sourced from a network of partnerships such as the youth-led environmental activism groups such as Australian Youth Climate Coalition and SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network.

Their goals in creating and designing the Climate Action Adventure! web app were to:

  • strengthen children and young people’s understandings and awareness of climate change, and motivation to act;
  • inspire more sustainable and regenerative ways of thinking, living, doing and being, particularly through gamification, speculative fiction and world-building; and
  • build a national and global online community for youth climate awareness and action.

What the co-designers say

  • Kiki Gonzales, aged 13: “I'm a student at Kingscliff High School, and I found contributing to creating an environmental app was a great way to raise awareness for young people on this critical issue. Being part of this experience also helped improve my collaboration skills, and for this, I would like to say a big thanks to all the amazing mentors and peers on the project.”
  • Mannat Matharu, aged 15, Tweed Heads, NSW: “I really enjoyed doing this climate app project; it was a great fun. It was fun to know about what climate change is and a very big thanks to all who thought to do this project.”

Two school students in separate images

Kiki Gonzales, aged 13, (left) and 15-year-old Mannat Matharu (supplied).

CC+Me co-researcher leader, Dr David Rousell of RMIT, said Southern Cross University and RMIT’s knowledge base and expertise played an important role in curating the game’s digital campus feature where children inform themselves about climate science.

“The cinema offers a range of climate science, educational and activism films streamed from YouTube. The library provides access to a searchable database compiled from climate science data, modelling, narratives, and concerns sourced from all over the world,” said Dr Rousell. 

“Another notable feature of the app is to launch an airship that lets you circle the globe to explore how climate change affects Earth’s environments.”

How to play

The Climate Action Adventure! web app is designed for young people primarily aged 11 to 16. It is free to play.

After registering, they join Aoi and Elbereth on a climate action adventure. Players choose from four different ‘scapes’ currently being impacted by climate change: Desertscapes, Forestscapes, Arcticscapes, and Cityscapes.

As they explore each of these environments, players encounter ‘climate concerns’ (updated regularly) that have been sourced from children, young people, and adults through extended social media networks.

 

Learn more

Climate Action Adventure! web app: ccme.app

Climate Change + Me research program: climatechangeandme.com.au/

Project Team: Professor Amy Cutter-Mackenzie-Knowles (Southern Cross University), Dr David Rousell (RMIT), Thilinika Wijesinghe (Southern Cross University), Dr Maia Osborn (Southern Cross University), and Mahi Paquette (Southern Cross University).

 

Funding

The Climate Action Adventure! web app was funded by a grant from the Australian Association for Environmental Education (AAEE) in addition to SEED funding awarded by Southern Cross University. 

 

Faculty of Education at Southern Cross University

The Faculty of Education hosts the Sustainability, Environment, and the Arts in Education (SEAE) Research Cluster. SEAE is globally recognised for enacting profound change in and through transdisciplinary environmental and arts education research that disrupts and generates new ways of being and becoming, which provokes dynamic responses to critical local-global calamities.

Made up of a large collective of researchers working across sustainability, environment and the arts in Education, the SEAE cluster is unique and has an anti-disciplinary research focus which directly informs public debate, policy, advocacy and practice.

Media contact: Sharlene King, media office at Southern Cross University +61 429 661 349 or scumedia@scu.edu.au