Education is key when it comes to scaling climate solutions, and can be even more effective when the content is delivered in a fun and engaging way. That’s the premise behind a new Drawdown Georgia Climate Solutions Card Game: an interactive, team-based approach to learning about the high-impact solutions of Drawdown Georgia. The game offers players ages 12 and up an opportunity to learn about localized carbon reduction solutions that can reduce net emissions in Georgia. The game was inspired by an article written by Dr. Marilyn Brown and others that details the science behind Drawdown Georgia’s high-impact solutions. Published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the article provided a great foundation to create the game materials.
The idea for the game was conceived in the summer of 2021 through a partnership of Georgia Tech faculty and graduate students, the Ray C. Anderson Foundation, and the Institute for Georgia Environmental Leadership (IGEL). IGEL is an experiential environmental education program that provides participants with knowledge, skills, and a professional network to solve Georgia’s environmental challenges. The end goal was for the 2020/2021 IGEL Class to play this game at their annual summit meeting in Serenbe, GA, in January 2022. We thought this activity would fit perfectly into the IGEL curriculum by promoting teamwork and collaboration while teaching players about Drawdown Georgia.
Collaborators and Work Process/Development
Work on game development began in the summer of 2021 and continued throughout the fall semester. Dr. Marilyn Brown and a core group of Georgia Tech graduate students (Ollie Chapman, Max Koptik, and Chris Contos) cooperated to create the vision for the game. We knew from the start that the game needed to represent the Drawdown Georgia solutions in a fun, easy-to-follow format, while also showcasing the science of the project.
We developed a deck of playing cards to represent the 20 solutions, along with “wild cards” that symbolize positive, negative, or neutral real-life events that impact carbon reduction efforts. In addition, Lalith Polepeddi from Georgia Tech’s Global Change Program created a digital leaderboard based on Drawdown Georgia’s Carbon Reduction Visualizer to keep track of each team’s progress and give players a way to visualize their overall impact on CO2 reduction.
Several trial games were conducted on Georgia Tech’s campus with the help of individuals from Georgia Tech’s Master of Sustainable Energy & Environmental Management program and its Energy Club as well as leaders of IGEL, Drawdown Georgia, and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation. Those test runs made the game better – the cards, rules, and leaderboard were edited and improved until the final version was ready for the IGEL meeting.
Climate Solutions Card Game Overview / Rules
The objective of the card game is for players to reduce Georgia's net carbon emissions in 2030 by 50% to 78 megatons of CO2e using the 20 high-impact solutions of Drawdown Georgia. Each solution card is ranked from 1-20 based on its amount of reduced CO2, and the cards must be played in numerical order to count towards the overall carbon reduction goal. Teams discuss the solutions and collaborate to decide which solutions can have the biggest impact in reducing Georgia’s net emissions. Teams play 5 solution cards in rounds 1-3, and up to 10 cards in rounds 4 and 5. This is followed by drawing a card from the wild card deck which includes bonus, setback, and status quo cards. These cards represent random, real-life events such as technological breakthroughs and natural disasters, which can help or hinder the team’s overall progress. The round is concluded with players entering the correct solutions and their wild card into the digital leaderboard.
Games are played by teams of 4-5 players and typically last around 45-60 minutes. The game begins in the year 2022, and each turn represents two years. Teams take five turns until the year 2030 is reached or until all solutions are played. The team with the lowest net emissions in the year 2030 is the winner.
Just like in life, teamwork and collaboration are key to playing the cards in the correct order. Each player’s unique educational and professional background aids in the team’s goal.
Next Steps for the Climate Solutions Game
The Climate Solutions Game is currently copyrighted and a patent for the game is being pursued.
Going forward, our hope is that the game can be used in classrooms and community settings to provide a fun, engaging, and collaborative way to bring people together to work towards a cleaner and more prosperous environment in Georgia. More information on the game and its materials can be found here.