When I was a kid, I didn’t like reading much. I played outdoors, watched tv, and made messes. But when one of my friends showed me their “choose your own adventure” books, I was intrigued. You would read a little, then be given two choices like, “go up the stairs” or “open the closet door”. Depending on what option you chose, you would turn to a certain page and continue reading until you got to the next choice. I call that interactive 1.0. Now jump ahead many years, and today we have a free app called Twine. In it, users can create their own stories and give the reader choices as to what they want to do next. But what if that game was used to create awareness of a particular issue society doesn’t quite understand clearly?
The movie Damnation about dams built along the Columbia River and its tributaries addresses an issue of the impact that has on kayakers, fish, wildlife and ecosystems. But it also failed to address other erosional and geological issues that I felt would contribute more to their argument. I then took the question further, if not hydro power, then what? There are the standard energy sources we use such as coal, natural gas, nuclear power, wind, solar, and a few others.
I wanted to see how each contributed to energy and how each affected the environment and found a couple articles from the EPA and the US Energy Information Administration. That was a good start because it gave me a baseline of statistics to draw from. But I still needed more information and turned to my Environmental Science book I used in my Environmental Biology class. That and referring to a few notes helped me remember a few things – basically that what I learned was that the truth is a bit more complex than that. Movies like An Inconvenient Truth and many other tend to skew the real picture. People watch a documentary and instantly become an expert on the subject. Arguments abound, and people divide.
Issues such as opening up ANWR and the Keystone Pipeline seem to light firestorms on social media. Everyone has an opinion. But getting back to my experience in my environmental biology class, I learned that the only true way we can protect the environment completely is for mankind to return to the stone age. While greenhouse gasses are a naturally occurring thing, and in nature the carbon cycle takes care of it, we humans are pumping more carbon dioxide and other gasses into the atmosphere at a level greater than what the carbon cycle can handle. This exacerbates the greenhouse effect. Some feel that it’s not real, while others feel we need to cut all use of fossil fuels immediately. This is the genesis of my game.
I want those that play this game to come to learn something that maybe they hadn’t thought of before, and perhaps to consider ideas that would make us less polarized. I hope to show people that there isn’t a simple solution to this problem. Both sides of the argument are right, and both are wrong. Do you want to know what the answer is? Then play the game!