The Collaborative Institute

Building Connections

Playing Games with Climate Change


The online game, Global Warning, was recently launched in January 2011 by the National Security Journalism Initiative. It presents a fun and interesting way to learn about the human security implications of climate change, and the difficult decisions that policy makers face– and it is hard!

Players are challenged to test their knowledge in four regions of the world that are vulnerable to climate change. The player will be asked some questions that lead to a scenario where they’ll consider the various factors that would help determine the outcome of a climate emergency. Players can find out if their decision-making considerations match those of a diplomat, an aid worker, a scientist or an economist.We like it for several other reasons as well:

It is a Student-lead Initiative:
It was initiated by a Medill School of Journalism graduate student team that began publishing its findings on the national security implications of climate change online, using text, videos and interactive stories to “tell the story.” In a three-month investigation, a team of Northwestern University student reporters has found that the nation’s security establishment is not adequately prepared for many of the environmental changes that are coming faster than predicted and that threaten to reshape demands made on the military and intelligence community. This is despite the fact that the Defense Department has called climate change a potential “accelerant of instability.” (Press Release, Meddill National Security Zone)

It is Useful and Relevant:
Some within the U.S. government are bracing for climate change as one of the next major threats to national security. Is the U.S. ready for the coming risks? That is the question 10 reporters examined for this project.

Give your decision-making abilities a spin and let us know what you think of this entertaining and informative online tool!

Author: The Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security (CIOCS)

The Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security is distinguished by its focus on the intersections of oceans, climate and security, and emerging associated policy and management implications. Founded at UMass Boston in January 2010, the Collaborative Institute exists to develop and communicate high-value intellectual, policy, and technical expertise to help stabilize the health of our atmosphere, coastal communities and marine ecosystems, and human/national security for all. It seeks on a global scale to create new strategic opportunities to bring innovation to science, policy and communications. Visionary, as well as opportunistic and flexible, the Collaborative Institute uses multi-sector engagement as a cornerstone of its work and uses public/private revenue to sustain its mission.

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