Figuring that many kids are glued to the computer already, it makes sense that rather than dragging them kicking and screaming into nature where they can actually interact with the world around them, we plunk them down in front of a video game that shows how their actions impact their environment. Fair trade for city dwellers and those with parents who don’t like bugs, I suppose.
The Eco Ego game lets users make choices on what the protagonist does during a daily routine, and then shows if and how those actions positively or negatively affect the environment. For instance, when going to market, kids have to choose if the protagonist rides a bike or drives a car, and if they use a plastic bag or reusable tote. The choices melt the ice and kill the plants, or allow things to flourish. Kids can then get an idea about what actions are no-nos or yes-yeses. Not nearly as complicated as Climate Challenge, but along the same what-if lines.
In actuality, it has been shown to the point of common knowledge that kids who spend time in the great outdoors tend to have stronger environmental concerns and live with more eco-awareness, let alone are just plain healthier. But, hey, a free and relatively pretty cool computer game gets the point across in the short term, teaches kids many different ways they can be green, and shows them that by sitting indoors using up fossil fuels will make going outdoors increasingly less pleasant.
This would be a very good tool to have in a classroom – kids can see immediate results of actions, and then think about consequences while teacher takes them all outside to run around and play in the trees.
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