Games help in the fight against climate change

Daniel Fernandez Galeote

In the Nessling Foundation’s autumn 2020 general call for grant applications, a total of 18 grants were awarded to PhD and implementation projects. One of the recipients of our doctoral thesis grants is Daniel Fernandez Galeote from Tampere University.

Daniel Galeote Fernandez, Tampere University. Copyright © 2020 Miikka Pirinen
Daniel Galeote Fernandez, Tampere University. Copyright © 2020 Miikka Pirinen

“It’s a different matter to reason about a phenomenon on the basis of facts than to actually internalise it through experience. That’s why games provide an opportunity to talk about climate change and influence people’s behaviour. My doctoral thesis deals with the possibility of utilising games and gamification in solving problems such as climate change.

Learning through stories is natural for humans. Games not only entertain but also open our eyes to new realities. The gaming industry is an important sector both economically and culturally. Popular Finnish gaming companies such as Rovio and Supercell have already committed to operating sustainably. Some of the most popular games around the world already include environmental themes that aim to influence players.

Prior to my academic career, I worked as a journalist and game designer. In my work, I wrote interactive stories and created games and applications that were meant to engage players in certain topics. However, I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the effects and opportunities of games and gamification. That’s why I moved to Finland to study the subject, and through reading and numerous discussions, I eventually got the idea for my thesis.

Right now, I’m mapping out existing games and gamified applications that help the user take action against climate change. I study what works in them and what could still be further developed.

My study will culminate in a new game I will design, to which I will apply everything I’ve learned during the study. I hope that my work will benefit not only individuals but also various communities, from schools to museums and businesses.

Although many of us have read the facts about climate change, we still don’t act based on this information. Our actions are affected by emotions, past experiences, learned habits and many other situation-dependent factors. This is something where games can help.”

Daniel Fernandez Galeote is one of our new grantees. See the list of all our grantees here.