Habitat

The Rainforest Alliance

  • logo_sydneyUni
  • logo_wcs

Sydney University

We are working with two of the faculties at Sydney University; The Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) team in the School of Physics are writing the algorithms that underpin the game and The team at the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition(CoCo) are investigating the process of designing Habitat and in particular the way in which learners use the game.

ISA and Algorithms

The measures of environmental impact used in the game focus on those factors which contribute to global climate change, however the changes in lifestyle promoted by the game will also influence other important environmental problems, such as bio-diversity threats and ecosystem toxicity.

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We are working with two of the faculties at Sydney University; The Integrated Sustainability Analysis (ISA) team in the School of Physics are writing the algorithms that underpin the game and The team at the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition(CoCo) are investigating the process of designing Habitat and in particular the way in which learners use the game.

ISA and Algorithms

The measures of environmental impact used in the game focus on those factors which contribute to global climate change, however the changes in lifestyle promoted by the game will also influence other important environmental problems, such as bio-diversity threats and ecosystem toxicity.

The game has the task of conveying ideas of both responsibility and empowerment to the player. Responsibility here means creating the link between lifestyle choices and consumption habits, and environmental impact. The consumption of goods and services in Australia create environmental (and social) impacts all over the world through complicated supply chains. Often the environmental impacts of production are hidden to the consumers of final goods and services which makes it difficult to conceptualise these impacts. The game encourages the players to accept some responsibility for these consequences, without overwhelming them. The assignment of responsibility is tempered by empowerment to alter these impacts through lifestyle and consumption choices. The game guides players through relatively simple changes that cumulatively reduce their environmental impact.

Linked to the ideas of responsibility and empowerment is the distinction between absolute and relative change in environmental footprint. The game aims to reduce the total impact of the players while recognising the importance of relative or fractional change as well. All reductions in environmental footprint should be encouraged, however the effect of this reduction should be compared to the scale of the problem and not be in ignorance of the environmental footprint that remains.

CoCo’s Research

Players and parents when they first sign into the game players will be asked if they mind sharing their real world data with the Centre for Research on Computer Supported Learning and Cognition (CoCo). This will be an opt-in feature.

Throughout the game players will be asked to submit behviours and add information to their ecological footprint. We will build an individual’s profile around this data and be able to provide the player with a more personalized experience. CoCo will take the anonymous data (they will not be provided any personal data of the players).
Coco aims to use the data to look at the behaviour of learners in response to key elements of the design of the app. These will fall broadly into the ways in which the various elements of the tools are used, the way that knowledge is communicated and created, and the social interactions, as well as the interactions between these. This data will be used as part of a larger project that will examine the design of this app, the implications for learners, and the effect that this knowledge has on subsequent iterations of the design process.

Research at the University of Sydney is guided by a number of acts and policies, for more information see: http://sydney.edu.au/research_support/ethics/human/legislation.shtml

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The Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is delighted in being able to support HABITAT. Our work as an environmental NGO in the areas of climate change and biodiversity, places us in synergy with your desire to promote endangered species and the threat of global warming through this unique game. WCS has more than a century of experience saving wildlife and wild places; long-term commitments in nearly 75 land- and seascapes; and presence in more than 60 nations. WCS helps governments, national organizations, and communities sustainably manage their land and natural resources by helping governments, national organizations, and communities establish and manage parks and protected areas, and integrate them with the complex matrix of surrounding land uses. We conserve species of conservation significance and, with partners, set conservation priorities across their range.

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The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) is delighted in being able to support HABITAT. Our work as an environmental NGO in the areas of climate change and biodiversity, places us in synergy with your desire to promote endangered species and the threat of global warming through this unique game. WCS has more than a century of experience saving wildlife and wild places; long-term commitments in nearly 75 land- and seascapes; and presence in more than 60 nations. WCS helps governments, national organizations, and communities sustainably manage their land and natural resources by helping governments, national organizations, and communities establish and manage parks and protected areas, and integrate them with the complex matrix of surrounding land uses. We conserve species of conservation significance and, with partners, set conservation priorities across their range.

WCS scientists are leaders in spatial analysis, habitat modeling, and species and landscape conservation planning, having been funded by NASA, USAID, MacArthur, Ford and Moore Foundations, among others.

WCS will be able to support Habitat with expert advice and science on species. Our expertise on the assessing the vulnerability of species to climate change will ensure the product is at the highest possible standards. Our on the ground expertise will help ensure the relevant environmental and social issues raised in the game are accurate and have a good conservation impact.

Beyond global conservation activities, WCS is devoted to both environmental education and the preservation of wildlife on five continents. Founded in 1895, and still headquartered at the Bronx Zoo, WCS pursues its mission through more than 500 international field projects and five public conservation facilities in New York City, including the Bronx Zoo, the New York Aquarium, and the Central Park, Queens, and Prospect Park Zoos. The Education Division of WCS is widely recognized for its diverse education programs that reach a broad local, national and international audience. Building teachers’ capacity to teach environmental science and providing them with innovative environmental education materials that are aligned with education standards are at the core of WCS’s education mission. Through its national and international professional development programs, which are offered both in-person and on-line, WCS has trained tens of thousands of teachers who have serveral millions of students in 50 states and over 20 countries.

WCS is delighted to able to support HABITAT by working with our existing partners in education to set up test groups in schools, work with the Habitat team to create additional educational materials, with an goal of trying to make the app a core part of the our schools education program. We will be able to use our database of teachers and members of WCS to disseminate HABITAT widely.

Habitat was a finalist in the Content 360 competition in Cannes in 2010. Since Habitat has received funding from Screen Australia and most recently this game was made possible by Screen NSW’s Interactive Media Fund.

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The Rainforest Alliance

The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

At the heart of the Rainforest Alliance’s approach is the understanding that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods. Our approach includes training and certification to promote healthy ecosystems and communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

We work with forward-thinking farmers, foresters and tourism entrepreneurs to conserve natural resources and ensure the long-term economic health of forest communities. In order for a farm or forestry enterprise to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, or for a tourism business to be verified, it must meet rigorous standards designed to protect ecosystems, safeguard the well-being of local communities and improve productivity. The Rainforest Alliance then links these farmers, foresters and tourism businesses to the growing global community of conscientious consumers through the green frog seal.

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The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices and consumer behavior.

At the heart of the Rainforest Alliance’s approach is the understanding that the health of the land is inextricably connected to the wellbeing of those who depend on it for their livelihoods. Our approach includes training and certification to promote healthy ecosystems and communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable ecosystems.

We work with forward-thinking farmers, foresters and tourism entrepreneurs to conserve natural resources and ensure the long-term economic health of forest communities. In order for a farm or forestry enterprise to achieve Rainforest Alliance certification, or for a tourism business to be verified, it must meet rigorous standards designed to protect ecosystems, safeguard the well-being of local communities and improve productivity. The Rainforest Alliance then links these farmers, foresters and tourism businesses to the growing global community of conscientious consumers through the green frog seal.

The Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal is an internationally recognized symbol of environmental, social and economic sustainability that helps both businesses and consumers do their part to ensure a brighter future for us all.

The Rainforest Alliance have added virtual pins in key locations around the world. We are also working closely with their education team to design educational curriculum.

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