Climate change is commonly referred to as a wicked problem. This is because of the changing landscape of individual issues arising from it that are ever-changing and near impossible to resolve. One thing that is commonly agreed upon is its cause. The misuse of resources, particularly fossil fuels, has caused an undeniable increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that is warming the planet, acting like a blanket and trapping in heat energy from the sun.

A new era

This began in the industrial revolution which took place in the time period between 1760 and 1840. This rapid change in the way we produce and disseminate goods and services was fuelled by the use of fossil fuels such as coal. This led to an increased quality of life for millions but at the cost of the biophysical environment, dramatically reducing the quality of various ecosystem services such as drinking water from rivers and breathable air, especially in cities.

Anno 1800

Whilst not designed as an educational game such as Dr Kawashima’s Brain Training and Kerbal Space Program, Anno 1800 is one of the greatest examples of learning without realisation. The game is a sim/management game, akin to games such as Rollercoaster Tycoon and Cities: Skylines. It tasks players with creating a successful industrial society and involves various mechanics such as population and resource management to the colonisation of far off worlds in the Caribbean.

Throughout all this, players are competing with other AI players for the limited resources throughout the game's world. If you do not have a particular resource on your land you will either need to find a new island which does or trade with a player that already has a surplus of it and they are willing to give it to you.

Resource management

These mechanics teach you that a growing resource of human beings to extract and shape the natural resources around you require a growing body of needs. At first, your population will be simple farmers, requiring only bread and beer to be happy and keep your production lines flowing. As you progress, however, and your civilizations become more and more industrial, your workers’ quality of life expectations grow with it. Eventually, you need to craft fine goods from across the world, such as rum and sugar. These resources require bigger and better tradecraft as well as more energy with which to produce them. Ultimately teaching the player that as we live more comfortable and material lives we require more and more of what the earth offers, both in terms of space and raw resources, in order to sustain it. This helps teach ethics to gamers, instilling the reality of a finite earth in an economic system that promotes infinite growth.

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