The heart of the Earth Lab experience revolves around this simulation game that puts the visitor in the critical role of policy-makers confronting the reality of climate change.

This game-based interactive is an opportunity for visitors to experience the climate debate hotly debated by U.S. policymakers. The visitor is thrust to the front lines of the debate and asked to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions while not bankrupting other priorities. The first screen explains, “You are advising the nation on how to confront climate change,” and asks the visitor to establish their priorities in areas like land preservation, oil independence, and air quality.

The rest of the game is a balancing act. In order to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions, visitors adjust the controls to establish a portfolio of mitigation strategies, using actions like renewable energy and carbon capture. The game responds with a color-coded spectrum of feedback indicating the efficacy of the portfolio. If the mitigation portfolio conflicts with the visitor’s priorities, conflicts pop up with hints at how to troubleshoot the issue. Each strategy and priority is supplemented with background information and imagery.

Once satisfied, the visitor can visualize the results, share with a friend, or compare with other portfolios. The game unfolds across individual touchscreens, but recombines in a grand, unified visualization that that brings visitors together while simultaneously providing a cinematic projection of the game for bystanders. The game is based on emissions data models developed in part by MIT and used by scientists, analysts, and politicians around the world to evaluate climate change.

For complete project credits visit:

Marian Koshland Science Museum

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