By Anders Lorenzen
The UN internet mobile game Mission 1.5, which aims to educate and survey the global public on climate action, has taken the internet by storm and was within the week it was released played 1.25 million times. In the mobile game, players take on the role of government leaders and make decisions to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, a level that scientists recommend is safe. The game was launched last month by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and partners including Oxford University, Twitter and the Earth Day Network.
Towards the end of the game, players are able to vote on how they want governments to address climate change. The aim is to canvass the opinions of over 20 million people around the world in time for the UN climate talks, which take place in Glasgow, the UK in November. The previous biggest international survey of public opinion on climate change canvassed 10,000 people across 76 countries and was conducted ahead of the 2015 Paris climate talks by World Wide Views.
The popularity of the game might be down to the huge and growing worry about the climate crisis, as well as high profile backers like Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster Waldau, actress and presenter Jameela Jamil, actress Connie Britton, musician Cody Simpson, author and actress Padma Lakshmi, and pop star Yemi Alade as well as global youth activists such as Fridays for Future protesters Alexandra Villasenor, Licypriya Kangujam and Vanessa Nakate.
Commenting on the game, the President of the Earth Day Network, Kathleen Rogers said: “We would urge as many people as possible to play and engage with the Mission 1.5 campaign. If the world is to avoid dangerous climate change, we need a critical mass of citizens to care about the challenges and demand urgent, ambitious action now from their leaders”. While Twitter’s Head of Public Policy, Jennifer McDonald said: “Every day we see people discuss the effects of climate change on Twitter. Mission 1.5 is one way those concerns can turn into action. Initiatives like these help to elevate the conversation about the importance of protecting the environment”.
The game is available here.
COP26 is set to be the most crucial climate summit since COP15 in Paris in 2015. It has been marred in controversy as the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has only recently appointed a new chairperson (Alok Sharma) after his key advisor Dominic Cummings controversially fired the previous chair Claire O’ Neil.