By Elora West
Master of Communication in Digital Media
The communication challenge I identified during COMM 501 was a lack of accessible environmental literacy education targeted at a youth audience, specifically related to complex environmental problems and uncharismatic species.
Society generally lacks a comprehensive understanding of how ecological systems function. Our profit-first based economy, not favoring the environment, has weakened our relationship with nature. Furthermore, advocacy groups utilizing charismatic poster animals to frame campaigns is unintentionally disassociating us from uncharismatic species, which may be more vital for the overall health of an ecosystem. Environmental literacy curriculum for the youth contains four important components: science, respect, problem solving facilitation, and model stewardship.
With those components in mind, and through my research, I discovered that gameplay has been revolutionizing learning by teaching problem solving, collaboration, and creative thinking in an innovative way. Little Blue Sphere is an action/adventure, educational, role-playing game (RPG) that I designed to teach youth about the world they live in.
Players join the E.C.O taskforce (Ecology, Climate, Organisms) and go on research and adventure quests to save the Earth. In the process, they learn about the planet’s major biomes and ecosystems, the species that inhabit those environments, and the various threats the environment is facing.
I am passionate about Little Blue Sphere, and excited by the concept of a high-quality graphics game that allows people to travel the planet and see parts of the world they may never actually encounter. I believe this game has the potential to not only teach environmental literacy to youth, but also foster compassion for the natural world and the species that share this planet with us.