From the Journal De Gruyter comes this bit of ridiculous activist outreach disguised as science which builds on the meme of “if only we could communicate climate change better, people would accept it and be just as alarmed as we are.”
Basically, they collected a bunch of people in a room, had them play a computer game they designed where agriculture is threatened by “climate change”, queried them afterwards, and declared the process “sciencey”. Of course the game excludes other real-world variables that farmers deal with like financing the planting, fuel costs, irrigation costs, overhead, equipment maintenance, and value of the crop at harvest.
On the face of it, this study appears to be an absurd case of confirmation bias.
Could computer games help farmers adapt to climate change?
Scientists from Sweden and Finland say gaming presents both challenges and benefits for communicating climate change methods to farmers
Web-based gaming, such as simulation games, can promote innovative communication strategies that engage farmers with scientific research and help them adapt to climate change.
Methods employed to tackle climate change, such as, for example, improving drainage systems to cope with increased levels of precipitation, are known as adaptation strategies. “Maladaptation” is the implementation of poor decisions or methods that were initially considered beneficial, but which could actually increase people’s vulnerability in the future.
Researchers from Sweden and Finland have developed the interactive web-based Maladaptation Game, which can be used to better understand how Nordic farmers make decisions regarding environmental changes and how they negotiate the negative impacts of potentially damaging decisions.
Their research is presented in the article “Benefits and challenges of serious gaming – the case of “The Maladaptation Game” published in De Gruyter’s journal Open Agriculture, by author Therese Asplund and colleagues from Linköping University in Sweden and the University of Helsinki in Finland. Tested on stakeholders from the agricultural sector in Sweden and Finland, the Maladaptation Game presents the player with four agricultural challenges: precipitation, temperature increase/drought, longer growing seasons and increased risk of pests and weeds. For each challenge, the player must make a strategic decision based on the options given. At the end, the player receives a summary of the potential negative outcomes based on their decisions.
“While we observed that the conceptual thinking of the game sometimes clashes with the players’ everyday experiences and practice, we believe gaming may function as an eye-opener to new ways of thinking,” explains Asplund.
Based on recent literature on serious gaming and climate communication, the authors suggest that serious games should be designed to include elements of thinking and sharing, which will stimulate reflection and discussion among stakeholders.
“Serious games have great potential of how to address complex environmental issues. Used as a communication strategy, they illustrate, visualise and communicate research findings,” says Asplund.
The paper: Benefits and challenges of serious gaming – the case of “The Maladaptation Game”
The use of digital tools and interactive technologies for farming systems has increased rapidly in recent years and is likely to continue to play a significant role in meeting future challenges. Particularly games and gaming are promising new and innovative communication strategies to inform and engage public and stakeholders with scientific research. This study offers an analysis of how a research based game on climate change maladaptation can support, but also hinder players’ sense-making processes. Through the analysis of eight gaming workshops, this study identifies challenges and support for the players’ sense-making. While it concludes that conceptual thinking of game content sometimes clashes with players’ everyday experiences and practice, possibly resulting in loss of credibility, this study also concludes that gaming may function as an eye-opener to new ways of thinking. Overall, this paper suggests that the communication of (social) science and agricultural practices through serious gaming has great potential but at the same time poses challenges due to different knowledge systems and interpretive frameworks among researchers and practitioners.
The game is open to anyone to try, screen cap below:
In my opinion, the game has an almost grade-school level “toyish” feel, which probably won’t appeal to farmers who live in the real-world of production. I’d venture that farmers are probably more acutely aware of weather and climate than the researchers are.
There are far better and more realistic farm simulation games that take ALL of the factors farmers have to deal with into account:T
A review had this to say about it:
Farming Simulator’s biggest fans are farmers, dev says
“It’s very popular with people in the agricultural industry,” Schwegler said. “They are the most vocal audience we have — people who are actually farming. They’re very active on our forums and they’ll tell us if we’re doing something wrong.”
There’s also this one:
About the product
- Like SimCity, SimFarm has an easy to use push-button interface. It lets you concentrate on running your farm- not on running your computer.
- Use the latest tools of the trade to produce your crops and raise your livestock.
- After your hard work is done, it’s time to reap the profits of your labor. Go to town and get top dollar for your harvest.