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Using Games to Inspire Environmental Action feat. Clayton Whittle – 115


Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics
    • Board Gaming with Education Holiday Promotion – 0:00
    • Welcome Rich back to the Show – 1:28
    • Sponsor: The World Game – 2:32
    • Who is Clayton Whittle? – 3:12
    • Defining “Games” and “Environmental Action” – 4:37
    • First, Looking at What it Means to be Environmental Stewards – 8:03
    • How Can Games Inspire Environmental Action? – 13:06
    • 5 Steps of Environmental Psychology – 26:40
    • Rich Rejoins the Conversation – 40:06
    • Dustin, Clayton, and Rich Play Wavelength – 52:11

In this week’s episode of Board Gaming with Education Dustin is joined by co-host Rich Hill and guest Clayton Whittle to talk about using games to inspire environmental action. Clayton discusses the journey one takes to become better environmental stewards. He also shares some example games and talks about how game-based learning can help on this journey. After Dustin and Clayton’s discussion, Dustin and Rich continue the conversation by looking back on some of the things Clayton mentions in the episode.  

Games from this Episode [Links include games in our Board Gaming with Education Store or Amazon affiliate links]:

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their songs “Soul Train” and “Retro Gamer” for our Sponsorship and Interview Segments. These songs can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Game Segment.

Our Facebook Group for Educators: Games-based Learning, Gamification, and Games in Education

You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts (or any other platform you get your podcasts):




Board Gaming with Education Holiday Promotion – 0:00

Be sure to sign-up for our holiday promotion by joining our email list. You should receive more information on how to redeem your holiday offer in a follow-up email.



Sponsor: The World Game – 2:32

The World Game is a very interactive Geography game for 2 to 5 players that’s easy to learn. A fast playing adventure full of excitement. Leave home to embark on a race around the world. Pass famous landmarks on your way and win by having a stronger country fact.

Challenge others with world flags knowledge and by finding locations on the map. Pick up your action cards on the way to get ahead of or slow down other travelers. It is super engaging for kids and adults alike.

The game’s objective is to be the first player to finish the race around the world and cross the finish line. You move forward by winning with strong country facts or by answering geography challenges correctly.  

Who is Clayton Whittle? – 3:17

Dustin introduces Clayton Whittle!

Defining “Games” and “Environmental Action” – 4:37


Clayton defines the two main terms discussed in the episode: “games” and “environmental action.”

First, Looking at What it Means to be Environmental Stewards – 8:03


How Can Games Inspire Environmental Action? – 13:06

Clayton shares some insight into what it takes to use a game to inspire environmental action. He looks at the differences between game-based learning and gamification in this context. He also gives examples of outside research such as Invasion of the Energy Monsters by Michael S. Horn, Amartya Banerjee, Pryce Davis, Reed Stevens. Dustin and Clayton also look at how systemic action can help create change.

5 Steps of Environmental Psychology – 26:40

Clayton outlines the five steps of environmental psychology, how those help us become better environmental stewards, and how games can be conduits for the change needed to protect our environment. The five steps that Clayton outlines are:

  • Connection
  • Intent
  • Awareness
  • Self-efficacy
  • Action-related knowledge

Rich Rejoins the Conversation – 40:06

Rich rejoins the conversation with Dustin and they chat about some of the insights that Clayton had to share.

Dustin, Clayton, and Rich Play Wavelength – 52:11

Dustin, Clayton, and Rich play Wavelength.

Transcript of “Using Games to Inspire Environmental Action feat. Clayton Whittle – 115”

Transcript automated and provided by otter.ai. [Using this link helps us continue to use this transcription service for future episodes.] Disclaimer: This is an automated transcript and may have errors in grammar, wording, and/or word choice.


Dustin Staats 0:00
Welcome to another topical episode of Board Gaming with Education. That’s where we really talk about one specific topic centered around games and education. Today’s episode, we talked about the environment in games and how we can use games to inspire Environmental Action. We give some specific examples of games out there that do this already. And we talk about the impact that games have on our environment. Be sure to stick around for that. And before we get into the episode, we have our holiday promotion going on right now. Today’s the last day actually, Monday, November 30. But don’t worry, if you missed your chance for our flash sale. Soon, we will have another holiday promotion, be sure to go to Board Gaming with education.com and sign up for our email list so you don’t miss out on our last holiday promotion before Christmas. So again, Board Gaming with education.com sign up for an email newsletter and you’ll find information on that promotion too. All right, let’s get to the episode.

Board Gaming with Education 0:55
First Board Gaming with Education, a podcast for anyone curious about how games and education mix. We explore various topics like game based learning gamification, and board games and the impacts they have on learning. here’s your host, Dustin Staats.

Dustin Staats 1:14
Welcome to another topical discussion episode of Board Gaming with Education Today, I am joined again by Rich, a lot of you know rich, he’s on several other episodes. Rich, welcome back to the show.

Rich Hill 1:26
Well, thank you very much. I’m looking forward to this one as all, especially this one.

Dustin Staats 1:31
So today we’re joined by Clayton widdle I’m going to have a little conversation with him about games and Environmental Action. And I mentioned to him this is a very new topic to me. I guess. I wouldn’t say new I mean, we grew up like remember to turn off the waterfall and fountain when you’re brushing your teeth andthings like that. Right?

Rich Hill 1:52
Well growing up, but please, brush my teeth while I was showering. That’s what they told us.

Dustin Staats 1:56
Oh, really? Man, that must be east coast. public service announcements for conserving water. Innovative? Yeah, I mean in California, like it’s crazy how much they in the last few years how much they’ve pushed to save water, like, on and off days for watering your lawn, I think you could think you even had to go certain lengths without watering your lawn. But anyways, that’s what that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So rich stick around, we’ll follow up our discussion with Clayton after.

Rich Hill 2:23
Sounds good.

Dustin Staats 2:24
Before we get into the conversation with Clayton, a word from our sponsor.

This episode of Board Gaming with Education is sponsored by the world game of fun and educational geography board game. Exciting and fast playing game for everyone. It is on Kickstarter right now. I highly recommend checking it out. I know I will be backing it because it makes for a great, fun educational game that everyone can play, as well as an amazing classroom resource. As you explore the different cities countries flags, you’re doing it on this really cool colorful board that comes with the entire world map. Again, it’s on Kickstarter. So you’re going to have to go on a Kickstarter, check it out for yourself, the link will be in the show notes. And again, that’s the world game on Kickstarter.

So rich, and I kind of introduce the topic of our episode today. And I’m here now with Clayton. I’m really excited to chat with him, because we’re going to talk about using games inspire Environmental Action. And Clayton is a game researcher and game designer. And he’s going to share a bit about this topic. And we’re gonna dive into this conversation. And like I mentioned to him before this come before we hopped on the call, as I’m not very familiar with this topic, so I’m excited to chat with him today. Before we get there, Clayton, would you mind introducing yourself a little bit more to our guests?

Clayton Whittle 3:50
Sure. So I’m Clayton widdle. I was, for a long time is a dirty, dirty corporate person doing all sorts of work that I wasn’t really happy with. And I got into game design while I was in that life, and released a couple indie games, none of which made any money. But I fell in love with it. And started doing games research because I was always I always had this dream of doing a PhD. And I moved from the corporate life into PhD recently. And I am now really applying the design elements into my knowledge, my existing knowledge of environmental psychology, and Environmental Action.

Dustin Staats 4:37
That’s awesome. And I’m excited again, thank you for coming on the show because I’m excited to talk to you about this topic. I am again, I’m not very familiar. I think we all have a basic understanding of Environmental Action, but it’s really awesome to have someone share a little bit more of an expertise on the topic. Before we kind of get into discussing it more can we start with defining bothWhat you see as a game and then also defining Environmental Action?

Clayton Whittle 5:04
Okay, yeah, we can do that. That’s a heavy question.I see as a game, I think I keep a pretty standard view of what a game is, I think a game is anytime you engage in, in play, at which point the, the goal is enjoyment, and there is there is only pressure put on your the outcome by the players. So there’s not external pressure to succeed. And there’s no guarantee of success. And so I think that’s a that’s a pretty basic definition of a game because I like to the every time I think I know what a game is, someone releases some indie game that makes me think, no, my definition needs to expand, because this is definitely a game and I wouldn’t have counted this beforehand. So I guess I guess my definition is expanding, it’s ever shrinking, because the less the fewer words I have in it, the more open it is.

Dustin Staats 6:04
Right, right. And how about environmental action.

Clayton Whittle 6:09
So from my perspective, I think Environmental Action, when I think of it as a designer, and when I think of it in relation to the goals of my research, I think people doing the things that are realistic in their day to day life, and growing as responsible environmental citizens, not just doing the things that the public service announcements tell us to do. So that’s what I think of when I think of Environmental Action. Right, maybe that I kind of before, I want to go back to the definition of game, but what you just said about doing things beyond the public service announcements, that’s kind of our base level expectation of what a good citizen is right? doing those basic things to conserve energy to protect the environment. Yeah. And I think that’s, that’s what a lot of my research is aimed at is raising awareness of, we don’t get education on what it means to be a good environmental steward. And we all are environmental stewards. And while you might take, you know, eight years of state history or whatever, in public school, they don’t teach a lot of classes on how all of your actions impact the environment and are impacted by your environment. And what we have is an entire generation of people who know they should recycle and know that you don’t leave the lights on when you leave the room. And you don’t, you know, crank it down to 50, in the middle of the summer. But beyond that, there’s no formal education, right. That’s what the public service announcements, say on TV. And so people generally try to do that in my experience. But beyond that, how could you be expected to spend, you know, half your day researching what actions you should take in the other half? doing those when, when you’re gonna live your life? Right?

Dustin Staats 8:04
Right. And it’s really interesting, the first thing you defined or what you defined in a game is there’s no external pressure to succeed, which is very opposite. And at least my understanding of Environmental Action, right, we have a very dire pressure to succeed when it comes to protecting our environment. And, you know, saving it keeping the world around for a while and keeping those energy reserves around for a while. So what would you say like are some things that just right off the bat, things we can do to be good stewards that the public service announcements or things we don’t necessarily learn in school, or some things we could do?

Clayton Whittle 8:46
Oh, geez, just right off the bat, day to day things, I think, I think probably the most important thing that anyone can do. If they if they already feel like they want to be a good environmental citizen, the most important thing you can do is actually research how recycling works in your town. Because 90% of that’s I pulled that number out of thin air, but a lot of towns and townships that are anywhere outside of a major city. They tell you to recycle and they give you like a box and say put your recycling in here. But then what is and isn’t actually recyclable, is never really explained. And what they don’t tell you is that when there are above a baseline of contaminants, meaning things that aren’t actually recyclable in that recycling bin, it gets dumped into the landfill. And so if too many people put the wrong kind of plastic in their recycling, what you end up with is everyone’s recycling becoming garbage and the whole thing was worth nothing.

Dustin Staats 9:54
Right? I had learned that myself having lived abroad because in Boulder Korea and Taiwan they do recycling and I guess garbage differently. In Taiwan, what was really interesting is they used to be called called, quote unquote trash Island because they had such a huge issue with landfills and not being able to find places to store garbage. So now, what they do is they, they make you pay for the garbage bags that you throw waste away. And so to incentivize you to recycle more, you don’t have to pay for those type of bags. So it’s like a, like a subtract trash collection tax. And then everyone goes out and takes out their trash. This might be something interesting that you maybe talk about in using games inspire Environmental Action, where everyone goes out to take out the trash as a neighborhood, you have to go out to the neighborhood and you see your neighbors, you see who’s recycling, you see who’s throwing away the trash properly, you see who’s sorting the, the right garbage into the right bins, and it’s very much of a social pressure to recycle to.

Clayton Whittle 11:05
It’s fun, I like that. I really like that because it’s a social pressure. And there have been, there’s a really awesome article by Dr. Joey Lee, at. He had, I can’t remember if he’s at Columbia, or Brigham Young, I think is at Columbia, that investigates show social peer pressure and positive peer pressure in environmental behaviors. And there have been a lot of findings that say, that’s a really, really big part of it. And it ties in a lot of my work because what I do is I investigate what, what they call community, or I’m sorry, not community, communal self advocacy. So the idea that not only do I feel pressured when I see other people doing it, I see like my actions matter because I’m not the only one. I’m part of a group of people working towards this. Well, I was gonna say also totally unrelated, Dustin, you lived in Korea, so did I.

Dustin Staats 12:05

Clayton Whittle 12:07
Where did you live awesome. off to?

Dustin Staats 12:09
Let’s see. Daegu.

Clayton Whittle 12:11
Yeah, what neighborhood

Dustin Staats 12:14

Clayton Whittle 12:16
Okay, okay, man. That’s pretty funny.

Dustin Staats 12:19
I live in Daegu. Yes, I did. I lived. I lived in Daegu for two years. And then I lived in in szenen for five years.

Okay, what years were you in? Because I am if we’re the same years, I’m assuming we know some people.

Clayton Whittle 12:32
I was in Daegu in 2010.

Dustin Staats 12:36
Okay, yeah, I was there. 2010 to 20. You know, 2011 to 2012.

Clayton Whittle 12:41
So we were in Daegu at the same time. Yeah, that’s crazy.

Dustin Staats 12:48
We geek out a little bit here, in this part of the episode talking about living in Korea. So we’re gonna skip ahead into and get back into our conversation about environmental action and games.

All right, awesome. All right.

Clayton Whittle 13:03
All right. We’re podcasting. Not just Hey.

Dustin Staats 13:06
So what would you define as an environmental game that inspires action? Well, what would that look like?

Clayton Whittle 13:13
I guess, hmm. There are a lot, there are a lot of different ways that that could look right. I think if I had to break it down to core elements, though, these are almost boring behavioral transference elements, someone who’s playing a game, and is going to actually have their world affected by it needs to engage with the content of the game on a meaningful level, they have to have it relate to their life, they have to feel invested in it, right. So that’s, that’s the first step is there has to be serious buy in. The second step is that, and this is the thing that I argue with people a lot about, there’s a big difference between game learning, or game based learning and gamification. If someone’s learning, or someone’s being asked to go learn a thing, and then you get some points, that’s gamification, right? Like that’s, like Fitbit, or any of the other millions of apps that you can buy that give you points for doing a thing. But if someone’s really going to learn to act based on a game, it needs to be intrinsically integrated, meaning the the actions and the skills and the knowledge that you need in the real world, you actually have to employ within the game. And that can be highly complex sort of systems, thinking about how your, how your environment is affected by the different systems and there are games out there that do that, that encourage you to think about systematic changes, or it could be you know, needing to actually go around measuring the the output of the The electrical output of devices in your house is a really cute little game by Michael horn. And Eric bannerjee, I can’t remember his first name bannerjee Ba, Na, r. g, I believe his game is called ghost hunter and you hook up an EMF detector to your phone. And obviously, it’s not for mass usage, right? But it’s gamified, inspecting of your home, to understand what you’re doing in the real world. And I think that’s those are games that inspire action, right? You have to use the skills and you need to have serious buy into the content. It needs to feel relevant.

Dustin Staats 15:42
Perfect. And then I know, I’m trying to remember I think back in school, or maybe I saw another teacher do this. And I’m mixing up my experience with a teacher who did this where they asked the students to go back to your home and check your your electricity dial not sure the correct term for it. And measure that and report back to your teacher how it looks most nights and then like try to see how low you can make it to by conserving different types of energy by unplugging things that are what do they call those like vampire, vampire electronics or something where you have them plugged in? And they take energy even though they’re not actually on? So what this I guess the game that you mentioned, is that something that you could see being used? If someone’s listening, maybe their science teacher that they could use in the classroom with their students?

Clayton Whittle 16:35
I don’t believe they ever released ghost hunter for for public usage. I think it was a research project. And there might be that they eventually released some derivative of that. But I, if they did, I don’t know about it, unfortunately. Cool. I mean, I guess the research is out there. So maybe you could kind of read that research and see how you can modify something similar to Yeah, I think I think it would be easier because more and more they make the modular devices for iPhones or Android phones that allow you to attach things a lot more affordably. And so and that’s, that’s kind of the thing that makes it fun, right is that students are, they’re not just playing not just playing a game, they’re playing a game that involves doing something very real, right? If you’re, you know, scanning, scanning with an EMF or if you’re going down to the nearest river, and using a modular plugin on your device to monitor the chemical spill off or life forms in the river. You’re doing real skills, right. And I think that’s the thing about the game based learning that a lot of people sort of scoot over, right, they get really focused on, how can I make it a game rather than it’s kind of already a game and a lot of these skills are, all you really need to do is, is inspire the playful element of it, to bring it into to bring it into the games based learning field.

Dustin Staats 18:12
Right, that that language and that theme and the story, those types of things are ways to want to save layer games on top of what what’s already happening, what may already be considered close to a game.

Clayton Whittle 18:26
Yeah, yeah. I mean, I saw this beautiful video on Reddit the other day. And this is this is kind of getting theoretical at this point, right? This is very theory. But this is beautiful. It was in Syria, this video of this dad and his daughter, and every time a bomb would fall, the dad would laugh really big to get his daughter to laugh so that she wasn’t scared. And this older video, not Syria, um, I think the video said Syria, but that doesn’t make any sense. Anyway, anyway. And the, you know, to curse me is that game based learning is this is this No, this is very high theory at this point. But is this girl engaging in the playful game with her dad to to learn a behavior of sort of accepting that this is the world or this is how it’s going or to learn to not be afraid. And I know that’s not something that a teacher could really use, but not at that level. But I think that theory applies, right is to make it a game based learning experience. One starts with the goal and then moves to how can we how can this be playful? How can this be fun rather than something that’s impending or scary or requires some sort of external external need for you to want to complete it?

Dustin Staats 19:56
Right and I guess looking at that, versus, and this is something that is, I think, tough to consider tough to understand. Maybe tough to connect, I don’t know. But between that experience where it’s a reality for someone, and that’s the world they’re living in versus our our climate change is a reality. But it’s not. I guess what I want to say like, it’s not current, it’s not affecting us right now. It’s not something that we see tangibly in front of us as an issue because it doesn’t affect our day to day life. What would you say is? Or how would you say games help with bridging that gap for stewards of the environment?

Clayton Whittle 20:41
Yeah, I think there are a lot of ways I’d say, in some of that involves messages inside the games. Some of that involves the, you know, there, there are really specific games that are designed to teach those kind of elements. I think, in the, I think, in the near future, what we’ll see is a lot of that in the industry, because the industry is sort of at this, the video game industry, rather, is that this, this place where they’re needing to really start considering their environmental impact with cloud based gaming, and the real just energy hogs that these new consoles are. And I actually just got off a call with the leader of the independent game developers Association, climate special interest group. And a lot of their upcoming work is about bridging that gap between players understanding the impact that playing video games has on the environment, and companies understanding the impact so that they can meet in the middle and find a solution that is environmentally friendly. Yeah, I think I think honestly, that’ll that will be in video game and Israelis were like the next really big steps start happening, because they’re motivated. And let’s be honest, the videogame industry has enough money, they can they can throw it around. Right?

Dustin Staats 22:15
Yeah, I mean, one, one experience that I like to compare the video game industry versus the board game industry is going to type a game show, which is a huge, like game Festival, where the video game Hall was like this entire Convention Center. And then the board game Hall was this little off centered, like separate area that was a lot smaller. And still, there were video games there. But you bring up a good point, I think, co nsoles, considering the impact that games have on the environment. I know that board games are kind of I mean, I think usually it’s the independent game designers or game publishers that are trying to make strides towards being more energy conscious on the types of materials they use for games, and things like that. But yeah, I don’t I don’t know. Maybe you know, more, do you see the video game industry or board game industry, just gaming industry in general, making changes to what they do and how they do it to protect? I guess our environment?

Clayton Whittle 23:22
I think, man, and this is just this is kind of what it comes down to. And this is what really is not a technical term. But this sucks is is the truth. Yeah. Is that the real change? Real impactful change is systematic change, right? impactful change comes when the system changes. But with something like games, there’s no vote, right? You don’t get to go out and choose a CEO for your company, unless you’re a shareholder, and you don’t get to vote on what materials a game maker can use in their physical game. And what’s rough is that it really is consumer behavior is how you get to make that impact. And, and that’s, that’s a really hard space games, gamers buying games, there is not a lot that people can do to support them. There are people who are taking actions like untitled goose game, when they shipped the physical copy, they they shipped that in a recyclable game box, which is the first time anyone’s ever done that. And so really, all we can do is as consumers, all you can do is vote with your dollar, right? And you say, I’m not going to do that, despite the fact that I want it. I’m not going to buy it and or contact the people who make it and say, I really wish you could, I hope this upcoming game you’ll consider this and I know those are huge. Huge, huge asks of people and that’s, you know, that’s the biggest struggle in, in what? What My research focuses on because eventually at the end of the day, you’re asking people to make a sacrifice. Sometimes it’s a little sacrifices, but a lot more often it’s a big, big sacrifice. For, as you said, a pressure that feels pretty distant from your day to day life.

Dustin Staats 25:30
Right? Well, let’s, let’s talk about that. Let’s look at how games. So it’s kind of interesting how we can use games to inspire change in the gaming industry. But as a broader, you know, more broader goal in the environment. What are some things we can do with games to help with that?

Clayton Whittle 25:49
Let me let me answer your question with a question. When you first were conceptualizing this question. Are you thinking about board games, video games, games, that we play games that we bake games that we use in classes? I’m just curiously because there are a million answers to this. I’m curious where you are seeing this going? Because I’d like to hear your answer as well.

Dustin Staats 26:13
Right, I guess maybe I’m thinking more from the perspective of what we can do as individuals, whether it’s not what we can do as individuals, but how games can help us as individuals see the impacts that we can make to the environment, whether that’s just our day to day changes, or what we do as game designers, or what we do as educators, or what we do as people who play games,

Clayton Whittle 26:40
how how games can, can make an impact. And I think when I think of the, the biggest impact that games can have, it’s that, and this is a nut to crack. So I’m not gonna pretend like I can just do, I can tell you the answer to how to make this happen. But when we can make games and when, and I’m sure people are out there doing it, but when we engage with games, that create awareness about our surroundings, they create a, okay, well, I’ll just be psychometric about it real fast. So the environmental psychology behind it right is that if you want someone to be if someone wants to be a good citizen and good environmental citizen, right, you usually have this sort of Molotov cocktail of personality traits. And psychometric things required, right. The first is that they have some sort of connection to nature is a huge aspect of it, people have to see themselves as connected to nature, not in a tree hugging hippie way. But they have to understand that their life and the life of the world around them are intimately connected, and that their actions affect the environment and the environment affects them. So that’s the first thing and then they need to have an intent, right. So from that connection is born an intent to behave more environmentally friendly, in a more environmentally friendly manner. From there, after the intent, they need to have awareness of the issues near them, they need to have a perceived self efficacy with meaning, kind of like we’re talking about with the trash people you need to see, not the trash people as it sounds mean. But you need to feel like you’re making a difference. You need to see yourself as a powerful actor. And you need what they call action related knowledge. And environmental psychology is called action knowledge. In the learning sciences of the cognitive sciences, they refer to it as procedural knowledge. But the idea is that you need to not just know what you need to know how, if that makes any sense. Like I could tell you consuming too much energy in your home is bad. And you go Okay, great. I could go tell that to which to someone else. But what does that help me do? Whereas, if through a game, and this is where I think games can really help is, if through a game, I can relay that information to you in a way that gives you the skill set and gives you the action related knowledge of these are the things in your house that are draining too much energy, these are the things in your house, it could be unplugged. This is how much energy is being wasted in your house. And I know we’re kind of focusing on this energy example because we got on it early and I’m sort of stuck there. But I think That’s where games can help is really in the action related knowledge. Because to play a game, when you play a game, you are learning a set of action related knowledge principles. Because if you don’t, you can’t play the game, right? You’re learning a UI, and you’re learning a ruleset. And you’re learning how to interact in this new world. And so games already teach that just by nature of just by the nature of games. And so all we need to do is learn to build games and figure out how to build games that are both engaging, so that people actually want to play them and be teach these action related skills so that people can go out and, and do rather than just knowing that they really should be better about their environmental behaviors, but not knowing howthat was a rant, my man, now’s like a five minute answer.

Dustin Staats 30:57
No, no, that was that was good, because I think it helps to look at those stages of coming to, I don’t know if I want to say coming to terms, but understanding that this is what we need to be able to actually influence change and help in our day to day, thoughts are in our day to day actions of how we can preserve the environment. And I’m thinking through a game, maybe we talked about the one where you can go measure how much energy a certain device uses or you can look at energy throughout the week. And I think that shows the awareness and actually maybe helps us look at some action related knowledge as to Well, these electronics, maybe we can unplug those? Or maybe we can, I don’t know, it’s, it’s hard for me to think because I’m maybe I’m not the best environmental steward. We can not watch TV certain time certain hours, or I don’t know, I guess I need the the awareness of what kind of changes I could do to be able to create those action related steps. Do you have an example of maybe another game or experience that could help? With those? I guess you laid out five steps that connection to the nature, connection, nature, intent, awareness, self efficacy, and then our action related knowledge of it? Do you have an example of a game or maybe experience that can help someone walk through that progress?

Clayton Whittle 32:30
There are games? So Rs, A r i s is a game that came out of I believe the University of Wisconsin in Madison, they’re serious games lab? Or, or at least some students of it that are still in Milwaukee? I know it’s not. And not Milwaukee, Madison, excuse me. So r RS is a great one that uses augmented reality. And while it’s not necessarily about the environment, it’s certainly something that could be used for the environment. But I think creating a connection to nature is a huge thing that the games are doing now because I can look at a tree. And okay, there’s a tree, how exciting. But an augmented reality. Game, can, if I’m out there exploring the area through this game, I can look at that same tree, scan the tree and learn so much about it and how I connect to that tree, and how it connects to me, and how it connects to the ecosystem that I rely on to survive I think that’s it, that’s another really big sort of exploratory thing that games are doing that is going to be once people are allowed to go back outside again, it’s gonna be really awesome.

Dustin Staats 33:57
Right? Yeah. And I think it goes back to that idea that games can can show a reality that is not currently present to us, we might not notice how the I guess how nature connects to our day to day lives, and how it’s really a part of our society. And a game can kind of show that to us in a simulation type experience.

Clayton Whittle 34:22
Yeah, eco mobile was a game I was trying to think of, which is a it’s environmental education field trip is more of an app, but I think it’s, it’s close enough to gamification, that I think people would, would enjoy it. And it’s really about investigating the environment using using mobile devices. God, what is the fate of the world? Is that what I’m thinking? There is a really awesome sort of city builder. I think it’s called fate of the world. The really awesome city builder there was about trying to manage your classic sort of SimCity game. But also climate change was happening around you in a really dramatic and drastically, almost cartoonish level. So you need to constantly be aware of, of your, the impact of your city on the environment and vice versa. And energy zombies. That’s the one I was thinking of No, not energy, zombies, super energy Apocalypse, I believe that is yet super energy Apocalypse, which was this amazing little game, where you end the day you build, it’s a tower defense game, and the day you build and at night, the zombies come. And the only way to survive is to always have enough electricity to power your defenses. And so you had to manage your energy economy through an understanding of the limited resources of the world versus the limited capacity of renewable and renewable energy. And so it was a was an energy efficiency game was zombies. That sounds pretty cool. Any game was zombies, I think is is good in my book.

Dustin Staats 36:05
So before we move into our game and wrap up this conversation, do you have any last words that you might share with someone listening, whether it’s maybe someone considering steps they can take to become better stewards of the environment, or how they could start on this process of using games to kind of help their understanding of how or why they should become better stewards of the environment.

Clayton Whittle 36:32
Probably the first, the first step is always intent, right. And I think probably the best way to understand even if you if you don’t believe in climate change, if you don’t think that the environment is important, the best way to really understand what is going, what is going on in the environment, is to look into your local parks and recreation departments, local and state departments, because that’s where they’ll be able to give you information. And it may be, maybe it’s not a huge climate change issue. Maybe it’s just that. And that factory down the street is really violating some rules. Or maybe it’s that the people who have been building their fences a little bit too close to the road along the highway, have really started to drive the deer into the highway or you. You learn so many little things like though I learned one the other day that you really should never throw food on the ground, even if it’s biodegradable. Especially especially if you’re driving, because if you throw fruit somewhere else, it will bring rodents, which will then bring birds of prey, which then get injured when they get near people, especially if they’re on the highway. And so the point is, the first thing you should always do is look into the local parks and rec department. Find out what’s happening in your neighborhood, because you’ll be surprised how much it affects you.

Dustin Staats 38:09
That’s awesome. Skim some good final words of advice. And I had some things I hadn’t considered too, as I guess, looking at how construction or structures affect wildlife is very, you know something very, we think, Oh, yeah, duh. But then we don’t really notice it as something that’s really tangible.

Clayton Whittle 38:31
Yeah, and I think that’s, that’s the big the big hurdle, right? is that it’s it’s sort of cliche, think global, act local. But really, if you want to feel healthy, and be in a good mental health space, and be a really awesome member of your community, think local, act local. See, what’s happening in your community is different than every other community. And you’d be surprised how it affects you and how you affect it. And I guarantee you I can’t guess what’s happening and what whatever town you live in, but it’s the little stuff you never think of

Dustin Staats 39:10
Yeah, it’s crazy how much I think our day to day interactions effect I mean, just thinking about it now I’m thinking about local businesses and economies local economies and all that but different different podcasts maybe the topic entirely.

Yeah. It’s It’s weird. It’s the little stuff right? Like in Pennsylvania, where I live it’s it’s dear country and the the first one they said to me was man just encourage people to hunt with with environmentally friendly cartridges, so that they’re not, you know, poisoning the poisoning the environment with lead. Yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s a good that’s it. They’re even cheaper. Yeah, that’s a tiny change. It’s, it’s very impactful. Yeah. All right.

Unknown Speaker 39:56
Awesome. So let’s stick around. We’re gonna come back here. In just a minute and play our game.

Dustin Staats 40:06
So rich before we get into the topic, and you and I chat a little bit more about our conversation, the one I had with Clayton, we kind of chatted about a couple different things. We looked at some games that inspire action, some examples of games, we looked at environment, social action in gaming communities and gaming companies. What were some things that stood out to you?

Rich Hill 40:32
Well, I mean, when we talk about right, like, recycle, right, was it our footprint or environmental footprint? I think that’s the term. You know, I also remember when we first started talking about like, as kids, what was the, you know, the message for us, which was the three R’s, the reuse, reduce recycle. And I don’t know what we were just discussing, though, I think there is kind of maybe too much emphasis on the recycle part, and not so much on like the reducing the reuse part. So I don’t know, like, Is there like some sort of community where board gamers can kind of reuse these things or reduce some material? I know, we used to play some games where, yeah, the cards were great to have in front of us. But sometimes, like the electric, you know, cards would also be just as good. Do you have thoughts on that?

Dustin Staats 41:24
Yeah, I think it’s tough with the board game community, because I think a lot of the psychology behind games in a lot of hobby gamers is the collection mentality. Hmm. So it’s like having all these different parts and components. And I know, like you said, there are games that use apps, which are great. And I think there’s more of a community in the indie game space than there is in the hobby or main market board games. Because, I mean, this is a whole whole different conversation about consumerism and capitalism and impact on the environment. But I yeah, it’s tough. Because, again, I the psychology behind, I think, why we play board games and collect board games, it depends on the person. But yeah, that’s a that’s a tough thing. But you mentioned reuse, and reduce. And that’s something that would be cool to see. Gamers, I know game designers, they look at games and look at ways to redesign previously built games. Yeah. And I guess another point like, I’m, I’m not a environmental experts. I’m like an amateur environmentalist, probably an amateur board gamer, as well. But I thought, you know, his his ideas of going into, like how to get people interested in the environment? And, you know, like, make that sort of connection. I think that does go a long way. What are your thoughts on that? Right? I think, for me, growing up in Nebraska, and now living in California, and living in Taiwan, and Korea and other places, I kind of realized how important it is to recycle. In Nebraska, it’s very easy to just not do it. I don’t know if this is the same now in Omaha, because I haven’t lived there in a while. But I know growing up, you would have to enroll in the recycling program where I believe in a lot of other parts, it’s almost mandatory in the US.

Rich Hill 43:29
Yeah, I’m also lived in Taiwan. It’s actually amazing how like organized the recycling is Japan as well. And I mean, like, I would say the states, we definitely do have some flaws with our recycling system. I mean, I don’t know if you ever listened to I don’t even know it’s okay, if I plug other podcasts here. But the NPR planet money they recently did one about like recycling and environment. And it’s kind of depressing in a way that like, the way our system works right now. It’s not what they say it’s like, right, like, recycling our plastic. You know, there’s some some issues with that recycling, cardboard, all those things. And it’s, you know, what we were you guys were saying about, like, there needs to be systematic change in order to change these things, I think is important. But in order to get that systematic change, I think people have to, you know, believe in global warming and climate change. And I think some of the apps in the games that he mentioned in the end probably would help with that.

Dustin Staats 44:37
Right. And I think that’s something that Clayton was hinting at is to do research into how recycling is handled on at a local level. I know. Recently, we looked into Los Angeles recycling and a lot of times, I believe I’ve been it’s tough because I like growing up. I have different like ideas of things in my head that may or may Be true, though. Like, we have a green in Omaha, we have a green recycling bin and still this way, and it’s open. So it’s not like a closed lid. It’s and it’s like half the size of our garbage cans. So you put in recycling there. And I believe if you’re throwing garbage in there, the recycling man’s not gonna pick it up. So it’s open for a reason to make sure that what’s in there as recycling?

Rich Hill 45:26
Yeah, I think most people want to do the right thing, right. It’s just they don’t know how to like, I know, just recently, I learned that, oh, in order to recycle batteries, you have to go to a Best Buy to recycle them, you can’t just kind of throw them into the recycling bin. Or, you know, you have to really clean out like your peanut butter jars in order to recycle them. Because even if there’s like a little amount there, you can’t recycle it. And also, like, you know, what’s worse for the environment? Me using all that water and hot water to clean that or me just kind of throwing it out and sending it into the garbage? Do you know what I mean?

Dustin Staats 46:04
Right? Yeah, it’s, um, what something else he talked about is action related knowledge. We don’t have that action related knowledge to know, what are the right steps? I mean, in your situation? I’m assuming cleaning out his and recycling is probably better, otherwise, we wouldn’t have that as an option. I don’t know, though. This, maybe we have to bring Clinton back on the show.

Rich Hill 46:27
Yeah, I mean, it would be cool to see some games like that, like teaching people, like what are the best, you know, best ways to do some sort of recycling? Like, I know, you guys talked about when you were a kid in elementary school, you said like you had a look on how much power you used or something. Yeah, yeah. So that was either what was the point of that?

Dustin Staats 46:48
Yeah, I think, again, I don’t know if I’m mixing this up with them. Memory grown up lesson plan I’ve read on the internet recently. And essentially, you look at how much energy you use in your home on a day to day basis, and you look at what things you can reduce energy consumption by, like unplugging different appliances that usually conserve energy that don’t need to always be plugged in. Or I don’t remember other examples, but essentially just looking at ways to limit the amount of energy consumption that you have in your household. You know, I’m thinking about it. Now, I think I’m pretty sure I read this in my university textbook for my Taiwan class, because we have a unit on Environmental Action and what you can do, and I think that was one of the one of the activities in there.

Rich Hill 47:39
Yeah, I mean, so I teach economics as well, we talk a lot about like incentives, right? Like, what is an incentive that would push people to, you know, change their, you know, unplug things? Like, is it? Like, I think, you know, when I go grocery shopping, I bring my own bags. And if I bring my own bags, I get what, like, five cents off? I don’t know if that’s really gonna, like, make most people bring in their own bags. It’s the Do you see, I’m saying with that, like, the incentives are important, but it’s not enough in our air, my particular area. So I wonder, like, you know, this idea of like, you know, making gamification to help, all these issues we have, I think there’s definitely a case for it. But I also think that they need to, you know, the incentives need to be higher in order for like the incentives to actually work and for the gamification to actually work, right.

Dustin Staats 48:39
And to add a comment onto that and kind of tie it into what you mentioned, is in Taiwan, you and I both live there, and then send up they had, which was a very, very, very big issue, which is crazy, because it’s really not, but it kind of has to do with that you get five cents off your groceries, you have to use state sponsored research, garbage bags for your garbage, and then anything that you recycle, you can use any bag, so they’re charging you for those state sponsored bags. That’s your garbage tax. So that’s kind of the incentive there. But so look at that, again, you mentioned the gamification. I know, I’m excited to see Clayton’s research because he’s looking at or a game based learning approach where through the actions that you take you learn about ways to preserve or protect your environment, because I think there are a lot of lot of gamification things you can do with, you know, like you mentioned, whether you should wash out your peanut butter jar or recycle it. You can gamify that by by adding points for the correct decision. Right. But how do we learn through a play process of a game? I don’t know. I’m excited to see what what Clayton comes up with for his research.

Rich Hill 50:00
I feel it was a lot of potential for that,

Dustin Staats 50:01
for sure. And I want to ask too, because one thing he mentioned, and one thing I know I’ve seen here and there I mentioned in Taiwan, we had a unit, an ESL unit on Environmental Action. So environmental vocabulary, grammar cetera. But it wasn’t the content wasn’t as important as learning grammar points and practicing the language. But the school I worked at last year used a or the science teacher, the last unit was on global warming and Environmental Action. So I’m curious to hear from you is, is that a big component of curriculum in your school or schools you’ve worked at previously? Because in my experiences, like a unit, so a month’s worth of time, maybe two months? What about you? What about you?

Rich Hill 50:46
I mean, I know maybe in the sciences, I’d imagine Actually, I know for sure in when we talk about, like globalization, things along those lines, that conversation always comes up about the environments. But I know we talked about this a little earlier, but I don’t know anybody who doesn’t believe in global warming or climate change. So teaching these classes and courses, you usually start with the assumption that they already know and believe it happens. I would imagine that when it comes to like younger students, like an elementary school or middle school, it’s kind of just, especially Middle School, just elementary school, sorry, it’s like just getting use of these terms and getting used to like nature and making that type of connection to care about it.

Dustin Staats 51:34
Right, right, that steward environmental steward is important. And then also, I guess, looking at how it happens, right? The cause and effect of what we do and that impact, and again, that goes back to the reason why we should care. Yeah, and like, you know, teaching something about, like, migration or something. Yeah, of course, there’s gonna be like global global warming is gonna cause more migration. So that aspect of just already knowing that global global warming is happening, is kind of a given in a way, right? So we’re gonna move into our game, and it’s called wavelength. You said, You have not played it before. But I remember you asking me if you should pick this one up or a different game, but essentially, in wavelength, I give you a, remember, I give you a scale of zero to 100. In the actual game, there’s like a dial that you have to turn up or down. So they don’t actually use the numbers doesn’t matter.

Rich Hill 52:33
The plastic.

Dustin Staats 52:34
Yes, it’s made out of plastic. Hmm, yeah. Yeah. Going back to, but there is an online, there’s an online version of wavelength. There’s a we’ve played it before. We played it online with everyone a couple weeks ago.

Rich Hill 52:47
Okay. I don’t remember that. Yeah, I think you should explain. Anyway,

Dustin Staats 52:50
well, good news, you’ll listen to my explanation of the game to Clayton, and then you’ll have an opportunity to play. So let’s play.

Clayton, we’re going to play the game is called wavelength, and you are going to have to guess a number. So in the game, it’s not actually a number. And you’re actually working cooperatively with your team, it could be a team based game or cooperative game. And you’re playing with a dial, you’re choosing where the dials should land on this scale. So the scale could be something like cold to hot. And you would turn the dial all the way to the left if you think the item is cold. So I might say, I don’t know. freezer that can store I don’t know why this is on my mind. But the new vaccine for the coronavirus, because it has to be very cold, colder than normal refrigeration, normal vaccine refrigerator. So you might turn the dial all the way to the left. And then I would reveal the point of where I wanted you to put the dial and we would see if it’s correct or not. So for a podcast sake, we’re going to use a number system and we’re going to do zero to 100. And so cold would be zero 100 would be hot. And I will think of a number. And I want you to guess the number I’m thinking showing that we’re on the same wavelength. So you’re gonna be competing against someone on the other end, they’re going to listen to this explanation too. And our range and the range is zero. Nobody does it to 100. Everybody does it. And I’m thinking of a number. So zero is nobody does it. And 100 is everybody does

Clayton Whittle 54:32
Okay, zeros. No one does it. 100 does everybody does it.

Dustin Staats 54:36
Right. Well, and so I have a number that I want you to guess and I’m going to give you a clue. And you want to try to guess that number based on that clues. So my clue is I have two clues now based on our conversation, but I want to make sure we’re on the same wavelength. So this has to do with we’re gonna do okay, we’re gonna do this one living abroad. So nobody does it the zero to 100. Everybody does it.

Clayton Whittle 55:08
I’d say 15

Dustin Staats 55:10
and rich.

Rich Hill 55:14
I put eight.

Dustin Staats 55:16
All right, so the number was 33. Whoa, geez, I don’t know. I think I would say maybe about a third. Maybe not. Maybe that’s a lot, a lot higher than I thought.

Clayton Whittle 55:28
I guess maybe it’s a global statistic. Yeah. I mean, I’m just pulling a number out.

Rich Hill 55:33
So I had originally,

Dustin Staats 55:38
man, so it looks like rich so far as a co host is Oh, for to last in wavelength as well. But maybe I’m just a terrible, terrible clue giver. My clue is very poor.

Alright, Clayton, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing a bit about this topic. I know, I learned a lot because again, I have no background in environmental studies. And I know a bit about games, but not environmental studies. So thank you again. And if anyone wanted to reach out to you or follow up with you about our discussion, how might they do that?

Clayton Whittle 56:12
Sure. I think you could. You can find me on Twitter at Clayton underscore widdle whi TT le. Though I warn you in advance. It’s mostly me screaming about Dungeons and Dragons. It’s not a very professional Twitter.

Dustin Staats 56:31
I think I think most our listeners would enjoy that. Awesome. So thank you so much for coming on the show.

Clayton Whittle 56:38
No, thank you so much for having me. Dustin, this is a lot of fun.

Dustin Staats 56:41
All right, rich. So thank you again, for coming on the show. I’m excited to have you on again in the future. And if anyone wants to reach out to you, that’s best through Board Gaming with Education,

Rich Hill 56:52
of course. All right. T

Dustin Staats 56:53
hank you again.

Rich Hill 56:54
Thank you Have a good one.

Dustin Staats 56:58
Again, this episode of Board Gaming with Education is sponsored by the world game fun educational geography board game. It’s a super exciting and fast playing game for everyone. I highly recommend checking out this game on Kickstarter. Now. It comes with this really cool world map that includes different cards for each country with a flag and a bunch of facts. Really awesome educational resource, something I highly recommend adding to your classroom collection or a great game to play at home. And again, that’s the world game on Kickstarter.

Board Gaming with Education 57:33
Thank you for listening in this week. If you like what you heard, be sure to let us know you can find us on social media as Board Gaming with Education or big games or email us at podcast at Board Gaming with education.com. If you want to support our podcast Be sure to check out our support page on our website. As always teach better learn more and most importantly, play more. Thank you for listening and until next time


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