Developer: Joey Thompson
Launcher Quote: “World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated on the 5th of June every year, and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. WED has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes.
The theme for 2018 is “Beat Plastic Pollution”. The host nation is India.”
When I was growing up, there was a primary vehicle for making sure I was environmentally conscious, and that was the Captain Planet show. Sure, it was often at 6:30am in the morning on Saturdays, but I always managed to either make sure it was recorded or be up way too early for my own good, eating breakfast cereal while Captain Planet and the Planeteers saved the Earth from pollution and bad environmental practices. When the show went away, the programs that encouraged environmental awareness didn’t seem as far-reaching – and certainly not as fantastical.
But days like World Environment Day (WED), despite not employing a buff and blue-skinned mulleted hero or elemental rings of power, has nevertheless been a program that has persisted since before that show, and the developer for this entry wanted to make sure that people were aware of something that’s been trying to bring awareness about the environment for many decades. Perhaps not as well-known as its Earth Day counterpart in April, WED is nevertheless still a major vehicle for environmental care, and which advocates doing what you can to care for the environment. Something as simple as picking up trash in a park, like the developer depicts, is one such activity.
The thing that struck me about this particular game was the fact that the activity of picking up the trash is a simple one, both in game mechanics and in goals. In a video game world where you have complex controls and deep and detailed game designs, sometimes the simplest presentation is the best for advocating a very simple task. Picking up trash might not seem like much in the grand scheme of taking care of the environment or reversing the trends that put us on the road to environmental ruin, but it’s something small and minimal that can add up, and it’s an activity that almost everyone can participate in. When it comes to the environment, every little bit helps, and that message is one that people can certainly get behind.