‘Reset Earth’ game encourages Gen Z to protect the ozone layer

The United Nations is launching an animated film and interactive game that aims to teach Gen Z how to protect and appreciate the ozone layer.

Who’d have thought the UN would be dropping a mobile game in 2021?

‘Reset Earth’ is a new game and interactive web series being launched by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to celebrate this weekend’s World Education day. It’s available through the ‘Ozone Secretariat’ website, a platform offering young environmentalists a ton of useful tools and resources to stay up to speed with all things relating to our ozone layer.

The main goal is to teach Gen Z the important of protecting the thin part of the atmosphere that shields our planet from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation.

Currently, ozone depletion is a cause of significant environmental concern. Chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbon and hydrofluorocarbon both cause damage to the ozone layer and are produced in vast quantities. According to the UN, ozone-depleting substances (ODs) that are used for things like refrigeration, air conditioning, and aerosol sprays, account for close to 11% of the total recorded warming emissions to date.

The UN’s environmental experts are keen to raise awareness with young Gen Zers in particular, as the ozone layer is often a topic left out of mainstream environmental conversation.

Reset Earth is an attempt to appeal to a younger crowd by weaving science into an accessible medium. Set in 2084, three teenage protagonists navigate a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world in order to find out what exactly caused the depletion of the ozone layer and the subsequent destruction to life on Earth. It’s like Fallout but without the bombs, essentially.

‘Immersive, educational and thought-provoking, Reset Earth conveys a positive message around what can be achieved through collective action and cultivates a sense of environmental responsibility and ownership,’ says acting executive secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, Meg Seki.

Surprisingly, while its cartoon aesthetic suggests it won’t be particularly in-depth and is perhaps more akin to quick multiplayer titles like Fortnite, it certainly looks very slick for something made via an intergovernmental agency.

We’ll have to wait and see if the episodic single-player format works and whether the Ozone Secretariat has managed to strike a good balance between didacticism and engagement.

‘The protection of the ozone layer cannot be considered a done deal,’ adds Seki. ‘It must be a continuous effort by us and by future generations. If our children learn about the grim consequences of a ruined ozone layer through a fantasy cartoon and game app, they will be aware of its importance and protect it.’

The Reset Earth project is well-timed considering Biden’s immediate flurry of executive orders rolled out to tackle the climate crisis, including the US’s return to the Paris climate agreement.

However, given that educational games often struggle to bring in large audiences, it’s unlikely to change the world and truly take off – the next Halo or Call of Duty games can probably rest easy.

Where this type of resource will shine best is in the classroom. Given that most of us are stuck learning our modules and courses via Zoom, this could prove to be an invaluable and entertaining shake-up to the usual teaching format.

Perhaps the sequel will have a Battle Royale mode?

@thredmag

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