Monday, June 21, 2010

Are you game?

It is the new Farmville! Catchment Detox has been going viral, with players of all varieties getting hooked. The best thing is, it teaches sustainable catchment management practices with every turn.

Catchment Detox (CD) is an innovative way of teaching the public about sustainable land and catchment practices through real-time gaming. CD was a joint development between CSIRO, e-Water CRC, ABC, National Science Week and The Australian Government.

'CD is based on a model developed by CSIRO Division of Land and Water and e-water Co-operative Research Centre. Modelling the impact of activities in a catchment is complex science. While Catchment Detox is a game and not a scientific model, it is based on today’s scientific understanding of water and catchment management issues'.

It works in a similar way to other real-time games (such as Farmville), where you can make decisions about your farm and each turn which will then affect subsequent turns. Unlike Farmville where the result of a turn is subjective and unrealistic, the result of taking a turn in CD is quite realistic! This means that all the turns you make are based on science and the outcome is directly a result of your actions. As an example, if you decide to produce a lot of food (and use a lot of water) in a turn when there is also a drought, your next turn will result in poor environmental outcomes. However, if you decide to conserve your water during a drought, your environmental outcomes in the next round will improve. The player learns what is good or bad management in their catchment from the result of each turn. The object of the game being that the player will succeed in positively managing their catchment.

Alternative media for education on complex environmental issues is a great way to get younger generations interested. It is also a great educational resource, and can be used in the classroom. There is additional educational material available on the site.

Have a go! You know you want too...

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