A new approach to understand climate changes

A new method to draw local citizens and leaders’ attention to the effects of climate changes was developed by the New England Climate Adaptation Project (NECAP).  The project is led by Lawrence Susskind, the Ford Professor in Urban Studies in MIT’s DUSP. 

After developing climate-change scenarios for four coastal towns (Wells, Maine; Dover, New Hampshire; Barnstable, Massachusetts; and Cranston, Rhode Island) and conducting research on local priorities and infrastructure, the MIT group developed a role-playing game tailored to each town dealing with climate adaptation.

Their project got officials and local citizens of these towns to engage in role-playing games about climate change, while conducting local polling about the attitudes and public awareness of the threats posed by the forthcoming changes in climate. The main purpose was to familiarize people in coastal communities through studying the local climate scenarios and potential responses with the problems in order that towns could reach new conclusions about the local initiatives and consensus on plans of actions. The result of the polling was striking as residents of these coastal communities were far more concerned about the consequences of climate change than local politicians had previously realized.

With the help of role-playing games scholars can make hundreds of community members more informed and willing to consider the need for climate response. The project also reveals a need for continued public educational programmes about the affordability of possible responses.

More information: http://news.mit.edu/2015/help-communities-manage-climate-risks-1105