Climate Gamers

This story proposes numerous solutions which crop more specifically in more detail in later stories.

Projects such as The Climate Game created by the Financial Times, challenges players to reach net zero by 2050. Also the En-roads climate solutions simulator will give you a sense of the challenges ahead and what solutions are likely to be most effective. They’re not always what you think. See also the top games that exist currently related to saving the planet.

This is a 26-minute audio version of Climate Gamers,
written by D.A. Baden, Martin Hastie and Steve Willis and read by Chance Glasco


Read the first page from the story below:

Since childhood, Devlin had been a bit of a dick – or asshole, as his fellow gamers over the pond would say. Arrogant as only a teenager can be, prone to gloating and grandiose statements. Still, there was no malice in him and something engaging about his positive can-do attitude. Devlin also had what psychologists would call ‘Just World Syndrome’, meaning that he couldn’t countenance that bad things might happen to good people. Faced with the injustices of the climate crisis, some similarly afflicted people became either climate deniers or victim blamers, so it’s to his credit that Dev’s response was simply to declare that it was a no-brainer to solve. Other character traits – refusal to admit he could ever be wrong and obsessiveness, combined to ensure that having made this assertion at the tender age of ten, he had to set himself to proving it.

In his spare time he played games. A lot. Some people, his parents for example, who didn’t appreciate how in control he was, might even say he’d become a gaming addict, throwing away friends, his studies and normal life to live in a virtual world. He was still not much more than a child, recently turned 19, but already a veteran of the gaming world, a regular fixture in the top 100 leader boards in Minecraft, World of Warcraft, GTA and its many offshoots. His research into climate solutions petered out when he discovered Civilisation and devoted himself to winning the game using every possible method. Devlin countered parental nagging that he was throwing his life away by listing all the ways he could monetise his gaming. Admittedly, when boiled down to an hourly rate, it added up to peanuts, certainly not enough to leave home, but with the Climate Gamers challenge, here finally was the chance to prove everybody wrong, win big and save the planet. He no longer thought it would be easy – it wasn’t like ten years ago when a rapid switch away from fossil fuels to renewables might have been enough. Now tipping points had been passed, it would be way more tricky. He knew he was the man to do it.

The Climate Games seemed to spring from nowhere, but like most overnight successes its foundations had been laid over the course of many years. Much of the game data had been based on the en-roads programme1 – a climate simulator that allows users to explore the impact of various policies on global temperatures. Except, in this case, the algorithms changed over time creating a moving target. What worked yesterday might have a different outcome tomorrow as new data from ongoing research studies was fed continuously into the programme.

D.A. Baden, Martin Hastie, and Steve Willis ‘Climate Gamers’

Meet the authors: D.A. Baden, Martin Hastie and Steve Willis

D.A. Baden is Professor of Sustainability at the University of Southampton and has published numerous book chapters and articles in the academic realm, and a eco-themed rom-com Habitat Man. She wrote the script for a musical, performed in Southampton and London in 2016, and has written three other screenplays. Denise set up the series of free Green Stories writing competitions in 2018 to inspire writers to integrate green solutions into their writing ( Denise has written three stories for this anthology, and co-written two others. The Pitch is adapted from her novel Habitat Man. Follow on and @DABadenauthor

Martin Hastie is a freelance writer and editor. Over the last ten years he has written for TV, radio, stage and online. Working in television production, he helped to produce content for shows in Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. He has also taught creative writing and is an award-winning stand-up comedian.

Steve Willis is an engineer and innovator who has worked for years on large scale industrial and environmental projects. During the covid lock downs in Malaysia he began writing short, climate fiction stories which explored potential positive outcomes to the climate crisis, stories where the climate crisis was actually fixed. Steve has an unusually broad, heavy industrial background, combined with sharp observation, a vivid imagination, relentless persistence and a talent for lucid dreaming. He is using these unusual skills to continuously seek massive scale climate solutions, to identify climate start-up opportunities and to write stories which capture some of the essence of working on the climate crisis challenge.