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"Reality Drop" Brings Social Gaming (And Facts) To Dispelling Climate Change Misinformation

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and agency Arnold drop some science, and game dynamics, on the issue of climate change.

Climate change is not a game, but The Climate Reality Project is trying to turn it into one.

In "Reality Drop," the soon-to-launch social media game, players earn points by participating in online conversations about climate change and "dropping reality" on climate change deniers. Retweets, shares, likes, and comments on the project’s climate facts, or reality drops, earn players additional points and help them unlock new levels, improve rank, and win badges.

It’s a playful approach to a deadly serious and very timely issue. Following Hurricane Sandy, it’s become increasingly evident that climate change has become more of a harsh reality than an inconvenient truth.

"The reality is clear: Climate change is happening now, and impacting billions of people around the world," says Maggie L. Fox, CEO of The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Of course, these days, reality can be subjective when it comes to climate change, which is refuted by what Fox calls "well-funded denier campaigns" sponsored by oil and coal companies.

Looking for an innovative way to dispel myths and spread science about climate change, Gore, Fox and their colleagues at The Climate Reality Project turned to agency Arnold Worldwide. Pete Favat, Arnold Worldwide’s chief creative officer, had attracted Gore’s attention because of his cause-related work for the Truth Campaign, the hugely successful national anti-tobacco program.

Rather than relying on a traditional advertising campaign to influence the climate change discussion, Favat says he and his team decided instead to "make an engaging product that people could use to defend real science."

The product, "Reality Drop," relies on sophisticated algorithms to highlight "hot" climate change stories and provide simple rebuttals to the most common climate change myths.

"We needed to figure out ways to make it easy for people to engage in the cause without having to give up too much time or money," says Favat. "We decided to create a way to "drop" real facts backed by real science into conversations."

Armed with this set of facts, "Reality Drop" users have the option of either sharing them via their social networks and/or "dropping" them into online debates and discussion boards about climate change.

Users win points for sharing facts and eventually climb up the ranks of the game and earn Foursquare-like badges such as "Carbon Crusher," "Shining Beacon," and "Order of the Green Circle."

Initial information on the game will be officially unveiled on November 14th during "24 Hours of Reality: The Dirty Weather Report," a 24-hour event broadcast live on the Internet, culminating in a presentation by Gore on November 15th at 7 p.m. EST.

Without any advertising budget, Reality Drop will rely strictly on word-of-mouth to gain traction and influence the climate change discussion. "Success will be measured by the amount of people who are posting and the number of people involved," says Favat. "People inherently want to be on the right side here."

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14 Comments

  • Andy D

    Every credible measure of global temperature confirms that it has stood still for 16 years; meanwhile CO2 has continued to rise.   Go figure.   

  • Martyn

    You are indeed completely correct. Climate scientists are very worried about this because they have predicted a 0.2 to 0.6 deg. C temperature increase per decade, and its just not happening (the temperature rise is 0.8 deg. C since 1880's or 0.062 deg. C per decade).  I think this temperature stagnation is one of the greatest pieces of good news we have had in a long time, and shows that we are not all doomed to thermagedon.

  • Martyn

    There is an optimal "average" temperature that maximises the extent and diversity of of all life on earth.  Unfortunately, there is no generally agreed on figure for this temperature. As a rough guess at such a number I would say that we are close to, or slightly below that figure now.

  • Phil-M

    You guys: you are aware, I hope, that global temperatures have flatlined over the last 12 years while CO2 levels have increased dramatically!

    If you genuinely believe that CO2 caused global warming you had better produce some hard facts to justify that belief.

  • D Evans

    Some people STILL believe that the EEEVIL Koch brothers are behind climate change denial.
    I think they also believe that Peter Gleik didn't just make up the false document implicating the Koch brothers in Heartland financing.
    OK the EEEVIL  Koch brothers are implicated but for HEALTH CARE!
    Get a brain climate change deniers! Climate has always changed and will continue to do so long after humans are gone.

  • Mbergin1

    Who are these climate deniers? I don't know anyone who denies we have a climate.

  • Imas Keptic

    Didn't the climate change before man walked on this earth? 

    If so, then man can't be responsible for a pre-existing phenomenon.

  • Leslie Graham

    I'm not that computer savvy but so far as I can tell one has to have a facebook or twitter account to participate.
    Not much use to me as I have neither.
    I've spent years trying to dispel the lies of the fossil fuel shills but I can't join in on this project.
    Not good.
    If I'm wrong about this I'd be only too happy for someone to inform me how I can join up ( without facebook or twitter of course).
    Thanks.

  • ReduceGHGs

    One of the propaganda machines comes to us via the Koch oil billionaire brothers.  They fund The Heartland Institute.  On their site is a list of their so called "experts" with their emails.  Some activists have taken to contacting them with and asking simple questions like... "How can you work for an organization that willfully spreads propaganda?  How can you participate in activities that would put our future generations at risk?  Don't you care?"
    http://heartland.org/experts
    Some are spreading this viral!

  • David

    This game sounds like a trivia in the present walking into the future. Or surfing. I like it!