Credit: Sam Chivers for NRDC
- CHALLENGE CITIES
Credit: Sam Chivers for NRDC
People across the United States are already suffering from the impacts of the climate crisis. These harms—including physical and mental health impacts, housing and income loss from hazards such as extreme heat, repeated flooding and sea level rise, wildfire, and drought—are falling heavily on communities of color and low-income communities. Scientific reports show that we have a very narrow window of time to act: To avoid the most dangerous repercussions we must limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. The good news? The solutions to build a more just and equitable future for all already exist — we just need to demand that they be implemented.
The Game Design Prompt:
We need a comprehensive plan that addresses the impacts of the climate crisis by strengthening our communities’ resilience to climate extremes and reducing carbon emissions. Solutions like adaptation, green infrastructure, public transportation, energy efficiency and clean energy are all promising and within reach. Create a game that shows how we can improve our homes, schools, and communities to be more sustainable and improve people’s health.
2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year on record, with 2019 coming in second — in fact, 19 of the 20 warmest years ever recorded have occurred in the past two decades.
According to the World Health Organization, “climate change is expected to cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year” between 2030 and 2050.
With cities consuming more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and accounting for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions (primarily through the high-emitting sectors of transportation and buildings and energy), we cannot ignore the role of cities in climate solutions.
Buildings are the single-largest user of energy in the United States, accounting for 50 – 75 percent of total energy consumption in a city. The good news is that there are easy fixes to make buildings more sustainable through updates to building heating, cooking, and power, and replacing gas appliances with cleaner alternatives that use electricity!
An overview of global warming, its causes, effects, and what’s being done about it.
How You Can Help Fight Climate Change
Healing the planet starts in your garage, in your kitchen, and at your dining room table. Here are some easy, concrete ways you can make a difference.
From weather-stripping windows to using the right light bulbs, these smart and simple tips can help keep your family cozy and your energy costs low.
By relying on plants, soil, and natural systems to manage rainfall runoff, green infrastructure tackles urban water woes and boosts climate resilience.
To meet U.S. climate goals, we need to cut carbon emissions by half, at least, by 2030 to avert the most dangerous consequences of climate change. The resources below outline the actions the United States needs to take to get there. These key areas of impact can be applied to any city in the U.S and can be used as inspiration for game design.
Each policy considered for reducing emissions is also an opportunity to support good jobs and improve equity:
America must act— and not just the federal government, but cities and states, small and big business, working communities. Together, we can seize the opportunity to drive prosperity, create jobs, and build the clean energy economy of tomorrow.
Each city has identified top areas of impact for reducing carbon emissions in their city climate action plans. Climate action plans for each of the Challenge Cities are provided below so that students can learn about the major themes their city is focusing on as part of their climate strategy and have the option to creatively integrate these actions into their games.