I’m Yeled and I was a participant of the 2019 Climathon in San Francisco. My background is in cognitive neuroscience and I’m a VR developer.
The thing I’m most passionate about is getting humans to collaborate in ways that are non-violent, and I see games as a real untapped opportunity. Our brains tend to freeze when we’re faced with something that we feel powerless against.
A lot of the behaviours that come with climate change are from wanting to ignore it, and not wanting to face the facts.
I was at a games’ conference - watching everyone and thinking about the power in gaming - when I watched one of Greta’s latest videos about climate change. I had this vision that we can gamify this, we can gamify people’s behaviours, we can make it fun and social. Suddenly it dawned on me that this was the behavioural change we needed for humanity.
I had a vision in my head and I wanted to get people to join me and help me start building it. I planned on inviting friends over and hosting a hackathon to build out the idea. When I posted about it on Facebook, a friend told me about Climathon.
“Suddenly it dawned on me that this was the behavioural change we needed for humanity.”
The biggest benefit of Climathon is the culmination of people from different backgrounds coming together in one space exchanging ideas and solutions.
Having a good working environment is super important. The San Francisco Bay Area Climathon felt very intimate and because it was small, we had the opportunity to connect to the people there and keep those connections for later.
It’s really about combining different abilities; finding people who are able to contribute to this project, are passionate about it, and can keep each other motivated.
Making any type of actual, impactful change in the world - by yourself - is going to be very difficult. Being part of a team is when the ball starts rolling and things start changing.
We landed on the idea of Carbon0 - a location-based social AR game, like PokemonGo, that challenges players to plant carbon-absorbing trees and grow algae, to go on missions that reduce their carbon footprint, and economically empower environmentally friendly businesses and charities.
“The biggest benefit of Climathon is the culmination of people from different backgrounds coming together in one space exchanging ideas and solutions.”
The Climathon wind, especially, was a really big push for us because the team just became totally motivated. Carbon0 received $3,000 as local Climathon winners, and having even a little bit of funding in the beginning was a really strong motivator that we could do this and it would work. It also helped pay for tools.
We’re tapping into the big problem: behavioural change is really difficult. It can propagate if we can get enough people on board doing small daily acts of activism. If we can change perspectives and understand the problem better, we will see that cascade. But being in a vacuum, and creating ideas in a vacuum, is hard.
If you have any type of idea that you think can help climate change, Climathon is an amazing opportunity because you will be able to find people to join you.
And if you don’t have an idea, but you want to be part of something, it’s also a great opportunity to come up with ideas together.