Have you ever wondered how climate change is connected with our consumption behaviour? Or how much carbon is stored in a forest? And how will our world look like in 2050?
Having found your way to our blog, you probably know the answers. But how can we start a dialogue with others, who might be less interested? With a generation, that has grown up with smartphones and is increasingly disconnected with nature? With young people who might not have access to environmental education? One answer might be: By using our smartphone affinity and creating an app that answers questions and informs about climate change in a playful way.
The App uRnature was developed by Udata – Environment and Education GmbH , where I did an internship for three months. (A report about my internship there is coming soon!) During the internship, I was able to gain many insights into app development, but also how knowledge can be transferred without being “boring”. As conventional nature education offers are often used by people already interested in the environment,a new approach is necessary. And uRnature is one of the first approaches in Germany to use an app to bring young people back in contact with nature.
Chat with U and find out how the world could look like in 2050. Or play minigames. (Screenshot: uRnature)
Guess correctly and avoid sea level rise or discover how the world could look like in 2050. Can you prevent a climate disaster?
uRnature offers two possible play modes: First of all there are minigames, that can be played everywhere. Guess the climate change terms correctly in Climate Change Hangman, and help the tourist escape from sea level rise. If you guess wrong, the temperature is increasing and the sea is rising… Or save our woods by catching all harmful bork beetles. But be careful not to kill the useful checkered-beetle. The games aim to entertain, while simultaneously providing information and (fun) facts about the most important concepts around climate change and forest. To learn more, you can chat with U from 2050. Living in a world destroyed by climate change and degradation, U needs your help. By choosing your answers you can decide how the story ends…
Climate Change Hangman. Guess the term correctely or the sea level will rise. (Screenshot: uRnature)
Are you brave enough to go outside and fulfill your mission?
uRnature provides also so-called virtual, GPS based missions that need be played on-site. Almost like Pokemon Go, the player has to go outside and fulfill certain tasks in nature at the virtual stations. Following usually already established educational trails, the mission asks the player to find certain trees, guess their age, answer questions or play a minigame. Currently there are missions in Berlin, Brandenburg and in Rheinland-Pfalz. (And, unfortunately, the app is only available in German.) But more missions are to come!
uRnature is a unique approach to bringing young people back to nature. To inform about some of the most crucial topics in our time. And even though you might say we should enjoy our environment without technology, maybe we have to combine both to find our way back to nature.
Find out more:
Like the app on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/urnatureapp/
Author: Katharina Funk
I joined the Master’s program “Global Change Ecology” in 2016, studying additionally environmental law. My Bachelor’s programm was “Integrated Life Sciences” in Erlangen, Germany. My main interests are climate policy, sustainability, environmental ethics and social-ecological systems.