Editor’s note: Every month, I skim dozens of newsletters, reports, and articles for material relevant to managing and conserving marine ecosystems. And every month, I’m a little shellshocked by the onslaught of bad news. People ask me how I like my job, and I tell them that I love the oceans, I love the work, and I love the people I work with, but it is profoundly sad to chronicle the decline of ocean ecosystems. I know many Skimmer readers have these same – and perhaps even more intense – feelings and experiences.
Editor’s note: The EBM Tools Network got started in 2005-2006 under the leadership of Patrick Crist, then the director of conservation planning and ecosystem management at NatureServe. Over the past 14 years, the Network has grown to over 11,000 coastal and marine conservation and management practitioners worldwide, and is now run by OCTO, which also publishes this newsletter.
Last month, The Skimmer released a compilation of role-playing/simulation games to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation. We’ve just added nine more games to the game compilation. Check out the newbies:
Historically, games were a means for young people to learn critical survival skills. In recent decades, however, games have come to be viewed as simply a source of entertainment. A recent movement – “serious gaming” – is now revitalizing the idea that games can do a lot more than just entertain. It is showing that they can be a powerful tool for teaching, engaging stakeholders, conducting research, and evaluating public policy. For instance, serious games can:
- Help players better understand complex topics and the interests of a wide variety of groups, promoting thinking about systems as a whole
- Let players experiment with and see the consequences of different choices over time, promoting longer-term thinking
- Create a high level of engagement with the public, potentially at lower cost than other more traditional engagement activities
- Help policymakers and researchers understand stakeholder decision making and the way stakeholders may respond to a variety of policy choices.
This month The Skimmer has compiled information about role-playing/simulation games designed to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation. These serious games allow players to experiment with coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation actions (or inaction) to help players, researchers, and policymakers better understand how coastal and marine ecosystems (including resource users and human communities) work. We also interview a range of game developers about their experiences using their games in the field.
Look through our new compilation for a serious game for your coastal and marine conservation, management, and adaptation work.
The Skimmer interviewed three practitioners about their experiences developing and using serious games to educate stakeholders, professionals, students, and the general public about aspects of the conservation and management of coastal and marine ecosystems. Learn about:
- How the Reef Stakes game is being used across Southeast Asia to explain the complexity of multi-stakeholder decision-making processes and highlight threats to coral reef ecosystems
- How the Ocean Limited game is being used in Germany to allow players to take on stakeholder roles and negotiate interests in marine resources
- How the Fishing in the Food Web game is being used in Argentina to introduce players to complex marine ecological concepts and stimulate discussion about how marine ecosystems work.
One striking commonality of these stories is the ability of games to engage a wide variety of audiences – oftentimes even wider audiences than those for which they were developed – in discussion and learning about the conservation and management of marine ecosystems.
- New report describes expected impacts of climate change on global ocean economy
- Ocean acidification could cost US fisheries, tourism, and coastal communities billions
- Ocean deoxygenation increasingly threatens species and ecosystems
- Global wave patterns will change drastically with further global warming
- New research able to link frequency of most damaging hurricanes to climate change
- New study assesses changes in fish distribution due to climate change
- Draft treaty on conservation and sustainable use of high seas marine life available for review
- Wales publishes new national marine plan
- New tool helps coastal cities identify financial, political, ecological risks from climate change
- New underwater robotic gliders measure ocean noise levels
- New tool tracks vessels at high risk for IUU fishing
- Project will enable study of environmental changes on ocean microbes
- Larval fish eating microplastics in their nursery habitats
- Latest studies suggest Arctic Ocean may be ice-free for part of year by 2044
- Oldest and thickest Arctic Ocean sea ice disappearing twice as fast as other sea ice
- Input requested on coastal management challenges, will inform US national research investments
It’s no secret that news about the ocean is pretty disheartening these days. So, as we get started with 2020, we here at The Skimmer want to highlight a new report that looks at ocean potential. The High Level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy recently released “The Ocean as a Solution for Climate Change: Five Opportunities for Action”, which quantifies contributions that ocean-based mitigation strategies can make in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, while also delivering other ecosystem services. The report considers the potential contributions of:
- Scaling up ocean-based renewable energy (e.g., wind, wave, and tidal power)
- Reducing emissions from freight and passenger shipping
- Increasing protection and restoration of coastal and marine ecosystems (particularly “blue carbon” habitats such as mangroves, tidal marshes, and seagrasses), which would provide carbon mitigation as well as other ecosystem service benefits
- Shifting diets towards low-carbon sources of protein from the ocean
- Storing carbon in the seabed.