The hunt for the evil Carbon Gann is about to begin. And it will start in classrooms across the nation. Carbon Gann is one of the animated characters in a new interactive DVD titled Eco-ribbean. It was produced by Niherst, the National Institute of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology, for distribution to students across the country, as well as to others interested in learning more about climate change or in challenging their knowledge on the issue. Billed as edu-tainment, Eco-ribbean combines fun and facts, play and learning. The DVD offers a compilation of games, pop quizzes, adventure, eco-trivia and video archive designed to excite, challenge, motivate and educate students about climate change in particular, and the environment in general. The DVD is the brainchild of Niherst executives, Joycelyn Lee Young and Joanne Chin Sang with broad input from Niherst staffers. Providing technical expertise was distinguished UWI environmentalist, Professor John Agard. It is part-funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Eco-ribbean features a significant amount of animation work by game developer Silvacode, which was also responsible for interface and the design of the DVD’s cover.
Promoted as ushering in “a climate of change,” Eco-ribbean has already been market-tested, with great success, to focus groups of the Heroes Foundation, Brazil High School and Bishop Anstey High School East. The challenge begins the moment you slip it into your DVD drive and find yourself being put to the climate change test. Right away, “Factormania” puts your eco-trivia knowledge to the test: So you think you know how much energy is poured by the sun onto the earth over a given period of time? Or maybe, being the eco-champion you are, you’d like to try your hand at Mitigation Mix in figuring out how much carbon dioxide a tree can absorb every 15 minutes? Or perhaps you’d like to be an Eco-spotter, journeying between the present and the future to discover what a pristine rain forest might look like after 100 years of degradation and environmental insensitivity? Maybe you’d prefer to roll the dice in a game of Snakes & Ladder? Just be warned that animation can take this innocuous board game to a whole new level of thrill. Adventurous types might prefer to transform themselves into an incredible eco-hero and join the hunt for the evil Carbon Gann and stop his diabolical plan of planetary destruction through global warming!
The interactive nature of Eco-ribbean puts the player right in the middle of the action, and gives them the power of decision-making with the impact of immediate and personal consequences. From a teaching point of view, nothing so quickly focuses the mind and imparts the lesson as seeing, live and direct and in full colour, the immediate impact of one’s actions on the environment. The power of Eco-ribbean lies in its easy, interactive and entertaining style of teaching, not only through its games but its range of activities. Students get hands-on demonstrations in such scientific activities as building greenhouse gases, creating their own tornados, making a recycled birdfeeder, observing rises in the sea-level, simulating the greenhouse effect; using solar energy for purifying water and calculating carbon emissions. To put themselves to the test, they can choose to take the Dr Weather Change Challenge.
In a special “Info Corner” Eco-ribbean passes along numerous handy factoids. These are little, very digestible nuggets of eco-info that are handy for building and promoting environmental awareness among the average person. The idea is that with information in their hands, people will become more sensitive to the environment and act accordingly, thereby initiating change. The DVD’s library of video and still photos is a very useful tool, not only for edu-tainment viewing, but also for possible use in class presentations and projects. Eco-ribbean is an indigenous storehouse of fun and facts that is available to all schools, community groups and others. It is also a wonderful gift that corporate citizens might select for distribution to communities as an act of social corporate responsibility. DVDs will be available from October 1 2012 to all schools as well as to other interested persons. Copies can be obtained at Niherst through [email protected]