The National Science Foundation (NSF), through its Climate Change Education Partnership, has helped fund a climate-change-related project at Columbia University called FutureCoast. It’s part of the PoLar Partnership project, which has received about $6.9 million from NSF “to engage adult learners and inform public understanding and response to climate change.” This includes a major emphasis on climate change games.
Under this particular game, FutureCoast, people were able to leave voicemails “from the future” about climate change.
According to FutureCoast:
FutureCoast is a playful (yet serious) way to change the dialog about climate change. Because the voicemails come from possible futures, it allows for many future visions. By using voicemails as creative and performative expression, FutureCoast takes the effects of climate change out of the abstract and into the realm of the human and visceral. Through its narrative device, participants are confronted with the notion of thinking very concretely about their future and how climate-changed it might be.
An article in ClimateWire (subscription required) explains:
Stephanie Pfirman, professor of environmental science at Barnard College who holds a joint position at the Columbia University Earth Institute, said the goal of the game wasn’t necessarily to educate people on climate research. It was to get people today, who are in a position to address the issue, to simply think about it.
In the spirit of the game, but without any assistance from taxpayer dollars, here are some quotes that future Americans might say. In this specific future world, even more stringent carbon policies get adopted:
Thank goodness for carbon regulation. It was 80 degrees today. Without the regulation, it would have been 80.000001 degrees, give or take 0.000001 degrees.
—Amy, physical therapist, Honolulu, Hawaii, 2061
My friend just rented a 300-square-foot apartment. While it doesn’t have electricity, it does make up for it with its size.
—Richard, attorney, Lincoln, Nebraska, 2047
I saw a cow today for the first time. It was kind of cool. My grandfather said cows were prevalent before the methane emissions ban. At least I get to see plenty of lesser prairie chicken.
—Chucky, rancher, Reno, Nevada, 2052
There’s a lot less highway traffic without cars. Renewable bikes do make family trips more difficult, though.
—Jenny, graphic designer, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, 2038
My life is great. I have a huge house and fly on private airplanes, and my overall standard of living is much better than almost anyone from 2014.
—Al, former politician and environmental activist, Nashville, Tennessee, 2015