PODCAST: These board games are finding tangible solutions to climate change in Hawaii

The games focus on ways people can adapt to these two climate hazards and work together to find tangible solutions.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 11:55 AM HST|Updated: Jan. 6, 2023 at 12:03 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With Oahu residents already seeing the impacts of climate change, the city is initiating a plan to take action sooner rather than later.

Originally created to gather input for the Climate Ready Oahu adaptation strategy, the city’s Resilience Office crafted a couple of games to explore the effects of sea level rise and increasing heat.

The games are called: “Are You Climate Ready: Beat the Heat” and “Are You Climate Ready: Sea Level Wise.”

They focus on ways people can adapt to these two climate hazards and work together to find solutions.

Hailey Campbell, a city climate adaptation specialist, is the person behind crafting these games. She sat down with HNN’s “Repairing Earth” podcast to discuss how the games work and the core issues affecting vulnerable communities.

The games immerse players in the challenges and trade-offs of climate adaptation over multiple decades.

By planning ahead and choosing the right adaptation options, players are able to adapt to shocks (such as erosion events and extreme heat waves) and long-term stresses (such as rising sea levels and increasing overall temperatures).

“We focused on sea level rise and extreme heat because frontline communities, like those along the Waianae and North Shore coasts, are increasingly vulnerable to these climate impacts and we need more engaging tools for discussing risks and proactive solutions designed with community,” Campbell said.

Climate Ready Games
Climate Ready Games(City and County of Honolulu)

She and members of the Resilience Office actually went out to these communities to engage with residents.

The games were first played at six place-based workshops in partnership with Malama Learning Center, who served as a hub to assist in better connecting with local hosts in Waianae and the North Shore. Partner community-based organizations included Kaala Farm, Mao Organic Farms, Malama Loko Ea Foundation and Malama Pupukea-Waimea.

Those who participated said changes are already being seen — especially on the coastline where the beach continues to be eaten away by waves.

While playing the games, many also came up with their own solutions.

For example, for ways to beat the heat some said they could go out and buy shave ice or hang out at friend or family’s house who has more efficient air conditioning or cooling systems.

Campbell said hearing responses like these show the power of creating climate adaptation games, which help spark conversation about climate change and what we can do as a community and county to tackle these issues.

Having since created these games, the city’s Resilience Office has received the 2022 Outstanding Public Education and Outreach Award from the American Planning Association Hawaii Chapter.

The award recognizes excellent tools and processes led by planners to meaningfully engage the public in plans and projects.

To play the game and to learn more, click here.

For more on the conversation, listen to Episode 12 of Repairing Earth, “Climate Adaptation Games,” on the HNN website or anywhere you get your podcasts.