THE ENVIRONMENTAL DISASTER
Virtual Reality is a tool increasingly used by companies to achieve their goals: train their employees, create experiences for their customers, new e-commerce environments, the possibilities are endless. But can this technology be used in the fight against climate change? Can Virtual Reality help the environment?
In recent years, we have witnessed some truly worrying figures:
- The warming of the poles and the rise in sea level.
- A 20% increase in gas emissions on the planet between 2015 and 2019.
- 8.3 billion tons of plastic in the oceans since the 1950s.
- Increases in global temperatures never seen before.
- Loss of biodiversity and changes in ecosystems.
- Lack of natural resources, and a long list of others.
We have been told both actively and passively that we must act urgently to alleviate these effects and not reach a point of no return. We are all scared and it is clear to us that we must act, but how many of us really do something? How many of us have changed our daily habits to do our bit and help the environment?
VIRTUAL REALITY AS A GENERATOR OF EMPATHY
Virtual Reality can help raise awareness and get people to change their habits. How? Virtual Reality, which is a simulation of spaces where we can interact and explore as if we were really there, in other words, the creation of artificial environments, can help this struggle in a very simple way: creating environments so that users can experience first-hand the consequences of their actions on the environment.
In other words, Virtual Reality generates empathy by transporting people to another world and making them live the experience themselves, generating true awareness in their actions. Imagine a user who could virtually cut down trees in the Amazon rainforest and see with his own eyes the catastrophic consequences of this. Don’t you think he would reduce his paper consumption?
Researchers from Stanford University (California), have conducted a study to support this theory. Jeremy Bailenson, a professor at the same university, concludes that “virtual reality can give everyone, regardless of where they live, the kind of experience needed to generate the urgency required to prevent an environmental disaster.
In this study, a virtual reality experience was created where the user was part of a coral reef and could see first-hand the harmful effects of pollution on the reef, which was losing its bright colors due to ocean acidification.
ORGANIZATIONS BENEFITING FROM VIRTUAL REALITY
In addition to studies supporting the theory that virtual reality generates empathy, there are also several companies or organizations that are making use of Virtual Reality to get the interest of users.
This is the case of Greenpeace, which has used virtual reality in fundraising events to encourage donations. To this end, it launched the Greenpeace RV Explorer application, which allows users to immerse themselves in virtual scenarios in remote places, such as the Amazon rainforest or the Arctic.
The organization worked to protect these two places, which are being heavily impacted by climate change, but can rarely be visited. This virtual reality experience brought the followers closer and forged a real connection between the money they donated, and the work done by the organization to protect the environment.
And there are many other examples, such as the Quer Town Hall (Spain). They held, for the World Environment Day 2019, a series of educational days to raise awareness among their population about the importance of recycling, making use of virtual reality. In this act of awareness, the children of Quer were able to clean a beach virtually and thus reinforce good behavior with recycling, such as collecting garbage that others leave for recycling later or not throwing any waste.
These are just two examples of how Virtual Reality help the environment, but there are so many other things you could do to help.
A VIRTUAL AND ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FUTURE
If anything, we need to change our individual behaviour so that every person on the planet does his or her bit in the fight against climate change. We need to build a stable and sustainable future.
A future that goes hand in hand with virtual reality. Don’t forget to visit our Blog to read similar posts.