Green Madness is a new game designed to raise awareness about practical actions that help protect the Earth from the perils of climate change. This year is the inaugural edition and teams across America are participating in competitions that run from March 20 to April 22, 2011.
One of the major obstacles to the progress of environmental movement involves the lack of understanding of climate change and its causes. The Green Madness game makes it easy and fun for people to get involved and become more informed.
The rules of the game are simple: first, you register, then, you join a team (the 32 teams represent each of the college basketball winners since 1980). Then, you log in and select from a list of Green Actions. These are highly accessible activities like unplugging your computer when not in use, or putting a soda bottle filled with rocks in your toilet tank to reduce water consumption. Once you choose them, you are promising to complete the action, this is your green pledge.
These green actions benefit the planet by lowering your consumption of energy or reducing your use of natural resources. Each time you "check-in" an action as complete, you score points. These points will be tallied and every week, teams will be eliminated. The competition started with 16 teams and by Sunday April 17, there will be two contenders left. The winning team will be announced on Earth Day: Friday, April 22. New participants can still join one of the remaining teams in the tournament to help that team win its next Game. Click here to view the standings of the remaining teams.
In a recent Interview with Greed Madness creator and owner, Rob Steir, I asked him why he started Green Madness, he indicated that the goal of the game is to help educate people about actions they can take to combat climate change.
"I do not think most mainstream people have a clue about the really important daily activities or easy one-time actions that we individually can do. By playing the game, each person has to look at the 50 plus Green Actions we added and, through seeing what Green Actions to complete, and doing them, we both reinforce behaviour of the "early adopters" who effectively pat themselves on the back for doing many of the items shown, and, even better, we cause the uneducated green person to learn more about what he or she can do to become more green -- and we give this person an opportunity to get involved."
He went on to say that while some may be proficient in eco-living, many people need accessible means of participating in environmental stewardship. “For the early adopters of being green, these Green Actions are old hat but the mainstream public does not know what to do. People need tangible actions and easy to understand metrics.”
According to Steir, it comes down to encouraging personal engagement:
“I think the general person has many preconceptions about the green movement: First, everyone always thinks the other person is being green and recycling, purchasing LED light bulbs, etc. and therefore, since a majority of others are doing it, they don't have to. Second, people have a false sense of what it means to be green.”
Although Steir wants to inform people through the game he also wants to make it fun so that people will want to get involved.
”I think that playing a game and belonging to a team will be a huge catalyst for Green Madness-- and each person who plays will become, at a minimum, a little more green as a result and certainly more conscious of what he or she should do. From an individual micro view, each person who plays Green Madness becomes part in the green movement.”
According to Priscilla Martinez, one of the game's participants, "What I noticed most about the game of Green Madness was that as I explored more in the list of things to conserve, I realized so many of them I was already doing, and had been doing for years....so I didn't even need to pledge those particular tasks because they were already my habit - I was able to directly click completed. And what that really told me was that there were so many things that a person can do that are not that difficult. But everyone has to do their part in order to make a difference in a big way. Organizations like Green Madness help people to understand and get involved in cleaning up our environment."
Norman Wahab, another participant in the Green Madness competition said that "A better tomorrow starts today. I didn't realize how conscious I was at being green until I played the game Green Madness. I enjoyed making an effort.”
When speaking about the future of Green Madness Steir said, "What matters is getting people to participate and commit to helping the environment. We seek to build communities where we get advance buy-in from schools, as well as companies or organizations who want to play. Imagine the possibilities if we can create a K-12 program with the involvement of sports leagues, sustainable corporations, and non-profit associations who rally their own communities to compete for them."
For more information or to register to play Green Madness click here.
Richard Matthews is a consultant, eco-entrepreneur, green investor and author of numerous articles on sustainable positioning, enviro-politics and eco-economics. He is the owner of THE GREEN MARKET, a leading sustainable business blog and one of the Web’s most comprehensive resources on the business of the environment. Find Richard on Facebook and follow The Green Market’s twitter feed.