People, Planet, Profit and PLAY!

In the november issue of the Journal of Environmental Psychology a new article will show that playing games can actually help us to become more sustainable.  The article by Ro et al. (2017) shows that gamification can break habits and also induce enduring behavior change to become more energy efficient and more sustainable. 

There is a broad literature that shows that gamification can be an effective tool to change behavior and increases innovation. This article by Ro et al. (2017) contributes by showing what positive aspects we need more, than only a positive attitude towards sustainability. As an individual (company) I need to understand how and why I am significant and also what impact I have on the long term. Sustainability games have the ability to give feedback to the players while they are challenged to compete and have fun. The article shows that sustainability games do not only have a short term effect but also have a longer term effect through behavioral change.

So games can help us in our daily lives to become more sustainable. That is positive. However although playing games can show positive results not everybody has the same benefits and also not everybody likes games. Perhaps gamers and non-gamers can learn from the sustainability games, when it comes to making every person feel more siginificant, give and receive feedback respectfully and have fun. The results and the profit will be more sustainable.

Such an approach would fit in the so called conceptual age we live in. As we are no longer living in the industrial age where we follow instructions and are led by algorithms. In the conceptual age we are grounded in life and use different types of intelligence.  This means that there is probably not such a great divide between games and real life any more. In this context, sustainability is better described by People, Planet, Profit and PLAY!

Have fun 😊

Norbert Bol


Ro, M., Brauer, M., Kuntz, K., Shukla, R., & Bensch, I. (2017). Making Cool Choices for sustainability: Testing the effectiveness of a game-based approach to promoting pro-environmental behaviorsJournal of Environmental Psychology53, 20-30.

Photo credit: DG Jones via / CC BY-NC-SA

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