Most of this dev diary will describe what is happening with Earthers development, but I wanted to start with a basic pitch for what Earthers is and why I believe it needs to exist.
Earthers is a multiplayer simulation game whose underlying dynamics are provided by state-of-the-art climate and economic systems models - literally, some of the same codes used to generate IPCC forecasts. In each game iteration, a group of players (about 20) come together to navigate the years from present day to 2100.
Earthers is motivated by the observation that climate change is primarily a collective action problem, not a tech problem. Yes, the ultimate solutions will (I believe) be largely tech-driven, but the real challenges are understanding what will work (and what won't), deciding to do it, and implementing those actions in the context of our planet's diverse societies and political regimes. Yet existing "climate communication" efforts have failed in substance; if this were a legacy business, entrepreneurs would be licking their chops. As a result, climate change's cultural mindshare today is a bit like the Olympics - dramatically but infrequently relevant, remote from everyday life, filled with obscure and inaccessible content - when it needs to be like Twitch: a daily habit, under my complete control, populated by my friends and those I admire. There is so much else that should be tried here, and Earthers leverages many of the deep tech that Google is already using to transform so many other areas of our lives.
With all this in mind, Earthers has two equal requirements:
Earthers is all about scale: it will be a success if and only if it achieves both broad and deep impact on the place of climate change in global culture - not just awareness of the dangers and likely outcomes, but visceral, embodied understanding of possible solutions and how to make them real.
Some key aspects of the game, as currently envisioned:
This is a project I feel driven to pursue, literally, for my daughters' sake. We are running out of time for effective action, and collective understanding and consensus are the roadblocks.