UNEP backs gamers to help green the planet in 2023 event

Published 12:05 on March 23, 2023  /  Last updated at 12:05 on March 23, 2023  / Roy Manuell /  Biodiversity

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has partnered with a technology platform that aims to rally the global gaming industry to join forces to protect nature in a 2023 event focusing on wildlife.

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has partnered with a technology platform that aims to rally the global gaming industry to join forces to protect nature in a 2023 event focusing on wildlife.

Green tech firm Milkywire will join forces with the UNEP as part of its Playing for the Planet Alliance to help host an annual event to raise awareness among gamers of how to act to protect the environment.

The Green Game Jam event works with gaming studios each year to come together and make voluntary commitments for climate and nature and hosted 40 studios during last year’s programme.

The gaming community counts some 3.1 billion active video gamers and the Alliance has been working with the industry to raise awareness of and deliver UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The Jam has been held since 2010 and aims to create a space for game studios to encourage gamers help meet these SDGs.


The theme for this year’s event is ‘wildlife’, focusing on the Amazon, the Himalayas, and the Western Indian Ocean areas.

Milkywire, founded in 2018, has selected eight locally-based environmental impact initiatives working to protect these ecosystems, people, and the species within them.

The firm uses digital tools and a feedback model to fund initiatives such as nature restoration and species preservation, as well as carbon removal research.

Some of the organisations supported this year by the Jam will be the Fundacion Gaia Amazonas, which works with Indigenous communities from the Southeast Colombian Amazon, and the Marine Megafauna Foundation, which researches and develops ocean conservation solutions.

“We believe technology can play a pivotal role in enabling and empowering the response to the climate crisis, and through this collaboration, we hope to inspire gamers, both young and old, to care about and take action for our planet,” commented Nina Siemiatkowski, CEO and founder of Milkywire.

The funds raised as part of this year’s Green Game Jam will allow the involved organisations to educate community members to become local defenders and buy equipment for those on the ground.

“This year we’re able to give studios and players a seamless and impactful digital experience, while emphasising the spirit of collaboration that is both a cornerstone of the Jam and Milkywire’s partner organisations working on the ground,” said Deborah Mensah-Bonsu, Green Game Jam co-creator.


To give a flavour of what to expect at the event, the 2022 programme was held under the theme of ‘Food, Forests and the Future’ and the Green Game Jam saw gaming studios incorporating features into gameplay to engage players on environmental subjects.

For example, Rovio Entertainment’s Angry Birds Friends created a tournament which saw levels featuring natural environments, a group of misbehaving animals trying to destroy the forest, and messages spreading the importance of reforestation.

Meanwhile, Namco’s Pac-man introduced an in-game event called Pac-man saves the forest.

This year’s Green Game Jam will again see gaming studios injecting their games with similar creative activations to engage their players, according to a press release.

The Playing for the Planet Alliance was launched in 2019 during the Climate Summit at UN headquarters in New York.

Since then, members including Sony, Microsoft, Ubisoft, Supercell, and over 40 others have made commitments ranging from reducing their emissions to integrating green activations in games.

By Roy Manuell – roy@carbon-pulse.com

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