Thursday, October 15

Video Games Saving the Planet - Blog Action Day

Online Gamercize Tournament Equivalent to planting 140 trees!

Today, October 15, is "Blog Action Day", when we have a unique opportunity to show how our specific areas of expertise relate to the theme of Climate Change.

As the utility bills come in it is easy to see the cost of energy is rising painfully. Apart from the cash cost of using fuel there is also the environmental costs, which is the focus of the blogging event. Climate change impact is most easily measured by carbon calculations.

Most people can have a little leeway in the miles they drive or tweaking the temperature setting by a few degrees, but the most obvious cost and carbon saver is the voluntary activities of leisure and sport.

I looked into what Gamercize's online exergaming tournament cost in terms of carbon, and what it would have cost had we flown one of the teams to make the event a face-to-face competition.

Taking into account heat, light, transport, electricity for consoles and equipment we used less than 6 lbs of carbon per participant for the tournament; going online with Xbox 360 for the games and Gamercize for the exercise. Next I ran the numbers again, this time as if we flew one team between California and England. We came out at more than 2,800 lbs of carbon per participant.

Although I am not a great fan of carbon offsetting (i.e. just use less energy to start with!), I checked, and in order to offset a face-to-face tournament against the actual online Gamercize tournament would have required planting 140 trees. What is more the competitors had a great day as you can see from the TV reports from both sides of the Atlantic in this video below.

So the next time someone asks you what your are doing playing video games, you can say, quite literally, "I'm saving the planet". For other ways to save the planet, check out Blog Action Day at!

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