‘Gamification’ goes green

People who play “green” games should be kept away from sharp instruments.

Climatewire reports:

A service provider for the green consumer says it is revolutionizing the way people approach sustainability, and the key to that revolution, it says, is games.

Recyclebank, a Philadelphia-based startup-turned international service provider, has spent the past five years developing programs that incentivize green activities through an emerging science called “gamification,” or the use of game mechanics to modify behavior.

By engaging in online activities, users are prompted to adjust their lifestyles offline in ways that let them live a little lighter on the planet. The company calls this “gaming for good.”

“We firmly believe in the carrot versus the stick approach for motivating people to change their behavior, and gaming is a key part of this strategy,” wrote Jeff Harse, a spokesman for the company, in an email. “Recyclebank leverages gamification to engage members online while influencing them to carry out green behaviors offline.”

On Recyclebank’s website, users are invited to perform a range of actions, from taking a short quiz about polar bears to pledging to learn more about the chemicals in their cosmetics. Playing these “games” earns users points, which can then be redeemed for tangible prizes — usually a discount from one of Recyclebank’s corporate sponsors.

As they engage with the games online, users are pushed, subtly, to perform “green” actions offline — to conserve energy, recycle their plastic bottles or learn a little bit about the environment, according to company spokespeople…

6 thoughts on “‘Gamification’ goes green”

  1. And I am sure that the answers to those online quizzes are far from the existing reality. They might as well be playing “donkey kong”

  2. It isn’t you they think is stupid, Ben. It is the useful tools who they know are stupid, and impressionable children they are targeting.

  3. “Gamification” is a neologism of uncertain meaning. What is actually in play here (pun intended) is only HALF of B.F. Skinner’s “Operant Conditioning”, aka Skinnerian conditioning. in the early 1950’s (how soon they forget!) Skinner advocated the use of both the carrot and the stick – reward and punishment. This was an advance on Pavlov’s neutral stimulus training (the doggie dinner bell).
    The only novelty here (beside forgetting half of the technique) is the venue – online gaming.
    Ben is correct to point out that online behaviour does not always (or even often) translate to IRL behaviour.
    Now to Alt-Tab and slaughter a few score zombies…

  4. How stupid do they think we are? People routinely play games where they break people in half or machine gun rows upon rows of aliens/terroists/enemies, yet violent crime is at an all-time low. Sane people are able to separate fiction from reality.

    Why would recycling be any different? Game mechanics don’t substantially influence non-game behavior.

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