THINKERBELL NORTH, Sydney / NRMA / 2021
During the Summer of 2019/20, Australia faced some of the worst bushfires in history. Known as the “Black Summer bushfires”, they took lives, destroyed homes and natural habitats, and killed millions of Australian animals. However, most importantly it reminded us all of the very real impact of climate change, which continues to increase the severity and frequency of natural disasters.
With NRMA Insurance’s brand proposition centred around ‘Help’, this leading insurer wanted to take a proactive approach to combat future bushfires that are caused by climate change. And whilst the older generation has experienced bushfires before, their attitudes towards being proactively prepared has not changed. This can be illustrated by looking at the Australian school curriculum. Australia has not designed, implemented nor funded a coherent educational approach to our climate emergency. That's where NRMA Insurance wanted to step in and 'Help' educate the next generation to be more prepared.
We created the world’s first bushfire simulation in Minecraft, using NRMA Insurance’s Natural Perils Data we informed climate trends experienced in the game. With 29 million blocks we built and modelled a coastal town based in Australia prone to these events, researching the fauna and flora seen in these coastal areas to bring high level contextual engagement to the experience.
Kids had to overcome challenges through a series of drills inspired by real life disaster safety actions like: Adding sprinklers to roof tops to fight ember attacks, clearing vegetation from boundaries too close to homes, using the correct building materials for the specific fire zoning, helping wildlife without endangering yourself, creating an evacuation plan, reading fire danger reports, planting trees to recover post disaster, and much more.
Whilst adults are the main contributors to climate change, the next generation of young Australians are the ones that have the most to lose. Climate change is not currently included as a compulsory learning outcome in the Australian education syllabus. This means that there are limited teaching resources available to teachers on this topic resulting in 80% of Australian kids believing there is not enough education about this in schools.
NRMA Insurance’s natural perils data suggests that the frequency and severity of natural disasters is only increasing and there are things that Australians can be doing to better protect themselves and reduce the impacts to wildlife, homes and livelihoods. By educating and equipping Australian children with these skills it will empower them providing them with a sense of control which will assist in easing the increasing levels of eco-anxiety they are experiencing.
To create “Climate Warriors”, we partnered with Blockworks, an internationally acclaimed Microsoft approved design studio who use Minecraft to create learning environments. They built 28,820,598 Minecraft blocks to create the world including real Australian wildlife, vegetation and landscape.
The challenges faced in the game are inspired by real life scenarios that occurred during the Black-Summer fires. Gamers are asked to take part in a series of drills including installing rooftop sprinklers onto a home to fight ember attacks, helicopter rescues in the NRMA-Insurance chopper, testing building materials to withstand fire, helping a community during a natural disaster and saving wildlife from fire threat zones.
Climate Warriors has filled a gap in climate change education and is now offered in a variety of schools across Australia. The game is accompanied by downloadable teacher resources which we co-created with Microsoft's Edu-tech team to ensure they are in-line with curriculum guidelines.
Creating an Australian-first climate change educational platform was met with open arms. The platform has already accumulated more than 500k downloads in the first week alone. This equates to 26% of primary school students across Australia. Furthermore, Australia’s largest news broadcaster, the ABC, and other broadcasters reported on Climate Warriors, reaching more than one third of Australian households and counting. The game quickly gained fame amongst gamers, too. During the launch week, 196,637 people viewed local gamers playing whilst educating themselves to become more bushfire prepared.
But most important of all, our Climate Warriors are here to stay. They have been approved as part of the Australian curriculum, thus arming students with vital knowledge to better protect themselves and their families from the inevitable. We made our Climate Warriors globally available in hope that other countries will teach their children at school.