While not everyone can become a full-time climate activist, it is still possible to contribute to the battle against global warming. Researchers from Arizona State University have created an online computer game called Ventus that serves as a repository that maps the world’s CO2 emissions from power plants. Led by Kevin Gurney, the program allows those living near generation sites to enter the name and location of the facilities along with how much and what type of fuel is used, the amount of electricity generated, and overall CO2 released into the atmosphere.
Ventus researchers have already entered over 25,000 of the world’s power plants into the system. Using Google Earth maps, players are able to drop pins in the locations of the facilities. The game’s developers believe that for every power plant, there are at least a dozen or so people who live or work near the area and have access to vital data.The players who register and provide the most information will be named the winners of the game at the end of the year. With over 30,000 plants around the world burning fossil fuels, crowdsourcing has the potential to fill in the gaps in the scientists’ information quickly and globally. Growth of countries such as China and India who are building these plants can also be tracked in real-time.
“The Ventus project will empower citizen scientists with a simple tool that can truly make a difference in solving a significant climate change problem,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “With more accurate scientific information on every power plant in the world, international leaders in political and scientific fields can work together more effectively to address carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.”
The website will be translated into several languages in order to broaden its base of citizen scientists. Players will be able to view the data, adjust information, and make edits to previous entries.
“Through Ventus, people around the world can play an active role in helping to solve the climate change problem,” said Gurney. “We hope to gather a global team of people who want to make a difference — and do so, right now. The information we gather from Ventus can ultimately help determine what we as a society can do locally and globally about climate change.”