How do scientist study the connection between nature and society?

by Hanneke van  't Veen


GAMES

Do we need any more methods? Are researchers not able to extract all information they need, using models, remote sensing and qualitative research? No. One question remains and that is the evolution of human behavior over time. This is one of the most difficult questions to answer. It can be approached qualitatively or quantitatively, through historical analyses, experiments or modelling. However, history does not necessarily reproduce itself, experiments are expensive and sometimes impossible and models are based upon what researchers think might happen and often do not involve the perspective of the people in question. A way to overcome this challenge is to create a game of the resource area that people can play with. Like models, games are simplifications of reality that can be played over and over again.

 

Games can be very simple, like the “Game of life” of John Conway or more extensive, such as “TerriStories”, which is developed to support collective territorial management or “WaasOnline”, a game about sustainable river management. Figure 1 shows an example of a game of the charcoal production system that is under development at the University of Zurich under the URPP Biodiversity and Global Change program.

Figure 1.  An example of a game of the wood charcoal system, under development at the University of Zurich under the URPP Biodiversity and Global Change program at the moment.