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Speeding Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active

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The Think Game: Step 1 to Effective Climate Action

The THink game see through games effective climate action carbon drawdown the think game learn game act game video games

The 1st of a suite of 3 games developed by See Through News to promote effective climate action, and measurably reduce carbon

[See this article for an overview of all three games]

The Think Game, currently under development:

  • is fun and engaging to play for everyone
  • leaves you thinking a bit harder about what you mean by ‘climate activism’ than you had a minute earlier
  • gathers data to better direct our efforts to Speed Up Carbon Drawdown by Helping the Inactive Become Active

Real-World Think Game Videos

This YouTube Playlist on our See Through News YouTube channel has dozens of videos of the real-world version. You can also see them on our TikTok channel.

As you scroll down the videos, you’ll see the concept, execution and production values evolve. Some selected highlights:

  1. the first prototype, with original introductory script, conducted with the first ever Green peer to sit in the UK’s House of Lords, filmed a couple of weeks before COP26 in Glasgow.
  2. the first Zoom version, conducted remotely with author of the The Joyful Environmentalist, Isabel Losada, shortly before we left for Glasgow.
  3. the introduction of headphones, music, and down-the-lens eyeline, filmed on a stopover en route to Glasgow, with the legendary Chris from Appleby, and his dog Betty
  4. student See Through News volunteers interviewing members of the public at COP26, including Roddy, manager of the Green Zone exhibition space
  5. student volunteers interviewing each other
  6. the first-ever non-English language version, conducted in Chinese by a Chinese volunteer and a German player.
  7. The Think Game’s creator, being given a taste of his own medicine.
  8. Meryl from Finchley, via New York, delivering her unflinching verdicts, after we changed the scale to 0-10, and modified the qualitative series of questions to make them more AI sentiment analysis-friendly, and re-branded this project as The Think Game.

There are dozens more videos, each engaging, compelling, and unique. And each contributing another addition to The Think Game dataset.

Because The Think Game has other purposes, beyond being a good laugh, making individuals think a bit harder about what effective climate activism is than they had 60 seconds before.

The Think Game is also:

  • a brand survey/opinion poll/green credential rating concealed in a fun challenge
  • a way to benchmark public perception of what constitutes good and bad ‘climate activism’
  • a gateway to prompt players to play The Learn Game

Here’s a link to our draft format bible and scripts for the Real World version of The Think Game.

The Re-brand

This game was originally called the See Through News Climate Activism 60″ Challenge, but we re-branded it as The Think Game after coming up with The Learn Game, which does have Right and Wrong answers, and The Act Game – the final link of the chain, and the one which leads to measurable carbon reduction.

We explain the powerful and logical links between the three games in more detail elsewhere, but its first outing was a huge success.

We played The Think Game in Finchley, north London as part of our 1 Sunday Morning, 4 Films project.

Here’s a highlight reel from our YouTube Channel. If you check The Think Game Playlist, you’ll find the uncut versions, with all the answers to all the questions.

The rebranding really seemed to work, as:

  • nearly everyone reflected in some way on the way playing them game ‘made them think’ in a new way
  • nearly everyone concluded, in some way, that they wanted to ‘know the right answers’ (i.e., play The Learn Game).

This is despite (or possibly because of) the fact that our script stresses that The Think Game has no right or wrong answers, the scale they used was entirely of their own making, and that we sought their opinions only.

So, essentially, they were all begging to play The Learn Game, which is still under development, but won’t be far behind.

Most people, after all, have to think before they can learn. And as the final player in the highlight video implies when expressing her reticence to join Extinction Rebellion, we generally need to learn before we’re ready to act.

The Online Version

An online video game is currently under development by an international team of volunteers.

It aims to replicate the gameshow tension and interactive fun of the real-world version, with the scale advantages related to mass data capture offered by a virtual version. 

The game is designed to be a fun way to make us think about our understanding of ‘climate activism’, but the data generated has also proved to be of significant commercial interest to consumer brands.

What Will See Through News Do With The Data?

This chart shows the basic data flow.

The Think Game Question Set Data Flow

The 5 stages are summarised above.

1 Data Capture

There are three ways to capture the data.

The Real World version is the prototype you can see on our YouTube channel. It’s very effective at generating engagement, but an inefficient way to acquiring data. It requires one or two people, a sophisticated audio-visual set-up, and around 10 minutes to capture one data set.

The Live Version, trialled using the interface, is also highly engaging, but much more efficient at capturing data. In 10 minutes, a facilitator/game-show host can capture as many data sets as there are people in the audience with mobile phones who join the session via a QR code.

The Online Version, currently under development, is highly effective at data capture, as it can operate without human intervention at the scale of The Internet. If we can successfully replicate the fun, excitement and drama of the Real World and Live versions in the Online one, this could rapidly multiply the size of the dataset by orders or magnitude.

2 Data Types

The Think Game’s format generates 3 types of data:

  • basic demographic data
  • quantitative data
  • qualitative data

These all provide different opportunities to not only stimulate people to think a bit harder about what constitutes effective climate activism than they had a 60 seconds previously, but to benchmark what different cohorts of players consider to be ‘effective climate activism’.

3 Data Analysis

The demographic and quantitative data can be interrogated by standard statistical analysis. While the dataset itself it relatively simple, the scale and interconnectedness will offer rich granularity and opportunities for identifying correlations that might not be intuitive or obvious.

The qualitative data entries can be subjected to more sophisticated and revealing sentiment analysis. This will provide a useful benchmark to measure progress in general understanding of effective climate action (e.g., how many of the responses focus on individual behaviour rather than government regulation).

4 Data for Carbon Drawdown

See Through News will publish and promote Best and Worst rankings for sectors such as countries, celebrities, organisations, consumer-facing companies and brands.

While these will of course only represent public perception of their green credentials, rather than any objective, evidence-based, assessment, we hope these rankings, if well promoted, will over time induce those at the bottom to rise to the top by reducing the amount of carbon they produce, rather than improving their greenwashing.

5 Data Monetisation?

True to the See Through News principle of radical transparency, all data will be publicly available, on a Creative Commons basis.

With sufficient scale, and quality of data analysis, it may be possible to monetise our data visualisation and analysis services for individual, countries, institutions, charities, corporations and brands.

While all our video games will be developed on a voluntary, zero-budget basis, any resulting revenue would be used on a non-profit basis to promote the See Through News Goal. See our Money FAQ for details.

How Does The Think Game Work?

The Think Game Entity Relationship Model

Here’s a graphic showing the design concept of The Think Game. It forms the basis of a GitHub Repo currently being set up by an international team of See Through News volunteers.

When we’ve completed the Minimal Viable Project (MVP) prototype, we’ll welcome volunteers to crowdsource the development of the game to scale as rapidly as possible for zero budget.

To ask about joining the development team volunteers, email:

If you see the commercial potential for adding your brand to the list of questions, and being provided with the relevant data, email: