It is something New York politicians have come to understand: If you want to successfully leave fossil fuels behind, you need to play your cards right.
Since January, high school students at the Queens School of Inquiry have been playing "Energetic," a new board game that teaches students the complexities of decarbonizing New York’s electrical grid by switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
What You Need To Know
- "Energetic" is a board game teaching kids how to decarbonize New York City's electrical grids
- Students learn about the climate crisis and sustainability while playing the game
- "High school students will have a better sense of what the local solutions are, and hopefully, they'll participate in the real ones," teacher Adam Zaid said
- So far, 13 schools in the city are using the board game in the classroom
"So we're trying to have a sustainable energy source in New York by 2035, which is 16 gigawatts. And so far we have three," ninth-grader Yassin Essa said.
At a time when news of the climate emergency is demoralizing many kids and adults, "Energetic" wants to provide knowledge and tools to students so they feel they have a role to play in solving this crisis.
"Playing this type of electricity game, it kind of opens up your mind to a different type of perspective," 10th-grader Lara Joy Jusi said.
Adam Zaid is a math teacher and a member of the Climate Education Leadership Team, a group of over 30 teachers and school administrators that advocate for including climate instruction in the state curriculum.
Zaid thinks "Energetic" is a great tool for the classroom.
"High school students will have a better sense of what the local solutions are, and hopefully, they'll participate in the real ones," Zaid said.
The creators of the game wanted to display all the variables in this complicated equation, which include activism, technical difficulties, elections and the influence of public opinion.
"It was really hard to make people understand the intricacies, the challenges and the details of this energy transition, so this game kind of came out of that frustration," Isil Akgul, an architect and lead designer at City Atlas, the organization behind "Energetic," said.
New York state has the goal of an electricity grid with zero carbon emissions by 2040, so the talent to be recruited for that mission might come from schools like the Queens School of Inquiry.
"I've always wanted to be an engineer. But I think because of this, like it's going to be something based around the climate and like, creating sustainable energy that would help our world," 10th-grader Cai Racpan said.
So far, 13 schools in the city are using the game in the classroom. The creators are now in the process of making more copies of the board game. They also want to tailor it to other cities around the country.