U.K. Using “Minecraft” to Teach Flood Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies, also U.K.’s Real Life Flood and Mitigation Plans. Peru’s “Fog Catchers”, and Japan and New Zealand Link Arms on Renewables.
U.K. Using “Minecraft” to Teach Flood Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies, Also U.K.’s Real Life Flood and Mitigation Plans, Peru’s “Fog Catchers”, Japan and New Zealand Link Arms on Renewables
JAPAN AND NEW ZEALAND LINK ARMS ON RENEWABLES
Japan and New Zealand will step up cooperation in geothermal and hydrogen energy, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during A RECENT four-day stay in Japan.
Speaking at an event in Tokyo, Ardern said New Zealand is “absolutely committed to closer renewable energy cooperation with Japan, particularly in hydrogen and geothermal energy,” giving examples of Japanese companies active in those areas in New Zealand.
The event was hosted by the New Zealand government to promote the two nations’ cooperation in renewable energy. Minister for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor, along with business leaders from New Zealand and Japan involved in the sector, were in attendance.
On geothermal energy, Ardern stressed that cross-border business cooperation is “necessary, because each of us has big plans,” referring to New Zealand’s goal of reaching 100% renewable energy generation by 2030, and Japan’s target of tripling its geothermal power generation by that year.
During the event, New Zealand geological surveying company GNS Science announced that it will be opening an office in Tokyo, together with geothermal power company Geo40, to seek geothermal business opportunities. Ian Simpson, chief executive of GNS Science, pointed out that the two nations shared geological similarities favorable to geothermal energy, as well as goals to create zero-carbon economies. “We have the perfect opportunity to move forward together and keep a common focus on renewable energy generation,” Simpson said.
UK’S PRESTON AND SOUTH RIBBLE FLOOD ADAPTATION AND MITIGATION PLAN
As often as possible, we report on projects designed to help communities adapt to climate change, and ALSO those projects designed to lessen the worst effects of it on local communities.
One major project in the UK we’d like to hip you to is one devoted to flood risk management in the Britain’s Preston and South Ribble region. As of last year, the UK’s Environment Agency dedicated almost $55 million pounds—about $70 million dollars to reduce flood risk to 4,700 homes and businesses from Preston Riversway up towards the M6 and Higher Walton in that area. If you’re from around those parts, you’re intimately familiar. For the rest of us, get out a map!
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is contributing £6.525M ($8M) towards the scheme and funding has been secured from multiple sources including the Department for Education. The project will deliver improved access to the River Ribble including for emergency access on Strand Road through the remediation of the old slipway to the river.
It will also create additional environmental improvements including habitat creation in the Ribble Sidings area (during 2023); revetment work to stabilize the river banks will also create additional bank habitat and wider footpaths in some of the more narrow areas around the entrance to Miller Park and along Riverside Road.
Construction of the scheme will be completed by summer 2023 and in line with the European Development Fund’s timetable.
Why does this matter to us? It’s a template for the here and now. Flood mitigation is one way to deal with climate change. Given that most of the worlds urban centers are clustered near or around waterways and bodies of water, learnings from projects like this one can be applied globally.
U.K. USING “MINECRAFT” TO TEACH FLOOD MITIGATION AND ADAPTATION STRATEGIES
And not to be outdone, the metaverse is also getting involved in flood mitigation and adaptation in the UK. A pilot program, run by the U.K.’s Environment Agency, is using the video game, Minecraft, to teach students how to respond to certain climate challenges. The program at Archbishop Temple CE High School in Preston, U.K. runs three games which are themed: managing flood risk; climate change and flooding; and the local environment and wellbeing.
The program came about in part because the city of Preston and its neighbor, the borough of South Ribble, have about $70.4 million allocated for flood risk management. For the pilot program, the Environment Agency contracted out the company Block Builders to create “worlds” inside the Minecraft games. Its first world, RiverCraft–is a mini-game replicating the Preston and South Ribble local flood defenses.
RiverCraft has three main learning objectives:
- Managing flood risk
- An objective is for the students to understand that there are multiple ways to mitigate flooding, but it cannot be prevented entirely.
- Climate change and flooding
. An objective is to focus on the idea that climate change will exacerbate flooding in Preston and how this can devastate communities.
- Environment and wellbeing
. An objective is for students to learn about invasive species, their habitats and the promotion of local parks, sports facilities and wetland habitats for wellbeing.
If the project is successful then other similar projects could be rolled out in other parts of England. Why does this Minecraft pilot program matter to us? Justin Edwards, director of learning programs, Minecraft, “We know that people around the world love Minecraft, and so it is really rewarding for us to see Minecraft encouraging students to talk about and engage with environmental issues.”
PERU’S “FOG CATCHERS”
Abel Cruz of Lima, Peru, catches fog. Lima is one of the driest capital cities in the world. The melting glaciers in the Andes mountains is one of the city’s main water supplies. Due to climate change, that supply is dwindling. Lima already gets less than an inch of rain each year.
So Cruz founded Movimiento Peruanos Sin Agua (in English Movement of Peruvians without Water) to develop ways to help supply water to desert communities.
Even though he founded the NGO in 2010, he really found out that he could collect fog when he was a kid. He first noticed that the fog would leave rain droplets on the banana leaves. At that time, he and his father built a canal to catch the droplets.
While the technique goes back centuries, Cruz has developed a system that doesn’t require plants to harvest moisture from fog.The low-tech system he created works by stringing large sheets of mesh up on hillsides. The thick fog and mist blanketing the area, from April to September, means tiny droplets condense on the netting. Pipes then carry the water that drips down from the netting into holding containers.
More than 2,000 of these fog catching nets have been installed in eight rural communities across Peru as well as in Bolivia, Colombia and Mexico. The impact has been dramatic.
Cruz says, “In places where there was a lot of droughts, nowadays there is agriculture.”
Why does fog collection matter to us? Fog collection is not only low to no impact on the land but has become an effective means to harvest water in places where water was already or is rapidly becoming scarce from Morocco to Lima to California.