In 1864, George Perkins Marsh, an American diplomat and philologist, gave one of the first accounts of such destruction in his book Man and Nature. Over a century and a half later, there has been a call for environmental conservation. Stories abound about mankind’s irrevocable damage to land, sea, and sky seem to fall on deaf ears till now.

The non-believers of global warming act like doubting Thomases; until they had seen the wounds inflicted on the earth by mankind, they will not believe.

Fair enough; because stories of global warming are just that — stories. Unless a story captures the imagination of the reader, they will not believe it. The stories of climate change have failed to engage people enough to move them to think and transform their behavior until now.

In the 21st century, technology exists that was maybe a twinkle in the eyes of 19th and 20th-century thinkers. Today, immersive technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) can breathe life into the story of global warming and climate change.

As a result, VR captures the attention and imagination of a larger population of people than ever before. Now, people can experience the importance of environment conservation. Therefore, VR can reshape the perceptions and behaviors of global warming non-believers.

How Can Virtual Reality Transform the Minds and Behaviors of People Regarding Global Warming?

Virtual Reality communicates a powerful message about damaging modifications to earth. As a result, it can change people’s minds and behavior. It plunges people in places where global warming and climate change happens. Therefore, VR is more likely to transform peoples’ minds about global warming and climate change.

Most non-believers do not believe in climate change because they have not seen it first-hand. However, a VR headset immerses a person looking at the barren landscape where ice was in Greenland. Virtual Reality allows people to step out of their localized world absorb climate change happening in different places around the world.

Research at Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab discovered that VR impacts human behavior. They found that after people experience the process of cutting down a tree through a VR headset, they are more likely to conserve paper.

Here are some examples of VR experiences capable of changing minds and behavior regarding climate change and environmental conservation.

Tree VR

Tree VR turns you into a tree inside the rainforest. Your body becomes the trunk, and your arms transform into branches. You start as a seedling and grow into a full-grown tree. While developing, you experience firsthand the obstacles of a growing tree in the rainforest faces.

Tree VR aims to teach people about deforestation. Tree VR shows the beauty of nature and helps people see the overwhelming destruction of our forests. Research shows that every year around the world, about 15 million trees are cut down, whereas only 5 billion trees get replanted.

That means our world gains a net loss of 10 billion trees each year.  Trees are essential to man’s existence. They ingest our exhaled carbon dioxide and our emitted greenhouse gases.

This is Climate Change

A VR mini-series, This is Climate Change immerses you in four genres across the world. You come into direct contact for elements of climate change: famine, feast, melting ice, and fire. Each genre shows you the consequences of scarcity, deforestation, global warming, and wildfires. 

We Live in an Ocean of Air

This project aims to show the simple act of breathing connects man and plants; and in turn, create a complete ecosystem of life.

During the 20-minute virtual reality adventure, you experience the connection between us and the natural world. Breath and heart sensors track your breathing and help you to consider man’s impact on the organisms that share the planet with us. From experiencing this connection, the desire is that the viewer becomes more cognizant of the planet and its parts; therefore, willing to safeguard it.

Greenland Melting

This VR platform uses 360-degree video, CG models, 3D data visualizations, and holograms from NASA researchers to show you the impact of global warming on Greenland. It shows the present and future damage of global warming.

Immerse

Immerse, developed by Hydrous, uses VR to promote awareness and understanding the effects rising ocean temperatures have on coral reefs. Using a 360-degree camera, Immerse plunges you into the water with Dr Erika Woolsey, marine biologist and CEO of Hydrous.

As you and Dr Woolsey swim alongside underwater, you come in contact with sharks, sea turtles, and manta rays. This immersive technology connects you to the underwater world and helps you appreciate life below the sea.

Climate chance and environmental conservation are not new concepts. However, immersive technology shows the real effects of climate change, like no other medium. The desire is that VR will motivate people to take the impact of global warming seriously.