What is it about?

This article is for teachers who want to do an in-class activity with their students about the difficulties of solving climate change problems. This article explains how to run the in-class activity and gives ideas for discussion. The activity is fun—in groups, the students pretend they are on an island and they have to make decisions each round about whether to build roads for trading, send boats out for fishing, and spend points on defense from attacking pirates—and takes about an hour to run the simulation. After the activity is over, the discussion helps to connect the game to the concepts and theory of collective action and how it relates to climate change.

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Why is it important?

This in-class activity brings the concepts and theory of collective action to life for the students. By personally experiencing the difficulties of working together to manage their island resources, students better understand why it is so difficult to find solutions to global climate change.


I greatly enjoyed playing this game with my Ways of Knowing students over the past three years, and I thank them for their interest, enthusiasm, and good humor!

Dr. Jocelyn Sage Mitchell
Northwestern University in Qatar

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Return to the Isle of Ted: Simulating the Collective Action Problem of Climate Change, PS Political Science & Politics, March 2020, Cambridge University Press, DOI: 10.1017/s1049096519002221.
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