EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2021. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Greenworks:  Science, Role-Playing, and Community Transformation

Lev Horodyskyj1,2,3 and Tara Lennon4
Lev Horodyskyj and Tara Lennon
  • 1Science Voices, Tempe, United States of America (
  • 2Blue Marble Space Institute of Science, Seattle, United States of America
  • 3University of the Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie, United States of America
  • 4Arizona State University, Tempe, United States of America

Environmental crises will overwhelmingly impact Millennials and Generation Z.  Most are aware of this reality and enthusiastic about finding and promoting community and policy solutions.  However, many youths also lack the communication and collaboration skills necessary to implement change in their communities.  The Greenworks program is a collaboration between Science Voices (a nonprofit focused on improving science education) and a political science course at Arizona State University (ASU).  Teachers and students from the University of the Virgin Islands (US), Khairun University (Indonesia), and University of Campinas (Brazil) are currently involved in on-going pilot projects as well.  The program provides space for students to practice deliberation and policy-making in an online role-playing game and then implement their own proposal to address an environmental problem in their community.

In the Greenworks program, students complete a short curriculum on geoscience and governance, engage in a role-playing diplomacy game to resolve environmental issues in a fictitious world, and then implement a community project to effect change in the real world.  ASU students participate as part of an online political science course formally offered by ASU.  Students and faculty mentors at other universities are recruited by Science Voices and complete custom curricula and community projects.  As part of the role-playing game that all students participate in, students are assigned to fictitious nations and address analogous real-world environmental and political challenges through diplomacy between nations with various competing objectives.  Challenges vary from semester to semester and include trade relations, climate change, plastic pollution, pandemics, and deforestation.  Through communication channels like Slack and Discord, students share their personal experiences on these topics and collaborate on related policy options.  Students enrolled through Science Voices also develop proposals to address local problems of importance and are provided with crowdfunded grants and materials to implement their proposal.

We will describe the program in more detail, discuss the experiences of our students, and the results of the first community projects.  We will additionally discuss developing this program as a collaborative space for students from the Global North and South to partner and co-mentor each other in developing local solutions to global challenges.

How to cite: Horodyskyj, L. and Lennon, T.: Greenworks:  Science, Role-Playing, and Community Transformation, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-13652,, 2021.

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