A Story of Transformational Change for Sustainable Development is an interactive Virtual Reality training on ecological transition and sustainable development designed to train political and technical United Nations member countries leaders. Specifically, this training has been co-created by Immersium Studio and United Nations System Staff College.
The experience consists of a visit to a city that has undergone an ecological transition in recent years. It is a city traditionally dependent on extractive coal mining activity, with all the social, political and economic implications that this entails. Public institutions have made great efforts to reformulate the city’s economic model and transform it into a city with a green, circular economy that respects sustainalibity three dimensions (economic, environmental and social).
The experience lasts 90 minutes and is available in Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, English and French. During the training, the user empathizes with different actors involved testimony; the most interesting thing is to interact and explore the agreement possibilities between agents with very different interests.
You will meet six people involved with very conflicting interests:
- Patrick will greet the user at the ONU facilities in Bonn, Germany, at the beginning of the experience. Patrick will explain that the ecological transition is not only a technical issue, but also a social and political one, at a time when different antagonistic interests have to be coordinated to reach agreements and mutual solutions. Next, it will give way to different people involved testimonies. At the experience end, it will meet again the user to synthesize the contents and highlight the most relevant moments.
- Erika, the city mayor, explains how all the almost antagonistic interests have come together to find a political solution that is beneficial for the citizens but also for the environment and for economy long term. Mining activities have been replaced by wind energy exploitation and old mining areas reforestation has begun. In 2030 the mine must close completely.
- Anna represents the mining comunity that is dependent on coal mining for employment. He is very reluctant to change, he wants to keep his job and he is afraid of not knowing how to adapt to new jobs that new economic activities entail. He comes from a family with more than three generations dedicated to the mine.
- Asya is currently an entrepreneur, she has a small boat business that sails through an old mine, now converted into a lake. She is ex-worker at the mine, a job she did not like at all. It benefited from the new economic activities and subsidies promoted by the institutions. In addition, he is a refugee who has received public support.
- Bernd is the minig company representative. It defends that a mine total closure is unnecessary (environmentally) as well as catastrophic (economically, socially, labor-wise). He vindicates the efforts that the company has made to renew itself and bet on wind energy and reforestation.
- Mathias represents organized civil society. He is an activist who is totally against the mine remaining open and who sees the government’s measures insufficient. It will provide data on the environmental impact and on the reforestation measures insufficiency.
The experience offers territory aerial drone views (over 400m high). We will be able to see the mine dimensions compared to urban nucleus dimensions, or the renaturalized land. In addition to having a wow-effect and enriching the experience, this drone view allows the user to get an idea of this change great dimensions, especially in territorial impact terms.
Another experience key moments is when the user visits one of the towns that were vacated as a mining activity result. Some residents of those towns and neighborhoods resisted for some years occupying their houses. Now, years later, only ruins remain: a good visual metaphor for how devastating mining is for some groups in the community.
Environment richness and interaction in the experience
As with all of our VR training, the experience is enriched with charts and figures. It also has evaluation tests with which the user can check his learning state. What is impressive about this experience is that, in addition to the views from the drone, the user will be able to explore up to 7 different spaces: from institutional offices to an open pit mine as large as 500 football fields, going through natural environments and reconstructed artificial lakes. You can see the spaces richness in the video at this post beginning.
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United Nations - A Story of Transformational Change for Sustainable Development