Saving the planet's all very well, but it's not always the most fun thing in the world. Games, however, are fun. Why not combine the two?

Luckily, AMEE can support both! My favourite game at the moment is Minecraft, which (amongst other things) involves using resources to make things, and quite often burning them to do so. Seems like it might be a good fit...

So, at the Stockholm Green Hackathon last weekend, I hacked up a mod for Minecraft that adds carbon emissions, but instead of just putting in some random numbers for it, I used AMEEconnect to get real scientific data from the IPCC in there.

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When you burn some wood in a furnace, the mod calls out to AMEEconnect to do a calculation, and adds the result to a tracker in-game. As the carbon ticks up, the environment gets more and more polluted as the skies go dark and the clouds come down. OK, not entirely accurate, but an effective visual indicator!

Of course, it's not just wood. Loads of things burn, and not just in furnaces. The hack supports combustion of almost anything in minecraft; wood, planks, coal, tree saplings, and so on. I even put in some calculations for setting fire to cows (as any Minecraft player knows, an effective way to quickly get cooked beef). Even the hostile mobs like creepers have their emissions mapped (mostly to generic biomass calculations). I also added redstone (like electricity) emissions using AMEE's realtime UK national grid data.

There are also ways to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Plant a tree, and AMEEconnect will work out how much carbon was taken up by the tree growing and reduce the tracker by that amount. After a long day of mining and smelting, you'll have to go plant a few trees to keep the weather nice.

Check out the videos for the full story. Warning: May contain burning cows!

James Smith is Platform Evangelist for AMEE, a company dedicated to making environmental data more accessible. He's normally to be found writing code that attempts to make the world a better place. He is tweeting at: @Floppy.

Republished with permission.