Regardless of party, it’s not easy to be The President. Every move you make is questioned and analyzed. People demand immediate solutions to problems that have been decades or even centuries in the making. No matter how hard you search for a magic wand, all that appears are committees, debates, filibusters, and petitions.
Anti-poverty organization ActionAid USA recently launched an online game that allows players to be ‘President for a Day‘. The challenge? Reducing global hunger. During each stage of the game, you’re faced with contrasting decisions about climate change, finance, biofuel mandates, levels of foreign aid, and agricultural development models. How you act makes headlines, and potentially changes lives, around the world.
The game, which reminds me of ‘choose your adventure’ books I read in elementary school, uses colorful graphics and interactive images to represent various policy choices. Each decision will either help or hurt efforts to reduce global hunger. Players who aren’t sure about which option to choose can check out educational hints like: “In a time of tight fiscal constraints, foreign aid for global hunger programs often comes up on the chopping block. At the same time, the investments that we make in global hunger programs now will impact the amount of money that we will likely spend on aid in the future.”
At the end of the challenge, a newspaper is generated sporting headlines that are likely to result from the choices made. Albeit oversimplified, the game is a fun way to teach people that issues of energy, climate change, agriculture and finance are all intertwined. Only with emphasis on sustainability in all sectors can we hope to make progress in any.