Vermontivate 2013 is out of the gate; sustainability game inspires behavior change, fun

By Kathryn Blume
Vermontivate, an award-winning sustainability game, launched its second round of community competition beginning Monday, May 13. Set to run until June 21, this frolicsome online/real-world hybrid game infuses joy and creativity into the serious and important work of tackling the global climate crisis.
Players will spend six weeks racking up points for everything from changing light bulbs and starting compost piles, to writing energy poetry, decorating bicycles, and reaching out to people around the world affected by climate change.
From curious beginners to folks looking to save a little money to overeducated green living mavens, people at all levels of awareness and engagement are invited to play!  Even people who don’t live in Vermont can sign up and register their town or school.
The winning community will receive the Grand Prize Award, a town-wide ice cream party from Ben and Jerry’s!
“Climate change is the most significant issue we face as a species,” says Vermontivate co-founder, artist, and activist Kathryn Blume.  “And,” Blume continues, “given that we just hit a record 400 parts per million carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it seems time to kick the Culture of Solutions into high gear with a potent combination of innovation, competition, and a little old-fashioned bribery.”
The game begins with players signing up at Vermontivate.com and following a series of weekly challenges.  “We’ve constructed them,” says co-founder Nick Lange, “to appeal to a wide range of people and interests.”  Lange, an employee at Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, adds, “I’ve been working in conservation and efficiency for a decade, and Vermontivate! is not only the most fun I’ve ever had, but it also feels like it has the greatest potential for powerful, widespread impact.”
Vermontivate! ran last year as a small trial with 13 towns and 200 players, and won the Best Energy Project Award from the Vermont Energy and Climate Action Network. “The players,” says Blume, “told us that Vermontivate! was engaging, entertaining, and educational, and, most importantly, it was an antidote to despair,” she says. “This year, thanks to pre-registration, we’ve already got over 100 players from 24 towns, including Lebanon and Meredith, New Hampshire, Salt Lake City, and Honolulu. Who knows where we’ll end up next?”
Interested potential players can sign up at www.vermontivate.com or email info@vermontivate.com.

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