Green Awareness in Virtual Worlds

Ener has been going full speed building up Enclave Harbor in Reaction Grid and doing a wonderful job of it. Not only building, but also project management.

While humble to perhaps a fault, Ener has been in charge of a few big projects in Second Life for corporations and universities. Running real projects of large scope is something the big Ener wiener does well without getting a big ego (irl too, dealing with sizable budgets).

Sixteen sims is a lot to build up and with the help of Ener’s very good friends and incredibly talented people, it is coming along very well. Nickola is building out two sims to be used as skill building areas (perhaps a “learning path” will be located there, but her build is so impressive, I am not sure a learning path would offer additional value on her two sims).

DreamWalker has been working hard learning the subtle differences of scripting in Reaction Grid and brings big value not only to Enclave Harbor but to all of Reaction Grid (and OpenSim for that matter!). One really great example is a script for solar collectors that will sit in a solar farm.

These follow the virtual sun and will be used as part of our formal environmental awareness programme. “Green” work programmes are popular at the moment and rightly so. However, there is a need for what I think of as a mini environmental course. I taught college environmental science for seven years and always tied it to real world examples. It’s funny that in K-12 (I taught 7-12 for 3 years also) and in college, we make it a point to show real world examples.

So why don’t we often do that in the real world? Show the science behind it?

For example, many corporations do teach some “green” practices with specifics to their work place. And that is wonderful and at my work, we just learned how to set a screensaver for our desk phones.  It may seem like a small deal, but imagine the cumulative energy cost of hundreds of thousands of modern phones that have backlit LCD screens on 24/7!

Our Green Committee was founded by, and is headed up by, Matt Courtland of The Natural Strategy who also consults with us in Reaction Grid for best environmental practices for the hospitality industry. We will highlight these best practices in our Reaction Grid Ener-Gy Hotel & Conference Centre.

This is actionable information but we often stop there and do not include a little of the science behind it (think of that as a reversal of how we teach in school). If we just add a touch of the science behind these actions we stand a greater chance of creating knowledge that is more widely applicable in our lives.

Here is an example of what can be a rote task from our school days: the electromagnetic spectrum. That’s a mouthful!

Did you have to memorize the length of radiowaves and microwaves. Maybe even the wavelength of visible colours? If you did, you probably don’t remember them and why would you anyway?

But, if a professor had explained that microwaves are just a little bit longer than the width of those small holes in the microwave door (so that they can’t escape and cook your face as you stare in) or that car radio antennas are a numerical multiple of the length of radio waves or that sunsets are red because the wider slice of the atmosphere the sun’s rays have to travel to reach you filter out the shorter blue waves, well then you would likely have a frame of reference for the electromagnetic spectrum and see that it is a part of daily life! (Bees see deeper into the blue, or ultraviolet, spectrum than we do and what look like white clovers to us are very deep blues to them!)

That’s what we are striving for as a part of Reaction Grid’s Enclave Harbor. Just adding a touch of information to help that new knowledge add richness (dare I say – colour) to your life.

Here is a simple example referring back to DreamWalker’s solar panel script. We have a solar array “farm” where the panels follow the motion of the sun but are also in the shadow of a tall mountain as the sun sets in the west. Community services tend to be located on cheaper land and a solar farm could be located in an area that has challenges like this because of the reality of budgets.

A classic example of this that I taught in Geology class are the numerous schools, fire and police departments, and hospitals that are built near, or on, the San Andreas fault! The very facilities most needed during an earthquake! Land is cheaper on the fault line.

see more pics with a click here

this post also appears on the iliveisl blog