An Ecologist and a Game Designer Walk Into a Forest

An Ecologist and a Game Designer Walk Into a Forest

There are animated parties in the forest with a motley bunch of attendees, their colours and calls hidden among the trees. Pay a little more attention and you can see birds of various hues and sizes in a palpable buzz of activity. Mixed species bird flocks have been reported all around the world, and form the basis of a new card game called ​Flocks!” developed by an unlikely duo.

Mixed Species Bird Flocks

Flock image: Rangu Narayan. Modified to current form: Navodita

In the beginning it is overwhelming because you see one bird, then you see another and then you realize there could be so many…there is not just one or two species but very often, several of them,” says Priti Bangal who studies mixed species bird flocks as a PhD student at the Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.

There is some systemic kind of play inherent in mixed species bird flocks,” says Prasad Sandbhor, a freelance game designer based in Bangalore. He got interested in issues related to nature and society through extra-curricular activities while growing up, and now designs games professionally.

The game rules do not move away from scientific observations. The creators did not bring in anything alien for the sake of a story. For example, gregarious species are important in the formation of mixed species flocks and hence their role as flock starters in the game.

Also Read: An Overview of the Gardens Under the Sea

Another important rule states that a species added once, singly or in a group, cannot be added to a mixed species flock again. The idea comes from the fact that a family group of a gregarious species present in a mixed species flock is not joined by another family of the same species.

It is the same in case of solitary species, which are often territorial in nature. ​I try to justify the ecology side of things and he [Prasad] tries to justify the game-play side of things. We always try and find the balance in between,” Priti says.

Flocks!

Image of cards: Prasad Sandbhor. Modified to current form: Navodita

When we started, we thought anybody could play this game and our play testing has been with a wide age group,” Prasad says. From the feedback they have received, it seems to be especially effective among high school kids.

It is a good introduction to birds and mixed species flocks, and players seem to remember the roles of birds – warblers as flock starters, drongos as protectors and the interactions between other species. ​It is a good way to introduce people to the different elements in the flock…but it is not a lesson plan,” Priti says.

The popularity of other science-based games in the market such as Birds of a Feather, Wingspan, Evolution and Phylo, gives them confidence that there are takers for Flocks!.

It has the potential to be a game on its own and we would like to bring it out in the world for people to play,” Prasad says. They would like to keep it self-sustainable and are looking for companies or ecological organisations who may be interested in collaborating. They also want to collaborate with schools to test the game with a larger audience and use it as a means of scientific outreach.

The journey so far has inspired them to keep working on designing games and playful material like stories and comic books among other formats. They want to work on material that connects players to nature, making them curious to look around and observe natural phenomena, says Prasad.

For Priti, discussing mixed species flocks with people outside an ecology background has allowed her to think about questions that may otherwise be taken for granted. ​It helps me become clearer in articulation about the system,” she adds. ​It definitely has been a fun and enriching experience.”

[“source=thewire”]

Adidas Ensuring That All Their Shoes Can Be 100% Recycled into New Ones Without Any Waste

Image result for ShoesAdidas has already been making great strides to rid the world of plastic waste – and now they are taking it one step further by introducing a 100% recyclable performance running shoe that is “made to be remade.”

Sports footwear typically include complex material mixes and component gluing which result in a shoe that can only be downcycled.

After almost a decade of research and development, however, Adidas has refined the process to create the Futurecraft.Loop: a shoe that uses only one type of material and no glue.

Each component is made from 100% reusable TPU – it’s spun to yarn, knitted, molded and clean-fused. Once the shoes come to the end of their first life and are returned to Adidas – they are washed, ground to pellets and melted into material for components for a new pair of shoes, with zero waste and nothing thrown away.

The project is aimed at tackling the problem of plastic waste, enabling a “closed loop” or circular manufacturing model, where the raw materials can be repurposed again and again. But not just repurposed into a water bottle or a tote – but into another pair of high-performance running shoes.

In 2015, Adidas introduced the first footwear concept with its upper materials made entirely of yarns and filaments from reclaimed and recycled marine plastic waste and illegal deep-sea gillnets. In 2019, Adidas will produce 11 million pairs of shoes containing recycled ocean plastic through intercepting plastic waste on beaches, remote islands, and in coastal communities.

Adidas is now committed to using only recycled polyester in every one of their products and applications where a solution exists by 2024.

“Taking plastic waste out of the system is the first step, but we can’t stop there,” said Eric Liedtke, an Executive Board Member at adidas. “What happens to your shoes after you’ve worn them out? You throw them away – except there is no away. There are only landfills and incinerators and ultimately an atmosphere choked with excess carbon, or oceans filled with plastic waste. The next step is to end the concept of ‘waste’ entirely. Our dream is that you can keep wearing the same shoes over and over again.

“Futurecraft.Loop is our first running shoe that is made to be remade. It is a statement of our intent to take responsibility for the entire life of our product; proof that we can build high-performance running shoes that you don’t have to throw away.”

The first generation of Futurecraft.Loop is rolling out as part of a global beta program with 200 influencers from across the world’s major cities. Adidas is asking them to run, return the shoes, and share feedback on their experience ahead of the second-generation drop.

The insights will then be used to shape the roadmap for the wider release targeted for the spring or summer of 2021.

Tanyaradzwa Sahanga, who is the manager of Adidas’s innovation department, commented: “There were times when it didn’t seem like we could get over some of the technical hurdles – now we’ve made the first leap, the playing field has changed.

“We cannot create a circular future on our own, we are going to need each other. We’re excited to see this first step come to life as part of the beta launch.”

[“source=goodnewsnetwork”]