NAIROBI, Kenya, January 21, 2021 (ENS) – The United Nations Ozone Secretariat is about the last place a Gen Zer might look for a fun new mobile game, but that’s about to change on Sunday, January 24, World Education Day, when the Secretariat will release “Reset Earth,” an innovative educational platform about the fundamental protective role of the ozone layer.
The project launches with a virtual world premiere of the original animated film “Reset Earth: One Ozone. One Planet. Once Chance,” which explores options for collective positive action. To see more, click here.
The year is 2084. The plot follows three teens from a world where the ozone layer has been ruined and human life is under threat. They race against time and travel through it to find a solution to The Grow – a disease that has spread across the world and cut life-expectancy to less than 30 years.
They must Reset Earth. The film’s plot continues in a challenging mobile game for Android and IOS to be released on February 10.
A spokesperson for the Secretariat told ENS that the project is timely now as it complements President Joe Biden’s act in bringing the United States back into the Paris Agreement on Climate on Wednesday as one of his first actions in office.
Meg Seki, acting executive secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, said, “The protection of the ozone layer cannot be considered a done deal. It must be a continuous effort by us and by future generations. If our children learn about the grim consequences of a ruined ozone layer through a fantasy cartoon and game app, they will be aware of its importance and protect it.”
The film and game are both tailored for Gen Zers, also called post-Millennials, born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s – the Internet generation, an audience the Secretariat hopes to engage.
The Ozone Secretariat is based in Nairobi, housed within the United Nations Environment Program, UNEP. It is the administrative office for two international ozone protection agreements – the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Both play a major role in protecting the ozone layer and reducing the size of the ozone holes that have been made over both poles. Ozone depletion is a major problem because it increases the amount of ultraviolet, UV, radiation that reaches Earth’s surface, which increases the rate of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and genetic and immune system damage.
Ozone-depleting substances, which the Secretariat calls “super greenhouse gases,” drive up temperatures and account for close to 11 percent of the world’s total warming emissions to date.
These substances – chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – were widely used throughout the 20th century, for refrigeration, in air conditioners and in aerosol sprays.
The facts are encouraging. The Antarctic ozone hole is expected to close by the 2060s the Secretariat says, explaining that “without action, it might have been 40 percent larger by now.” Other regions are expected to return to 1980s values even earlier.
That’s because ozone-depleting substances, ODSs, are subject to bans and restrictions, some in place under the Vienna Convention since 1985. Under the Convention’s Montreal Protocol, governments, scientists and industry cooperated to cut out 99 percent of all ozone-depleting substances.
The Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), greenhouse gases with powerful global warming potential. There is no one size fits all solution, but several promising alternatives are being tested.
Reset Earth begins a year-long education initiative by the Secretariat to raise awareness and inspire action among young people and parents about global ozone protection.
“Immersive, educational and thought-provoking, Reset Earth conveys a positive message around what can be achieved through collective action and cultivates a sense of environmental responsibility and ownership,” the Secretariat said in a statement.
The Reset Earth mobile game is a single-player platform game with a retro graphics style and hand-drawn artwork. Players – whether young gamers or their parents – switch between characters and utilize their unique abilities throughout the four levels of the game. Through unlocking puzzles, players learn about environmental history and the science of protecting the planet.
— ENS Staff