Published on February 18th, 2013 | by Guest Contributor


Learning Sustainability Through Play: GBO Hawaii

One of the best ways to learn a new skill is through play- as we’re having fun, we don’t realize that we are learning! If you are looking to learn more (or teach more) about sustainability, there is no better way than sharing the super fun game of GBO Hawaii. Created by Scott Cooney, an adjunct professor of Sustainability at University of Hawaii at Manoa, and author of Build a Green Small Business (McGraw-Hill). Cooney has worked in the sustainability field for over a decade, and upon realizing that there were not any engaging games to address his green passion, he set out to create one.

GBO Hawaii is a 2-4 person game that can best be related to that classic real estate trading game, Monopoly. But in GBO Hawaii, investors choose to support solar installations, car-sharing services, green hotels farmer’s markets, and organic farms. These investments pay out dividends and players win by generating the best Triple Bottom Line- one that benefits people, planet, and is profitable! All the events and policies that occur in the ‘chance’ cards relate to actual events that have happened in our aloha state- from plastic bag bans to solar initiatives. This includes the villains of the game- the Oil Industry Lobbyists. The Lobbyists work to block progressive action in the state and therefore decrease your dividends- just like in real politics!

This triple bottom line is especially important in Hawaii. Despite the pristine image, the island state Hawaii makes a terrific case study for sustainable economic development. Hawai’i is the most unsustainable state in the U.S, burning oil products (diesel fuel) for about 90% of its electricity, resulting in the highest electricity rates in the country. The state imports about 90% of its food from thousands of miles away, most of it processed, unhealthy, and/or genetically modified (GMO). With little to no landfill space, Hawai’i burns most of its trash, including plastics and styrofoam, which release harmful chemicals into the atmosphere that, ultimately, we are all breathing.

Become an ecopreneur today!

For educators, Cooney has created Lesson Plans to use in the classroom, free of charge. Download the lesson plans and ask questions here on the GBO Hawaii website. For more information about GBO Hawaii check out these great articles from across the Important Media Network, explaining the game’s connection to clean energy (on Clean Technica), to green building (on Green Building Elements) to impact investing (on Inspired Economist) and to local sustainable food systems (on Eat. Drink… Better.

Watch the video introducing GBO Hawaii below and purchase you copy here at GBO Hawaii.

If you had the power to change the world for the better, how would you do it? from Scott Cooney on Vimeo.

Get the Green Living Ideas book in softcover or PDF for as low as $2.99!

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