Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


communication, social diffusion, fossil fuels, group affiliation, adaptive capacity, climate change, civic participation, mitigation, adaptation


As our planet undergoes radical change as a result of the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, it is clear that action to mitigate the effects of climate change and adapt to its impacts is critical. Yet mobilizing the public around this global phenomenon has proven to be challenging. My undergraduate thesis translates the research around strategic climate change communication and successful community engagement into a creative project: a game. Changing the Current is a non-competitive, visual game, communicating the local impacts of a warming planet in Vermont, global ramifications, and the myriad of actions to take toward mitigation – from personal behavior change to community building to political involvement. In addition to allowing for this information to be communicated, the game serves as a brainstorming tool to posit the question to the players: how can we collectively adapt to this changing world? The game was launched on Town Meeting Day, 2012, an annual event known for its truly democratic nature, in four Vermont towns. Each copy was hosted by a "Climate Ambassador,” who was a community member involved with local climate activism. This approach of implementation was based around concepts such as adaptive capacity and social diffusion, capitalizing on what is known on the strength of community-based knowledge and civic participation. In this way, Changing the Current was able to go beyond traditional methods of disseminating information that applies to the public realm. This project thesis was intended to further action around climate change in Vermont, a phenomenon that promises to affect us all.