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Children’s Virtual Play Worlds

Culture, Learning, and Participation

Series:

Anne Burke and Jackie Marsh

As children’s digital lives become more relevant to schools and educators, the question of play and learning is being revisited in new and interesting ways. Children’s Virtual Play Worlds: Culture, Learning, and Participation provides a more reasoned account of children’s play engagements in virtual worlds through a number of scholarly perspectives, exploring key concerns and issues which have come to the forefront. The global nature of the research in this edited volume embraces many different areas of study from school based research, sociology, cultural studies, psychology, to contract law showing how children’s play and learning in virtual spaces has great potential and possibilities.

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11. Playing Virtually with Sustainability: Exploring Green Virtual Worlds for Children

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c h a p t e r e l e v e n Playing Virtually with Sustainability Exploring Green Virtual Worlds for Children Eric M. Meyers and Robert Bittner Introduction The rhetoric of environmental sustainability is ubiquitous in corporate advertising, mass media, government policy documents, and school curricula. Products are ad- vertised as green, eco-friendly, or sustainably produced. We are urged to reduce our “carbon footprint” and to make “environmentally aware” choices. But this eco- logical awareness is not just a fashion statement; it is a response to growing con- cern for the long-term viability of our planet as a suitable place for human (and other) life. At the same time we are told to “go green,” we hear the dire warnings of imminent ecological collapse due to centuries of climate change caused by in- dustrial development and population growth. While scholars, activists, and poli- cymakers disagree about the extent of the problem, there is little serious denial that man is altering the conditions for life on our planet (Farnsworth & Lichter, 2012; Oreskes, 2004). Furthermore, the viability of Earth as a place for human life is a long-term challenge affecting multiple generations, and young people are ex- pressing their concerned with the current state of the planet. A poll conducted by Greenpeace in 2007, soliciting the opinions of nearly 50,000 teens from around the globe via the virtual world Habbo, found that 74% of respondents believe that global warming is a serious problem; they are “more concerned about...

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