Freeze For Future - Youth Creates Virtual Glacier Worlds For The Future Of Climate Change Education
Climate change and retreating glaciers are no longer a future scenario, they are the reality here and now, even in Austria. In just a couple of years, walking on glaciers in climate education settings will become impossible. The glaciers will either not exist or be too fragile to bear our weight due to their melt-down or collapse. Thus, the project „Freeze For Future – Glacier Worlds“ intends to use the period 2022-2025 to virtually “freeze” glacier walks for the climate change education programmes of the future via Virtual Reality Technology. Further to that, , these FFF-Glacier Worlds will allow easy access to glaciers to countless teenagers in climate education settings without the need for any grand organizational or financial efforts and also without incurring any climate footprint by forgoing the need for transport etc. Physically and mentally challenged teenagers will also be able to gain access to glaciers (and consequently to other educational settings in the sense of Education for Sustainable Development) by such VR possibilities.
The FFF-Glacier Worlds will be created in a sophisticated technological manner. Laser Data, the University of Innsbruck spinoff company, will be a major contributor to the success of this project due to its long-lasting experience in the technological surveillance and rendering of glaciers. The educational settings will be developed by the participating teenagers, evaluated and then further developed from prototype to final version. All in all, more than 1.000 teenage students will be participating both directly and indirectly. In this ambitious citizen science project, the teenagers will be accompanied and supported by national and international experts in the fields of climate education, VR education, and laser- and drone-/copter-technology.
These virtual worlds will help more people gain an immersive experience in nature and thus they can understand and appreciate the value of its protection. The reality of Alpine glaciers, whose current state trails climate change by ca. ten years, prove the point as to why “Freezing For Future” must urgently happen now, before it is too late.
(Photocredit © Lars Keller)