VIrtual Reality for Environmental sustainability
Through the use of a head-mounted display, hand controllers, stereoscopic sound and haptic feedback, virtual reality provides a vivid, realistic first-person experience in a three-dimensional virtual environment. These experiences help individuals grasp the seriousness and immediacy of environmental issues that can otherwise seem abstract and difficult to understand.
Climate change, drought, sea level rise, ocean acidification and a host of other conceptually challenging but devastating environmental issues pose grave risks to our individual and societal well-being and survival. Unfortunately, the negative environmental consequences of our actions are often invisible to us, or have an impact on communities far away from us or that belong to another demographic in our local population. This psychological distance between one’s actions and their environmental consequences leads to a lack of concern or sense of personal responsibility and accountability for those consequences.
Virtual reality enables users to experience and visualize the environmental consequences of their actions on themselves and other humans or let users take the perspective of nature itself. Though the potential is great and early findings are promising, very little research has been conducted on the use of virtual reality to improve environmental education.
My research focuses on the implications of virtual reality for environmental education with a focus on marine issues.