How the Metaverse can Protect the Environment

How the Metaverse can Protect the Environment

The metaverse can help protect our environment and ecosystem, but how?

We know how much damage we have caused the world, and governments worldwide have been educating the public extensively about how they can protect the environment. However, despite the environmental conservation measures and efforts, our planet has yet to experience significant repair. Climate change is worsening amidst the soaring carbon emissions from various industrial and human activities. No doubt, it can bring severe and irreparable harm to Earth. 

On top of the protective measures that governments worldwide are implementing, many have been deploying technology to tackle environmental issues and lower carbon emissions, with startups developing plant-based meat and mitigating food waste with artificial intelligence. Despite being a relatively new concept, the metaverse is in the limelight in the tech space and thus might have the potential to ameliorate the environmental problems. Let’s find out how we can utilize the metaverse to reduce carbon emission and protect our environment!

Reduce the need to commute

Transportation is a major source of carbon emissions and contributes to global warming. It is responsible for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions. Since cars, ships and planes guzzle gasoline and diesel, they emit greenhouse gases, which have a terrible impact on air quality. What is good about the metaverse is that users can reduce the number of travels needed.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many of us have switched to working remotely. Statistics published in May this year show that 16% of companies globally have gone fully remote, and about 62% of the workers aged 22 to 65 work remotely occasionally. With the metaverse allowing users to meet virtually in a more interactive way than a video call or work in a virtual office, we would not need to travel to the office or overseas to attend a meeting. This will definitely further push for the remote work model, reducing employees’ needs to commute to work on a daily basis and their carbon footprints.

Of course, this does not only limit to the workplace. The metaverse can also be a venue to hold other activities, such as international conferences and museum exhibitions, where people from around the world can take part without flying to another region. By moving part of our lives to the virtual world, we can cut down on unnecessary travels and thereby lower carbon emissions.

Virtual military pilot training

Besides civilian transportation, military vehicles are another major emitter of greenhouse gases. The U.S. military is responsible for more pollution than 140 countries’ militaries combined. To prepare for combat, military pilots have to practice on fighter jets, which emit a large number of greenhouse gases and air pollutants. Here, the metaverse can step in to offer virtual military training for soldiers.

With the metaverse, these pilots can practice virtually, which will aid the reduction of carbon emissions. For instance, in the U.S., two pilots flew Berkut 540 jets over the desert of California with augmented reality (AR) headsets to imitate a refueling aircraft flying alongside the fighter jets in May this year. Suppose the military extends the use of the metaverse for daily military practice, such as letting the fighter jets’ pilots practice flying in the metaverse instead of in the physical world, this would significantly decrease the military emission of greenhouse gases. 

Educating the public on ecological conservation

Human activities have notably damaged the ecosystem. The damages caused are irreparable and trigger a chain of issues to our planet, including soil erosion, climate change and deforestation. These issues can lead to the extinction and endangerment of certain species, like sea turtles. Despite the increased public awareness of sea turtle protection in recent years, nearly all of the seven sea turtles’ species are still endangered, with three out of the seven are critically endangered. 

To protect them further, some organizations are using the metaverse to help the sea turtles in the real world. Next Earth, a blockchain-based metaverse community, and SEE Turtles, a dedicated sea turtle conservation company, are partnering to launch a game in the metaverse about sea turtles and ecological conservation. Players can purchase lands on the map and participate in a plastic removal project in the game. In addition to the virtual activities, there is a treasure hunt in which players may win various non-fungible tokens (NFTs). With incentives like NFTs, the game can appeal to the public and hence educate them on how to save an endangered animal.

Furthermore, the players’ actions in the game will also translate into the real world. In the virtual area where the players undertake plastic removal activity, SEE Turtles will carry out an in-person mission to eliminate the plastic waste in the exact location in the physical world. Thus, this could directly help the sea turtles’ living environment and protect them.

These are only a few of the initiatives and ways that the metaverse can help with environmental conservation. With the metaverse growing exponentially, it will continue to impact our lives in the future and shed light on new ways to alleviate climate change. Let’s join hands, albeit virtually, and protect the environment and ecosystem!

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Header image courtesy of Pixabay

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