The premise of the simulation is that the participating nations have signed the General Agreement on Climate Change (GACC) promising to reduce their annual carbon emissions by certain pledged amounts. Each participant plays the role of a country ambassador and needs to negotiate with other ambassadors to decide how many units of reduction their country will pledge. They begin to realize the importance of trust, communication and the need to minimize free-riding and defecting. Typically, participants need to confront collapses in cooperation by forming alliances and coalitions and adapting how they are communicating and influencing others. After the simulation, the participants reflect on the choices that were made and the connection between micro-actions and macro-outcomes. The participants reflect on what they discovered about the challenges in leading social progress, particularly the perceived tension between short-term, self-interest and long-term, collective interest. They explore four different roles that people tend to play when addressing collective action problems and identify which role is most effective when leading social progress.
Collective Action Problems
The facilitator helps participants apply the learnings from the CO2 simulation to a broad range of collective action problems across the three spheres of citizenship (i.e., friends & family, my community, and the bigger world). Working in pairs, participants identify the micro-actions that need to be changed to address the macro-problem. As a group, they discuss how they can mobilize others to change their micro-actions. They recognize the need to understand what motivates people’s behavior and the importance of helping others see the impact of their actions and how cooperating can lead to better outcomes for the collective.
Participants use their experiences to identify the attitudes and skills they believe are needed to mobilize others to work towards social progress. Through a team challenge, participants discover the importance of inclusive leadership when working with others and recognize that winning the support of 51% is not enough. They understand what inclusive leadership looks and sounds like and reflect on situations where the skills of inclusive leadership will benefit themselves and others.
I Resolve To
Participants reflect on what they have learnt and make a commitment for future action. Individually, they complete an appreciative inquiry reflection using a traffic light concept whereby they record an action they will continue doing (orange), an action they need to stop (red) and an action they will begin to do (green) so that in time it becomes a new green. Each participant is given an “I Resolve To…” card, to record their commitment. Participants are encouraged to share their I Resolve To with another person and to hold each other accountable. They take the cards away with them and are encouraged to keep them somewhere they can see daily so that it acts as a further incentive for them to take action.