What Would the World Look Like if Everyone Consumed Like You Do?

Contact: Brad Robideau
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What Would the World Look Like if Everyone Consumed Like You Do?

Consumer Consequences—New Online Game from American Public Media

(St. Paul, Minn. & Los Angeles, Calif.) September 17, 2007—American Public Media, distributor of public radio programs such as A Prairie Home Companion® and Marketplace,® today unveiled Consumer Consequences, an online game that lets people see the environmental consequences of their lifestyles. Consumer Consequences is on the Web at www.consumerconsequences.org.

American Public Media journalists worked with video game developer Realtime Associates (www.rtassoc.com) to create a "serious" game, which allows Americans to redesign their lifestyles to try to live within the world’s resources. As people play, answering questions about whether they drive or ride public transportation, how often they replace things like TVs and computers, and what foods they eat, Consumer Consequences calculates what would happen if all of the planet’s 6.6 billion people lived the same way.

Players get their score as the number of "Earths" it would take to support their lifestyles. Anything over one Earth is unsustainable.

Consumer Consequences is based on the ecological footprint methodology developed by research partner Redefining Progress (www.rprogress.org). Unlike other footprint calculators and similar online environmental tools, Consumer Consequences actually shows what the world would look like if everyone on Earth consumed like you. Players see the landscape of their game "neighborhood" shift for better or worse with every answer. Once players weigh their actual lifestyles, they can play again to see what changes would improve their score.

Behind the scenes, the game is learning from players. All the answers are saved in a database, along with voluntarily shared information from the players. American Public Media journalists analyze the results to look for hunches and possible trends that will help inform news coverage by American Public Media’s national programs like Marketplace, Marketplace Money,® Weekend America,® Being,® and American RadioWorks® documentaries.

Players are also invited to become part of American Public Media’s Public Insight Network® which includes more than 30,000 people who share their knowledge and experience regularly to make American Public Media news and feature coverage stronger and deeper.

Consumer Consequences is part of "Consumed," American Public Media’s fall 2007 sustainability series which explores whether the American consumer culture is sustainable. "Consumed" is part of American Public Media’s ongoing, in-depth news coverage and programming on global sustainability and the economy across several American Public Media programs. Funding for American Public Media’s sustainability coverage is made possible by the Kendeda Sustainability Fund of the Tides Foundation.

Consumer Consequences fact sheet available upon request

About Redefining Progress
The nation’s leading policy institute dedicated to smart economics, Redefining Progress develops innovative policies that balance economic well-being, environmental preservation, and social justice. Redefining Progress makes a difference through unbiased research, innovative tools, and smart solutions, and works with a broad array of partners to shift the economy toward sustainable growth.