Squeezy Green Balls: Promoting Environmental Awareness Through Play

Barack Obama is reported to have said "we can't solve global warming because I f—-ing changed light bulbs in my house. It's because of something collective" - and he's right! If we're actually going to solve global warming we need a campaign that not only raises awareness of the issues but also helps to kick-start a range pro-environmental habits from changing lightbulbs to lobbying governments to implement big policy changes.

While games and playful approaches are well recognised for their ability to engage, we are only just beginning to understand how to create powerful experiences that will resonate with people and influence their behaviour over time. In this project we aim to address the question "How can we invoke large scale reflection and action in relation to environmental behaviours?" Through presenting play as the game changer, we aim to develop and test a theoretical framework of engaged reflection that demonstrates how and when playful interaction, serious games and physical computing can be used to address the existing lack of engagement in such issues.

We developed two prototypes that use playful experiences to promote reflection on pro-environmental behaviours and to kick start new habits: the green ball box & the green squeeze kiosk. In our research we found that the Green Ball Kiosk was a fun way to raise discussions about green issues, to encourage the adoption of new environmentally friendly behaviours and to prompt people to maintain existing ones. We suggest that interactive installations such as this can be effective at promoting awareness and generating a "social buzz" about environmental topics when exhibited as a temporary installation.



  • UCL Green Impact Award 2016 - "Squeeze my Green Balls -  an interactive installation to raise environmental awareness of staff and students and to encourage them to kick-start pro-environmental habits."

Selected Publications

Jennett, C., Iacovides, I., Cox, A. L., Vikhanova, A., Weigold, E., Mostaghimi, L., Jones, G., Jenkins, J., Gallacher, S., & Rogers, Y. (2016). Squeezy Green Balls: Promoting Environmental Awareness through Playful Interactions. Proceedings of ACM SIGCHI Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (CHI PLAY '16), pp. 389-400, ACM Press. UCL Discovery ACM Link