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Game-like app allows public to help study climate change in Japan


Using a smartphone app that has the feel of a video game, the Environment Ministry has launched an ongoing event to encourage people to contemplate climate change.

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Called “Kikohendo Ikimono Daichosa” (Great survey of living things and climate change), the free event is hosted on an app called Biome and asks participants to upload photos of local flora and fauna. To participate, users must download the app, created by a company in Kyoto. After downloading it, they simply choose a “quest,” take photos of the assigned plant or animal and upload them.

There are 25 quests to choose from, including one where you can help track the flight patterns of a duck whose migration and wintering spots are said to have changed and another that asks users to investigate an invasive species, the stink bug. Many quests pertain to living creatures that have been impacted by global warming.

Around 11,000 photos have been uploaded to the app since the event began in November. The deadline to join the first round is the end of this month. The ministry plans on keeping it going until fiscal 2022.

The Environment Ministry plans to compare uploaded photos with previous data and present its findings on any environmental changes it discovers.

“With the government’s plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, we hope this event will help young people to see directly what climate change does to their surroundings,” a ministry official in charge said.

Published : January 18, 2021

By : The Japan News/ANN