Celebrate Earth Day With These Nature Themed VR Experiences
Immersive experiences that highlight the importance of environmental protection.
There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Day than hitting the streets with a garbage bag and cleaning up random litter scattered around your local area. It may feel like an insignificant effort in the grand scheme of things, but only by holding ourselves accountable to our environmentally-destructive behavior can we begin to take more serious steps towards preservation.
Thankfully, immersive technology—such as VR—has proven to be the ideal tool for educating the public on environmental issues and spread awareness through immersive projects designed to envoke a sense of empathy with the user.
If you’re looking for another reminder of the importance of environmental conservation, here’s a small collection of powerful immersive experiences designed to educate users on the environmental impact of the human race and encourage them to take a more active part in its protection.
Developed by Frontline, Nova and Emblematic Group in association with X-Rez Studio and Realta, Greenland Melting is a captivating 6DoF VR film that shines a light on the gradual disappearance of Greenland’s famous glacial structures. Throughout the immersive experience, you’ll travel across nine different locations and learn more about the changes taking place beneath the ice.
Whether you’re flying over low altitudes in a photo-realistic NASA research aircraft or standing waist-deep in the spectacular Arctic Ocean, you’ll gain a clearer understanding of NASA’s studies across the glacial region via narration provided by one of the many accredited NASA scientists guiding you through the experience.
Narrated by Lupita Nyong’o, My Africa is an eye-opening 360-degree documentary short that covers the courageous efforts of Northern Kenya tribes to protect African wildlife from animal poachers. Throughout the nearly 10-minute experience, you’ll follow Natlwasha Leripe, a young Reteti Elephant Sanctuary keeper who has been charged with caring for a newborn elephant.
It’s truly inspiring to see African tribes utilize rudimentary tools at such an effective level, from digging for water to coordinating animal rescue efforts with modern wildlife organizations.
THE STANFORD OCEAN ACIDIFICATION EXPERIENCE
Ocean acidification caused by rampant CO2 emissions has resulted in lasting damage to various coral reef ecosystems across the globe. Unfortunately, showcasing the effects of carbon pollution in a way meaningful way is a difficult task, especially when it comes to those totally unfamiliar with pH levels or marine biology.
The Stanford Ocean Acidification Experience—available via SteamVR, Viveport, and Oculus—does a wonderful job of breaking down the complex chemical processes that have resulted in permanent damage to various marine-based ecosystems.
The experience begins with you surrounded on all sides by heavy traffic as gasoline-powered vehicles spew noxious carbon monoxide fumes in your direction. You’re then transported underwater to see the effects of the dangerous fumes on various coral life, draining them of vitality due to the acidic water; a powerful representation of humanities destructive capabilities.
Back in 2009, two chimpanzees from the New Iberia Research Center (NIRC) at the University of Louisiana, Lafayette, were ‘leased’ to Stony Brook University in New York. It was there the animals were subjected to years of invasive and painful medical testing.
18 years later, the tortured creatures were finally rescued from isolated captivity by Project Chimps, a non-profit organization responsible for the release of over 200 chimpanzees being used as test subjects in numerous facilities. To better highlight the many difficulties these animals have faced, the dedicated animal rights organization has showcased the results of their incredible work through a two-part docu-series shot in 360-degrees.
GOOGLE EARTH VR
An oldie but goodie, the virtual rendition of Google’s immensely popular satellite-based geobrowser can be found in a majority of VR owners libraries. Whether you’re walking through the streets of Paris, France as a giant, or zooming out into space to view a miniature version of our planet, Google Earth is the perfect VR experience for showcasing the jaw-dropping beauty and scale of Earth.
NATURE TREKS VR
Take a break from all the commotion of your urban lifestyle with a relaxing trek through a collection of serene locales, from stunning waterfalls and beautiful forest sunsets, to calm ocean beaches and desert oases.
Nature Treks VR not only lets you travel to-and-from exotic locations but allows you to alter the weather and time of day to create your ideal natural paradise. The games last update, Animal Kingdom, introduced 60 different animals to the experience, injecting new life into your digital environments.
According to a report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global carbon pollution needs to be cut in half by 2030 and continue to decrease to a net zero by 2050 in order to circumvent the absolute worst effects of global warming.