Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

VR Pioneering ‘Environmental Communication’ Like Never Before


The viewers get immersive experience of the rapidly changing environment caused by climate change phenomenon through virtual reality technology.

Dailycsr.com – May 31, 2019 – The Saatchi Gallery of London present a “brain-tickling” experience through “We Live in an Ocean of Air” wherein one can immerse the sense for a walk into a “redwood forest”. And it is hard to explain what really grabs your attention whether the earthly forest smell, the moss-covered roots, the massive tangled trunks of sequoia tree or simply your own exhilarating breath.
Well, all these outside exploration can be lived inside starting from experiencing forest scents to “listening to a rainstorm”. The viewer becomes an integral part of the experience as the breath exhaled by him turns into “blue bubbles” which can be waved around while they “turn red”, signifying the “exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between you and the virtual natural world”.
The experience lasts for about twenty minutes which has been conceived and designed by “Marshmallow Laser Feast”. The immersive world of VR is playing a big role in “connecting people to the planet”, which is sometimes termed as “environmental communication”. The “Ocean of Air” is a “second installation” while the first in the series is called “Treehugger” which bagged the “Tribeca Film Festival Storyscapes Award in 2017”.
The Founding Director of “Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab”, Professor Jeremy Bailenson said:
“A challenge of climate change is that people don’t have a direct connection to it. They haven’t seen the poles melting or the rainforest destroyed. VR is an experience generator. You’re turning your head to look or using your body to walk around. VR takes the notion of climate change and makes it visceral and now, not the future.”
Immersive virtual reality experience enables the viewers witness the phenomena of climate change forefront from the melting glaciers in Greenland, endangered elephants of Africa, acidification of ocean to the “dying coral reefs” from up-close. The capacity of VR to envelope the audience into its world makes it a “tool for positive change”.
The creators of VR films aim to influence people’s behaviour and mind. It is the direct experience of the natural world which so far has been unknown to the mass which the VR provides enables it to be an instrument to help people “understand climate change or biodiversity or desertification” for that matter.
Erika Woolsey holds a Ph.D. in marine biology who has made “360 VR film IMMERSE” in the capacity of The Hydrous’ chief executive that explores the “delicate coral reefs off the island nation of Palau in Micronesia”. In Woolsey’s words:
“People’s reactions are transformative. I've seen some strong reactions and some people even cry. As a scientist, I want to measure these effects and prove that it makes a difference.”
Her work continues as “an Ocean Design Fellow at Stanford University”, while Professor Bailenson has joined her as a “National Geographic Explorer”. Dr. Woolsey further commented:
“My co-founders and I identified this unfortunate disconnection between people and the ocean, between scientific discovery and public action. VR has the power to show you places you will never go or see. It’s important to make the abstract concrete and that translation is a way to solve these problems.”
Nonny de la Peña is the head “360 VR film” maker of “Greenland Melting”, talked about his film:
“You are with the scientists dropping thermometers from the NASA plane, it’s active. You can see the glacier recede in front of your eyes and it demystifies the experience.”
It is a form of immersive journalism which allows people to get connected to complex issue and “Telling what’s going on with the planet is one of the most pressing journalistic stories of our era.”
“Ocean of Air” is powered by “HP’s powerful Z VR backpacks”, while the Creative Director of “Marshmallow Laser Feast”, Barney Steel added:
“The HP solution is really robust and doesn’t overheat which is super important when you have a high turnover”.
The Location-based VR Entertainment’s Head ay HP, Joanna Popper said:
“Projects like these combine creativity, innovation and technology with a message that inspires reflection on what’s around us, our impact and how best to take care of environment”.
Furthermore, Dr. Woolsey explained:
“I’ll be able to narrate live while they are in the experience. While some understandable criticism of VR is that it can be isolating. I found it to be a really social and compellng tool that invites conversation. I don’t want to convince people with data, but connect with them through shared experiences.”
Talking about “Ocean of Air”, Steel added:
“The awe of the biodiversity translates in VR in a way it doesn’t in video or photography. You can see your breath leave your lungs — where does your body begin and end? People will learn not to hurt nature.”
“We can help decision makers make the right decisions since climate change is already here”.
And Dr. Woolsey is also of the opinion that:
“The tech is powerful and scalable. This is how I get everyone to protect and care about the ocean.”