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The Plastic Pipeline Game Nominated for Best in Environmental Impact

Ryan McKenna

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars announces that The Plastic Pipeline, a digital game produced by the Wilson Center’s Serious Games Initiative and China Environment Forum, was nominated as a finalist for two upcoming festivals. The Plastic Pipeline is a digital game that brings awareness to single-use plastic pollution and the policies considered to address this global crisis. Aligning with the Wilson Center as a nonpartisan forum for policy dialogue, game players engage with the pros and cons of global policies meant to combat single-use plastic pollution. It was built using research conducted by the Wilson Center’s China Environment forum, and expertise from its Serious Games Initiative.  

The Serious Games Challenge and Showcase Europe 2024 to be held at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, UK, from June 10-13, and the 2024 Games for Change Festival: The 2030 Marker, held in New York from June 27-28, both named The Plastic Pipeline as a finalist in the category of “Best in Environmental Impact. “The United States and China are leaders in plastic pollution,” said Dr. Jennifer Turner, director of the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum, which was founded in 1997 and focuses on environmental and sustainable development issues impacting China and beyond. “We started this project to highlight the global crisis that is destroying the health of our oceans, and as a way to engage US and Asian audiences in policy research.” 

“The current discussion around a global treaty for single-use plastics makes the effort to educate audiences with creative tools like The Plastic Pipeline even more crucial, and continues our strong tradition of amplifying the work of environmental and policy experts,” added Turner. 

The Serious Games Initiative drew on two decades of helping to make public policy research more accessible to design the game. Plastic pollution, outreach, and education has often focused on teaching consumer-level behavior, like recycling or clean up. But what happens at the policy level in industry and government plays a crucial role in reducing plastic pollution.  

“Serious games, games designed not just for entertainment but for impact, are a great tool for engaging, exciting, and motivating audiences of all ages to confront critical topics,” said Dr. Elizabeth Newbury, director of the Serious Games Initiative. “We took the game from the United States to Vietnam and saw the impact it could have on young adults. They not only learned more about single-use plastic pollution but were more excited about environmental policy after playing.” 

The Plastic Pipeline can be found at: 


Other Information: 

  • The research and game development for The Plastic Pipeline was partial supported by the National Geographic Foundation, Luce Foundation and Japan Foundation. 

  • The Plastic Pipeline is a joint effort of the Wilson Center’s Serious Games Initiative and China Environment Forum, led by Drs. Elizabeth M H Newbury and Jennifer Turner, respectfully. 

  • Developer: FableVision Studios  

About the Wilson Center: Chartered by Congress, the Wilson Center provides nonpartisan counsel and insights on global affairs to policymakers through deep research, impartial analysis, and independent scholarship. The Wilson Center brings fresh thinking and deep expertise to the most pressing policy challenges we face today. We convene scholars to create a global dialogue of ideas that Congress, the administration, and the international policy community can act on. In 2019, the Wilson Center was named the #1 regional studies think tank in the world. 

About the Serious Games Initiative: The Serious Games Initiative was founded with one goal: to use games to engage the broader public in policy discourse. Since its founding, the Serious Games Initiative has served as a nexus between key stakeholders in a wide range of sectors who are interested in the positive use of games. We not only develop games as a dynamic technology to communicate cutting edge research at the Wilson Center and beyond but create cutting-edge research to illustrate the power of games. 

About the China Environment Forum: Since 1997, the China Environment Forum (CEF) has implemented projects, workshops, and exchanges that bring together U.S., Chinese, and other environmental policy experts to explore the most imperative environmental and sustainable development issues in China and to examine opportunities for business, governmental, and nongovernmental communities to collaboratively address these issues. 

About FableVision Studios: FableVision Studios is a multi-media production studio that designs and develops a wide array of engaging media and interactives that inspire, teach, and move people to action. 

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