VR to Fight Climate Change

Georgetown University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Washington, D.C., USA, 2020


  1. Alie Fordyce
  2. Anna Hoffman
  3. Shana Inofuentes
  4. Sacha Qasim
  5. Aditi Sahu

New technologies seemingly integrate at ever-increasing rates into consumers’ lives and minds. Virtual reality (VR) exemplifies this phenomenon by provoking psychological presence, a “sensation of ‘being there’” (Bailenson) that marks the threshold between any other fabricated experience, such as watching a video, and full immersion into a virtual world. Curious about the power of such technologies and how we may harness them to help make the world a better place, we explored commercial VR as a tool to produce pro-environmental behavior that combats climate change.

We conducted our analysis by mapping out the following three aspects of commercial VR: 1) its hard and software architecture; 2) a core algorithm that would produce user belief in acting on climate change; and 3) the broader world within which commercial VR and human-induced climate change operate, including the various forces driving and impacting them. In our study of this final systems map, we found that social influence could enable a feedback loop that activated commercial VR as a continuously more powerful agent to fight the causes of climate change.

VR Climate Change website


Posted: Oct-2020

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