Video game start-up Keep It Human and NGO Oceanus Conservation join forces to save mangroves in the Philippines

Prof Ricardo Climent, Music academic and founder at Keep It Human, joined forces with marine biologist Camille Rivera, NGO Oceanus Conservation co-founder, and her team, to record and monitor three contrasting mangrove forests in the Philippines. Visited sites included La Union, Bais (Negros Oriental island) and Makati bay, where they deployed a series of specialised audio loggers. The video-game spin-out from University of Manchester also contributed to the plantation of 400 seedling mangroves, interviewed community leaders with the support of local environmental authorities.

The acoustic analysis of bird and bat species will provide a new understanding of the health of local mangrove areas across the country. However, it will also be part of the sound design of their new video-game which aims to create awareness of mangroves deforestation, leading players to real-world action. The game prototype was completed last May, in collaboration with Imago Software and supported by the Faculty of Humanities recovery fund and Innovation Factory.

Camille Rivera says:

"We have to accept that technology is with us and we have to adapt very fast to these changes. And one of the changes is merging conservation and gamification. I see that we are tapping to an unused potential of gamers to contribute to change in the real world. That’s why I am excited with this project because it’s a very nice innovative model to use video-game, and at the same time contribute to a positive impact on the ground, plus everyone loves to play games too!"

Prof Climent says:

"My body and soul still resonate loudly after this trip guided by Oceanus. One can’t build a game-for-good without a first-hand experience of the problem. It was heartbroken to visit devastated mangrove areas because of urbanisation, pollution, logging and intensive fishponds and aquaculture. However, discovering protected mangrove reservoirs brought us hope and strength to work on the solution."

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