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Cover image for A Visual Guide To: Sustainability City (Minecraft)
Nitya Narasimhan, Ph.D for Microsoft Azure

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A Visual Guide To: Sustainability City (Minecraft)

Things you can do to improve your GreenTech IQ

Exploring Sustainability Through Minecraft

Did you know Minecraft has an Education Edition with crafted worlds that help students (K-12) and adults explore various environments or concepts interactively?

Many of these come with lessons for educators to use to define activities and facilitate discussions that enhance learning. I was particularly excited to realize they had a dedicated EarthDay with worlds and lesson plans that are perfect for parent-child or teacher-student contexts.

In my case, I realized that as a Microsoft employee, I had access to the Microsoft Education Edition. So I did what any parent would do - I enlisted my 12yo to help me navigate Minecraft!

Visual Guide To Sustainability City

This is the visual guide that I created based on our exploration together. Check out my Tech Community for a longer post on how you can navigate the visual guide, and what you can learn in the process. Plus links to resources for you to explore this Minecraft world on your own.

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Curious to know how the visual guide was built? Here's a time lapse video showing how the information was synthesized and composed into a single visual sketchnote.

Background Context

April 22 was Earth Day. People around the world used this as a day to drive awareness, engagement, and action, around climate action, sustainable development, and green technology. At Microsoft, I was thrilled to co-host a special episode of Hello World focused entirely on green technology topics. You can learn more about it here:

In reality though, we need to treat every day as Earth Day and take measures to actively educate ourselves, our families, and communities, about sustainability challenges and best practices for reducing our carbon footprint. Earlier this year, I released the Visual Guide to Sustainable Software Engineering, illustrating the 2 core philosophies and 8 core principles defined in this Learn module.

The #VisualGreenTech challenge

One of those philosophies states that everyone has a part to play in driving better sustainability practices. It was this philosophy that motivated us to launch the #VisualGreenTech challenge in the lead-up to #EarthDay

The challenge consisted of 24 prompts asking readers to explore the linked resources, then share their learnings using a simple visual. You can find all the images shared by the community in this Twitter moment and read an early retrospective on the outcomes.

My Moment of Zen

The prompt for #SustainabilityCity exploration happened on April 24. By then my 12yo and I had finished exploring Sustainability City and I wanted to motivate him to translate awareness to some kind of action.

So we taught ourselves to use a Stop-Motion-Animation app and created this animated film, hopefully the first of many. And we published it on Apr 24 - right on time!

I hope this inspires you to check out Minecraft Sustainability City. And don't forget:

Things you can do to improve your GreenTech IQ

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