Welcome to Planet B

E-vehicle or public transport? Nuclear power or renewable energy? Lab meat or vegan diet? Urban living or shared rural home? The climate crisis currently challenges us with questions to which there are no easy answers. Alternative concepts await important decisions, and every action we take today has implications far into the future. Wouldn’t it be helpful to test our decisions in a virtual reality in order to better estimate their consequences? Welcome to Planet B!

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A special program highlight awaits visitors in the newly updated Deep Space 8K: In a fictitious reality, visitors will be confronted with our climate dilemma. With the goal of reducing CO2 emissions, they are presented with two alternatives for relevant areas of life on Planet B and thus face a difficult choice together. This is because the same projections and climate models apply to the virtual planet as to our real world.
The difference: On Planet B, the democratically made decisions are put to the test to make their consequences for global warming directly visible on the planet. The position of the visitors is detected by means of position tracking and can thus be incorporated into the calculation of a virtual baseline scenario.

The project emerged from Ars Electronica’s SDGxARS initiative, which aims to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within the institution. The initiative focuses on two key topics: gender equality and climate protection. Ars Electronica Center has already devoted a great deal of attention to the topic of climate protection in particular, for instance with the exhibition There is No Planet B, which was realized in cooperation with the Klima+Energie Fonds.

For the development of Welcome to planet B, frequently discussed, controversial or polarizing topics and their potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions were identified. Potential solutions that the system offers to visitors were calculated based on available data, facts and figures. And they come from official Austrian sources: Federal Environment Agency, Federal Ministry for Climate Protection, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK), Statisitk Austria, but also the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific publications. Local experts, Oliver Schrot, City of Linz Climate Coordinator, and Norbert Breitschopf, Sustainability Management at Linz AG, supported the Ars Electronica Futurelab’s team.

In future the application will be updated constantly: Available updates, new findings and technical innovations will be incorporated into the application. With Welcome to Planet B, researchers from the Ars Electronica Futurelab will show the Deep Space 8K audience a series of potential future scenarios and decision-making options. In this way, the program offers an opportunity to question one’s own lifestyle. In the fictitious world, one thing becomes apparent to us in a very three-dimensional way: In order to prevent a climate catastrophe on our planet and look forward to a positive future worth living in, we’ve got to make some changes. And we have to make them now.

Credits

Ars Electronica Futurelab: Friedrich Bachinger, Kerstin Blätterbinder, Arno Deutschbauer, Roland Haring, Susanne Kiesenhofer, Johannes Lugstein, Nicolas Naveau, Maria Pfeifer, Johannes Pöll
Ars Electronica Center: Michaela Obermayer
PARTNER: Oliver Schrot (Stadtklimakoordinator/Klimastabstelle Linz), Norbert Breitschopf (Nachhaltigkeitsmanagement/Linz AG)