Diving into sustainability: Using virtual reality as a learning platform to promote sustainable behaviour


While public awareness for the urgency of environmental protection has been increasing, individuals still commonly resist making necessary changes in their daily lives. An important reason why promoting environmentally sustainable behaviour is challenging is because the consequences of not engaging in these behaviours (e.g., climate change, plastic pollution) tend to be psychologically distant from people’s immediate reality. People find such consequences uncertain and think that they will mainly affect distant places and other people in the future. As psychological distance increases, however, issues become more abstract and less real –and people are less likely to act upon seemingly abstract and “hypothetical” situations.
Virtual Reality (VR) technology provides the opportunity to bring psychologically distant events closer to the here and now and enables users to experience situations that they would otherwise not be able to do so, with closest possible approximation to reality. While VR is an effective platform to induce learning and behavioural change, researchers have only just begun to tap into the potential of VR to engage and educate audiences in important but typically “distant or abstract” topics such as sustainability.
Using VR, the present project aims at raising awareness, educating and inducing behavioural change regarding the pressing environmental crisis of plastic pollution in oceans. In an immersive and interactive virtual environment, users will experience diving into the ocean, clean-up different types of plastics and learn about what they can change in their lives to be more sustainable while witnessing the concrete consequences of plastic pollution in first hand.





H. Sungur

Verbonden aan

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen


01/01/2020 tot 31/08/2020