The Fish Game In Play - In Germany | A Case Story

submitted by: Clara Freudenberg, UWC Robert Bosch College in Freiburg, Germany

CONTEXT “I am one of the coordinators of a summer program that will be run in Germany this July and August. Our theme is "Building A Sustainable Future." Over three weeks, we will explore environmental, economic, and social sustainability together with 60 young participants (age 15-18) from all over Europe. Our young team of 17 facilitators (aged 18-22) is still in the process of designing workshops that will address these various dimensions of sustainability. I believe that our course aligns extremely well with your mission statement - while we are not officially a "school system," we are attempting to make up for the lack of sustainability education in schools by creating and empowering agents of change in our summer program.

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We have a 3 hour slot set aside just for the topic of overfishing as we recognize it as one of the important aspects of environmental and economic sustainability to look at. While searching the web for simulations to be played during the workshop, I stumbled upon your website and immediately found your simulation to be a perfect fit for our program and set-up.”

FEEDBACK AFTER THE GAME “Yesterday we successfully ran the workshop on overfishing – part of it based on the simulation and presentation you so kindly made available for us (we adapted it slightly to our own needs).

The workshop was part of our "Land Use and Resources" day (other parts of the program that day included workshops, discussions and presentations on food, farming methods, waste management, and circular economy). We started the workshop by playing the simulation in eight groups with 5-9 members, each recording their results in a table. We followed up on this in reflective group discussions, talking about why groups failed, what the different scenarios represent, and how this relates to real life/ in what ways this is not a 100% accurate representation of international (over)fishing. Afterwards, we provided some more theoretical context on overfishing by going through our own presentation on causes of overfishing, consequences for the ecosystem and the human population, and proposed solutions and strategies to prevent overfishing / fix the damage already done. Additionally, we went over some specific cases of overfishing e.g. in Canada and on the West African coast.

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The participants' response to the workshop was very positive. For many of our young participants, this was the first time they engaged with the problem of overfishing. Especially by establishing a direct relevance to participants' lives (we showed a map with data on how much various countries depend on fish for their daily protein intake), the group left the workshop with increased awareness as well as a desire to research more on the situation and policies of their own countries and various "quality seals" indicating sustainable fishing practices.

One of our participants said: "The interactive simulation aspect of the workshop, paired with the fact-based presentation, helped me understand overfishing as a very complex and nuanced issue of our current world."“