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Building blocks for teaching tomorrow’s environmentalists

The Crown Estate have launched two educational Minecraft worlds to engage young people with gree skills and conservation

The Crown Estate have launched two educational Minecraft worlds to engage young people with gree skills and conservation

15 Dec 2023, 5:00

At The Crown Estate we have a simple, but powerful purpose – to create lasting and shared prosperity for the nation. We are a major landowner and return our net revenue profit to the UK treasury each year – resulting in £3.2 billion over the past ten years for the public purse. All of this means that we are able to focus on the nation’s long-term challenges, including being a leader in supporting the UK towards a net-zero carbon future.

If we are to hit our national net-zero targets, then a skilled and growing green workforce is vital. To secure the future of our country and our planet, we can look to short-term re-training and re-skilling – giving the current workforce the tools they need to contribute to our net zero goals. Yet it is crucial that we also look to the long term: who are the next wave of skilled green workers to pick up the mantle? If we are to build skills and interest for young people in areas like renewable energy and conservation, then we must engage them from an early age.

In a survey at the end of last year of nearly 4,000 16- to 23-year-old students, only half believed that their generation can have an impact on tackling climate change and 73 per cent felt uninformed about the range of green job opportunities available to them. These stark figures mean that we must rethink our approach in the classroom if we are to succeed in inspiring today’s schoolchildren to become the marine biologists, material scientists, engineers and conservationists of the future.

There is an onus on industry – as leaders in sustainability – to invest in equipping educators and students with the tools they need to develop green skills. To this end, The Crown Estate, in partnership with Microsoft UK, have launched our new sustainability education initiative. Through this partnership we have built Minecraft Education worlds for schoolchildren. Minecraft is the best-selling game of all time, making it the perfect platform to engage a huge number of young people across the UK and increase their knowledge and skills around climate change and the natural environment.

Children can test their green skills and learn about conservation through Minecraft

Schoolchildren across the country can now test their green skills and learn about conservation through the Minecraft world, Conservation Quest at Windsor Great Park, playing as a conservation apprentice to manage the ecological health of the historic park by completing a series of quests. In our second world, Offshore Wind Power Challenge, children take on the task of designing and building an offshore wind farm to power a coastal village.

Both the protection of our rich natural environment and the development of offshore wind power are industries that are increasingly important to our collective future, so we need to translate this importance to exciting learning for young people.

In schools, it’s critical that we provide teachers with educational content on these subjects that motivates their students and taps into their creativity in innovative ways. Through Minecraft Education, we can provide content for schools nationwide where students can learn about sustainability, renewable energy and conservation via creative gameplay. The two worlds also include supporting lesson plans and teaching materials aligned with the curriculums in each of the UK’s devolved nations.

But this isn’t just a tool for the classroom; we must also strive to inspire young people to learn about these topics outside the school environment, whether that’s at home or at school clubs. This is why we are releasing both worlds on Minecraft Bedrock Edition over the next few months, making them available to all Minecraft users.

We are immensely proud to be stewards of some of the UK’s most incredible natural environments, including the seabed and Windsor Great Park, but with this stewardship comes the responsibility to cement their future as sustainable and valuable assets. By recreating these worlds in Minecraft, we are giving students and teachers an immersive way to experience both our transition to net zero and the protection of our natural habitats.

Our hope is that this project will inspire not only the next generation to embrace the green career opportunities that the country so dearly needs, but also other organisations to reach and inspire all students.

To find out more about the Crown Estate’s Minecraft worlds, click here  

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