How Interactive Video Could Help Save the Planet

Starting next week, leaders from over 190 nations will gather at the COP21 Climate Change Conference in Paris. The goal of the UN event is a global agreement to avert catastrophic climate change. To prepare event participants, a leading public policy research group used the power of interactive video.

Over the past two decades, concern over global warming has grown dramatically—as has the response from academics, non-government organizations (NGOs), governments and particularly the United Nations. However, the most common public misconception is that UN initiatives have not worked.

One organization, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), is working to overcome this misconception. Since 1992, the group has provided accurate, neutral, and high quality information for decision makers involved in multilateral environmental negotiations. This year, IISD is especially involved with the upcoming COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.

The Power of Interactive Video

To help educate and prepare delegates, the group used Viddler’s interactive video technology in its online Paris Knowledge Bridge—with measurable success. IISD Vice President Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI asserted, “We’re making smart video content and turning the visual information into knowledge that policymakers can use.”

“The goal of the project was to prepare the negotiators and civil society from all the participating countries,” said IISD Team Leader Jennifer Allan. “Many lack the resources and manpower needed to acquire all the necessary knowledge, so we used online video, on the Viddler platform, to round out their knowledge of climate change, in preparation for Paris.” The project began with four videos, with plans to publish others following the conference. Each video used Viddler’s patented timeline comments feature:


Timeline comments inserted by IISD included external links to important reference material, including successful initiatives on climate change. “People responded very positively to the additional information,” she said. Viewership and engagement with the Viddler-enabled content was up sharply—up to five times more popular than video content hosted on Vimeo.

Seeing the Big Picture

Allan noted, “The common misconception is that ‘nothing ever happens’ as the result of a UN initiative. Our use of Viddler helped address this, by showing users real evidence of change—each link connected to a specific moment in the video.”

The in-video links also include scholarly material, to help students and civil society access how scholars think about the issue.

In addition to timeline comments/annotations, the IISD videos also used Viddler’s chaptering capability, and an in-video opportunity to receive more information.



Allan is happy with the results of the first four videos, and is looking forward to other ways Viddler technology can advance IISD’s educational impact. “Many people, especially academics, NGOs, and journalists, have said the videos helped get them up to speed on these complex set of negotiations before the Paris conference,” she said.

The real benefit is of course the knowledge and preparedness that COP21 participants gain from the interactive eLearning experience. Armed with a more thorough understanding of the issues, they may literally make the world a better place.

Interactive video has the power to help people learn—and understand what is at stake with climate change.