Climate action is better than words

After running for six months, A GREENER WORLDLE came to an end at the start of August having spread an environmental message to hundreds of thousands of people.


Launched at the end of January 2022, IIED’s online word game inspired by WORDLE was brought to a close at the start of August.

A GREENER WORLDLE, which used the guessing game format devised by Josh Wordle but switched generic five-letter answers for words related to the environment and climate, surpassed all expectations.

The website was visited over half a million times and was consistently played hundreds of thousands of times by people from across 192 countries.

It introduced a wider audience to climate and environment issues, received international media coverage, and was acclaimed and shared by eminent climate scientists and key donors. It was also praised for being more environmentally friendly than the original version, and was hosted by a green supplier.

Among the typical answers were words such as ‘solar’, ‘risks’ and ‘facts’, while there was also the inclusion of activist ‘Greta’ Thunberg and the ‘Kyoto’ Protocol to particularly test participants.

Matt Wright, IIED’s web planning and content manager, said: “It has been amazing to see the reaction to our eco-friendly adaptation of Wordle, and we thank everyone who played the game and told their friends about it. It was wonderful to watch it being shared and the discussion of how the words relate to the environment on a daily basis.

“We always knew that we would run out of suitable words for answers at some point, and while there are undoubtedly more we could use, we didn’t want to get to a stage where our environmental slant on Wordle was diluted.”

A GREENER WORLDLE came to an end on 31 July, when that day’s answer, ‘sense’, was the final piece in phrase began four days previously to provide a final environmental message: “Clean green world makes sense”.

50 years of IIED

The launch of the word game, which was produced in conjunction with Scott Digital, is just one, if slightly unusual, part of IIED’s work to tackle climate change that dates back 50 years.

In the early 1970s, visionary economist Barbara Ward, the founder of IIED, helped lead the introduction of a new concept: that the interests of people and planet are inextricably interlinked. Now, this is an accepted global narrative and lies at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Throughout the last five decades IIED has used its influence to highlight the planet’s importance and the need to take climate action. In May the institute published a paper that considers how we have worked within or influenced ten major sustainable development movements, including the drives for global climate justice, grassroots sustainable urbanisation and an inclusive green economy

IIED’s Climate Change research group currently works to create, share and use knowledge to shape development policy and practice for climate resilience, equitable global governance and community adaptation to climate change.

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