Contact Katie on 650-636-5794 or to schedule an interview.

Katie's work has been featured in:

Media Kit

Download the media kit for Katie's work on environmental gamification and her book How to Save the World here.


Click here for a folder of high resolution images or see @katiepatrickhello


Can gamification save the planet?

Games are a big deal. But can they save the planet?

This is the quest that Silicon Valley-based environmental engineer Katie Patrick has been pursuing in her recent book, How to Save the World: How to Make Changing the World the Greatest Game on Earth.

Since the recent tech startup boom, entrepreneurs have been investing in the art of getting their users to do stuff – triggering a renaissance in the field of behavioral psychology. Designers then took another step, looking to understand why games are so effective at getting their players hooked – and called this new approach gamification.

What happens when you put behavioral design, gamification, and technology entrepreneurship together with big environmental causes like climate change, air pollution, and deforestation? Can we change people's environmental behavior using gamification techniques? Can we make saving the world as fun as a game?

Katie calls this emerging movement "Fitbit for the Planet." She explains the value of showing people real-time data from sensors and satellites to teach them their environmental footprint – CO2, water, waste, pollution – just as a Fitbit shows you the number of steps you've taken.

"There is a powerful wave of environmental innovation building. We're building a distributed operating system for the planet, an Earth OS. When we show environmental data to humans in a real-time feedback loop, it becomes like game, and really gives them the feeling of agency that makes change happen. The "Fitbit for the Planet" movement holds great opportunity for startups, innovation, and environmental action, yet few people know yet what a big deal it is. I hope my book will help unlock our imagination to make gamified apps and projects that make saving the world the greatest game on Earth." 

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Contact Katie on 650-636-5794 or to schedule an interview

Silicon Valley is building an operating system for the planet

If you ask someone what the air pollution level is outside their home, how much CO2 their house released yesterday, or what percentage of their city is covered by vegetation, no one will be able to give you an answer, because no one really knows.

"There's been a lack of ability to get data about our constant and ever-changing environmental footprint. It's largely invisible to us," says Katie Patrick, an environmental engineer who specializes in what she calls "Fitbit for the Planet" design.

However, the gaps in this data are starting to be bridged. In her recent book, How to Save the World, Katie explores a new technology movement brewing in Silicon Valley. Companies such as Planet, Aclima, and Google Environmental Insights have made strong inroads into making such data available. A new project called TraCE, by Al Gore, is tracking greenhouse gas emissions using machine learning applied to satellite imagery.

The secret making this Planet OS or Earth OS movement so exciting lies in two things that have never happened before. The first is the real-timeness of available data – it updates quickly, like a Fitbit. The second is the granularity of this data – you can see air pollution or CO2 emissions not just for an entire city, but for each individual house, school, or office.

Katie is fascinated by using this data the way a game designer would use points or levels in a video game. She says,

"To influence people, it really helps to have the data updated instantly – as a kind of psychological reward – and when you can combine that with comparing one person, city, or business against another, you've got a toolkit of powerful psychological drivers to get people to change. We're moving into the age of the cybernetic Earth, where every pixel of the planet will be geo-tagged with data from satellites and vast networks of sensors upddating in real time. This data will be available to any app developer, game designer, community influencer, or NGO."

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Contact Katie on 650-636-5794 or to schedule an interview

The secrets to gamifying planet Earth

How do you design a game to save the Earth?

Katie Patrick's book How to Save the World takes a deep dive into how to apply game design techniques to environmental issues.

Here are the main concepts:

  • Feedback loops - collect real-time data and show it to people.
  • Agency - show the data to people in a way they can influence.
  • Disclosure - make the data public.
  • Social Comparison - compare household to household.
  • Behavior mapping - identify the specific behavior to influence.
  • Progress tracking - track a single "God" metric towards a goal.
  • Color grading - add color to the data, red meaning bad and green good.
  • Reward system (of the brain) - that's "giving the brain a cookie"
  • Ambient messaging - show data publicly on walls and billboards.

"I wrote this book as a manual to teach social impact entrepreneurs how to apply the techniques of game design, data feedback loops, and behavioral psychology to make important changes possible - and to show how we really can make saving the world as fun as a game."

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Professional Bio

Katie Patrick is an Australian-American environmental engineer, designer, and author of How to Save the World: How to Make Changing the World the Greatest Game We've Ever Played. and hosts the podcast, How to Save the World, where she investigates academic research in environmental psychologyShe specializes in what she calls “Fitbit for the Planet” design – which means applying data-driven gamification and behavior-change techniques to environmental problems. Katie has worked on environmental gamification projects with NASA JPL, Stanford University, UNEP, Google, the University of California, Magic Leap, and the Institute for the Future.

Katie is the founder of, a map-based application that uses satellite imaging of urban heat islands and vegetation cover to encourage urban greening and cooling initiatives. She is also the co-founder of Energy Lollipop, a Chrome extension and outdoor screen project that shows the electric grid's CO2 emissions in real-time.

Katie has been a media spokesperson on environmental issues and has been featured on TV, radio and in print publications including Vogue Australia. She was CEO of the VC-funded green-lifestyle magazine Green Pages Australia and was appointed environmental brand ambassador by the Ogilvy Earth advertising agency for Volkswagen, Lipton Tea and Wolfblass Wines.

She has served on the board of Australia’s national eco label,
Good Environmental Choice Australia, and won the Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year Award for entrepreneurship.  After graduating from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology with a B.Eng in Environmental Engineering, she worked as an environmental design engineer for building engineers Lincoln Scott in Sydney on some of the world’s first platinum-LEED-certified commercial buildings.

Katie lives in San Francisco with her young daughter, Anastasia.



Download the media kit for Katie's work on environmental gamification and her book How to Save the World here.

Contact Katie on 650-636-5794 or to schedule an interview.

TEDx talk

Katie recently gave her signature talk "Why Optimism and Creativity (Not Doom) Will Save the Planet" for TEDx San Luis Obispo at the Center for the Performing Arts at California Polytechnic University.