Using digital tools to understand and respond to environmental change

HVM has been delighted to work with the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) to pilot a public dialogue process on the digital environment. We were joined by citizens in London and Swindon to find out what they thought and felt about the opportunities and issues involved in using networked sensors, satellites, citizens science apps and a whole range of other digital tools to help NERC funding decisions on the environment.

One of the programme objectives was that the dialogue should be enjoyable and worthwhile for the participants. Which was music to HVM ears as we used all sorts of fun and engaging activities to allow people’s voices to be heard on these issues, including:

  • An opportunity to create a small or large scale environmental tracker to address the key challenges identified by participants - people created watches, apps, large-scale satellite monitoring and networked sensors to understand air and water quality as well as to monitor pollution and respond to climate change

  • Putting participants in charge of NERC funding priorities to highlight the areas they find most pressing

  • Using maps, film clips and animations to inform and provoke discussions.

I had fun and enjoyed my time. I felt that my opinions mattered.
— London Round 2 workshop participant

We’re now working with NERC to create some communication tools to highlight our dialogue findings . The findings report and independent evaluation will be published in the autumn.