Our Changing Climate is an environmental design intervention engaging communities in exploration, documentation, and dialogue about the local effects and experiences of climate change. The impacts of climate change are well known to the academics who study them. To the average individual, however, predicted environmental change can be difficult to grasp, especially when they are described through regional and global effects such as species loss, ice cap melts, seasonal temperature and weather changes, and sea level rise. There is a need to better understand the sometime-subtle, local, and everyday ways in which people are experiencing climate change, as these impacts are often uneven disproportionately impacting socially and economically vulnerable populations, in particular urban youth. Our Changing Climate addresses the need for local perspectives by utilizing existing social network and digital media tools to establish a digital community network to 1. Provide community members with the ability to better visualize the direct impacts of climate change within their immediate surroundings; 2. Create opportunities to contribute images and narratives to community-generated neighborhood resilience mapping; and 3. Encourage communities to participate in on-going local conversations about climate change resilience.
The University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI) Community Partnerships Grant supports the first phase of the project: a collaboration with the Oakland-based Institute for Sustainable Economic, Education, and Environmental Design (I-SEEED) to engage community youth to help design, contribute to, and use the Our Changing Climate digital community network. The research team will work with community youth to develop the digital community network incorporating social media tools youth already use with the goal of making the network easy to use and highly accessible. The project launched in March 2015 with a San Francisco Bay Area Youth-based workshop to integrate climate change impacts with issues that youth currently care about. This includes linking climate change vulnerability with issues of race, public health, environmental justice, food security, environmental design, and much more. Utilizing a combination of social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), aggregators (Tagboard, Storify, etc), and participatory maps, the youth developed digital narratives that share their personal experiences of climate change.
Read their stories here:
Co-Principal Investigators: Brett Snyder, Sheryl-Ann Simpson, N. Claire Napawan
Collaborators: Nicholas deMonchaux, Institute for Sustainable Economic, Education, and Environmental Design (I-SEEED), and Diego Verduzco
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