#OurChangingClimate develops digital networks of the local, everyday ways that communities are experiencing climate change
The communities forecast to be the most vulnerable to climate change should play a role in examining, problematizing and designing alternatives to current notions of climate crisis, vulnerability and adaptability. Digital humanities, participatory design, and social networking can all play important roles in engaging with subjective meaning and representations of climate change with vulnerable communities. This approach can incorporate story-telling and story-making alongside fact-finding in climate change research. In addition, it can re-focus the conversation on climate change from global- and regional-scaled environmental and physical impacts to one that recognizes the importance of the personal and everyday ways in which community members experience these impacts. #OurChangingClimate is a participatory design project that encourages diverse communities to observe and critique their everyday environment through the lens of climate change, and to share those experiences through social media.
The ultimate goal of this project is to develop community capacity to evaluate their own environments and advocate for community resilience. #OurChangingClimate began in March 2014 as a pilot project supported by the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI), the Hellman Family Foundation, and in collaboration with the Oakland-based community organization, Institute for Sustainable Economic, Education, and Environmental Design (I-SEEED). In the pilot phase, researchers conducted two half-day workshops with youth groups affiliated with I-SEEED. The first workshop introduced participants to environmental science perspectives on climate change, the methods for reading and interpreting urban landscapes in light of climate change, and finally brainstormed ideas for additional indicators relevant to their experiences of their communities.
During the six week period between workshops, participants and the researchers contributed representations of climate change through their own social media accounts. Contributions were aggregated through the use of the hashtag #OurChangingClimate. In the second workshop, participants and researchers reconvened to analyze themes and meaning in the content they had created and to reflect on the impact of the project on participants. Some of the predominant themes included environmental justice, race, public health, and food security. In their reflections, participants described a greater awareness of their surroundings, and a greater sense of agency around climate change.
Since our pilot phase, the project has grown with support of the University of California’s Climate Action Champion Award and the UC Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Socieyt’s (CITRIS) Tech for Social Good Grant. We’ve held workshops throughout the State of California, in Austin, Texas and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Want to learn more about getting involved? Please reach out we'd love to talk to you.
Meet the #OurChangingClimate Team
N. Claire Napawan
"You must draw linkages between people’s interests and the changing world around them."
N. Claire Napawan is an Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design within the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California Davis. Her research focuses on the investigation of urban public landscapes and their role in supporting community resilience.
"Everything is related to climate change. Everything."
Brett Snyder, AIA is a principal of Cheng+Snyder and an Associate Professor of Design at the University of California, Davis. Snyder works at and researches the intersection of architecture, media, and graphics with a particular interest in urban spaces.
"The key to resilience is community participation."
Sheryl-Ann Simpson is an Assistant Professor within the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California Davis. Her research focuses on the relationships between governments and communities.
- Project launched
- Initial partnership establisehd with community-based non-profit, Institute for Sustainable Economic, Education, and Environmental Design (I-SEEED)
- Generous funding support from the University of California Humanities Research Institute's (UCHRI) Public Partnerships in Humanities Grant and the Hellman Family Foundation
- First community-based workshops held with San Francisco Bay Area youth groups
- Project presentation at the Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA) annual conference in Los Angeles
- #OurChangingClimate digital invitation film launched
- #OurChangingClimate project team named one of University of California Davis' Climate Action Champions
- #OurChangingClimate website launched, with support of the University of California's Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) Tech for Social Good grant
- Project presentation at the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture (CELA) annual conference in Salt Lake City
- Workshop held for University of California Davis community, including faculty, staff, and students
- Workshop held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in collaboration with the Imagining America annual conference and the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Environmental Design
- Project selected as a finalist for the South by Southwest (SXSW) Eco Place by Design competition in the category of Equity + Inclusion
- Workshop held at the 2017 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) in Santa Barbara
- Workshops planned for Sacramento and Coachella Valley regions in collaboration with community partners
- Exhibition planned for the Imagining America annual conference in Davis, CA
- Workshops planned in various North American, European, and Southeast Asian cities in collaboration with community partners
- #OurChangingClimate is an expanding project, thanks to its diverse participants and generous contributors