Does blogging about single occupancy car use actually make a difference to NZ’s CO2 emissions? Can a kauri tree with its own face book page engender greater empathy for the environment? Can a river tweet when it’s running dry? Social media are being used to campaign, to publicise, to commentate on world events and to connect communities in ongoing conversations about the environment.
In Landcare Research, we use these technologies to create and share knowledge and to support people working together. So how does social media contribute to taking care of NZ’s environment? This collection records, maps and helps us analyse our use of social media; what we are learning; and how it contributes to NZ’s prosperity.
In the lead up to the NZ Climate Change Centre's December 6th 2010 workshop Degrees of Possibility: igniting social knowledge around climate change I have started gathering stories of how people in NZ are making sense of climate change.
I began by documenting the reflections of social scientists, there are currently a number of conversations occurring across researchers in NZ ( and internationally) about the contributions of social science to issues of climate change. There is debate about a need for more social research to 'help people understand climate science' to shift policy to 'move towards a low carbon economy' and to 'change practices and institutions' to make more visible existing possibilities for living more sustainably.
Prof. Richard Le Heron (Vice President - Social Science and Humanities- Royal Society of New Zealand) identifies a shift in how people are understanding society's relationships with environments through climate change debates.
Prof. Jan Bebbington (St Andrews University, Scotland) discusses moving towards a low carbon economy from a policy, academic and personal perspective.
Dr Yvonne Underhill-Sem (Director, Centre for Development Studies, University of Auckland), asserts climate change is a development issue. NZ has an obligation to find ways of reducing emissions due to its history of development and relationships with the Pacific.
With the idea of giving a taste of the conversation at the workshop I have posted three videos to the workshop website. These videos are attached here. Please let me know what you think of them, you can post comments on the youtube site they are housed on.
Exploring a long-term future for Christchurch together
Over 850 people from New Zealand and around the world took part in Magnetic South, an online discussion about the long-term future of Christchurch. It began on Friday 24 June and ended just over a day later. Almost 9,000 ideas were generated on how the city might recover from its recent earthquakes. That’s about six a minute, though at times it was many more. It highlights a genuine community commitment to engage in the exciting opportunity to rebuild the city in a way that will continue to attract talent and investment.
Since the game came to an abrupt end, we've released the data under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand License. We would love to see people use the data to create their own visualisations and analyses. Feel free to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon this dataset. We just ask that you give appropriate credit to Landcare Research and the Institute for the Future for the data. Download the data here.
Magnetic South: an online discussion game
Magnetic South was an online idea-generating game designed to help people explore the future together. Players could join for five hours or five minutes to explore what the future will be like, and what this will mean for the decisions we make for our city. Drawing on the collected knowledge and creativity of everyone playing to spotlight unexpected challenges, the game helped to reveal new solutions to keep Christchurch vibrant and thriving in the next few decades.
Magnetic South was one of the Share an Idea suite of initiatives. It was hosted on the ‘Foresight Engine’ platform created by the world-leading Institute for the Future to support people thinking together about issues that are important to them in a way that is both productive and fun.
For more information about Magnetic South