As the impacts of climate change become more noticeable over time, individuals may feel powerless to the physical effects on our communities. Variations in weather systems are often the first thing people notice: perhaps you observed heavy spring rainfalls increasing as your garden developed, or maybe you’ve seen opaque cumulonimbus clouds in the sky, indicating an increase in temperature? This is where Louisiana Entertainment’s ISeeChange app comes in: it allows you to post about your weather observations, record environmental data for a set day, and track climate change impacts within your community. Sharing these observations helps improve decision-making for mitigating climate change and creating community resilience.
Launched in 2012 as part of the Association for Independents in Radio’s first Localore initiative, the ultimate goal of ISeeChange is to empower communities globally to generate, document, and understand their own climate data. This will allow citizens to have a voice on which weather systems to monitor by making decisions based on localized climate patterns and how to adapt to them. This use of citizen science is essential in this instance, especially in data-insecure regions where information may not exist or is unreliable. ISeeChange solves this data problem as they generate temporal environmental datasets based on a given area. This strengthens community engagement and puts pressure on governmental agencies to take this information into account when writing laws or policies.
The ISeeChange toolset provides data analysis, mapping, modelling, and project design services that allow users to post their observations in real-time. These observations are automatically synced with remote sensing data, such as NASA satellite measurements of nearby CO2, year-to-year temperature anomalies, cloud cover, humidity, dew point, air pressure, and wind speed or direction. As more posts are uploaded, the database becomes more detailed. Community members can track how the environment is changing between seasons and years in their community to understand how and when to adapt to the ever-changing climate. To actively participate in research by ISeeChange’s partners, users can also observe more significant events such as flooding, coastal erosion, and extreme urban heat. This type of research within the app has resulted in five sensor and gauge projects, including the New Orleans Ran Gauges, Coastal Communities Range Gauges, New Orleans Heat Sensors, and North Carolina Tidal Gauges.
The digital geographies fostered in ISeeChange will help create a baseline for global communities in the future as climate change continues to intensify. This means that each citizen (provided they have access to a Smartphone) has the immediate ability to track their effect on Earth’s ecosystems and biodiversity over time. ISeeChange uses citizen science to create real change and local environmental policies, which helps governments achieve a clean, green and better future.
ISeeChange. (2020). Available online at https://www.iseechange.org/.
Nugent, J. 2018, “I See Change: Do you?”, Science Scope, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 24-25.
Sensors & Gauges. (2020). ISeeChange. Available online at https://www.iseechange.org/sensors.
Stories from ISeeChange (2020). ISeeChange. Available online at https://stories.iseechange.org/.
Photo by Courtenay Crane