How we can overcome climate illiteracy

January 12, 2022
min reading time

How we can overcome climate illiteracy

In today's world, everyone thinks in terms of numbers, costs and budgets. We learn to manage resources like time and money, but neglect one of the most important resources: our CO2 budget. Our colleagues from worldwatchers talked to Dr. Thomas Franke, Professor of Engineering Psychology & Cognitive Ergonomics and his research assistant Mourad Zoubir about their project (ClimateCrafting.SH), the next steps and their opinion about the worldwatchers climate compass.

Why was the project created and what are its goals?

The urgency of climate change makes it necessary to mobilize all available resources and solutions. And digitization in particular could unleash great potential for climate protection here - for example, through digital tools that make climate protection as easy as possible for us in our everyday lives. But technology can only develop its potential if it really is optimally designed for people and can therefore be used easily. Or to put it another way: climate protection equals technical potential times user behavior.

In ClimateCrafting.SH, we are working on a toolkit for developers and other stakeholders so that assistance systems (like CO2e trackers) work with science-based design guidelines and indicators that actually take people's needs and constraints into account.

What does this project mean for you, for the University of Lübeck and for everyone involved?

The most exciting aspect of the project is the particularly strong exchange with citizens. We are using a so-called "citizen science" approach here and collecting perspectives from people from different walks of life in an ideas competition (as well as with accompanying surveys). This is essential because the range of individual life situations and needs is so wide - what we as researchers might consider important is rather irrelevant for user A and absolutely necessary for user B. This diversity can help our research. Our research and all future users of digital tools for climate protection can only benefit from this diversity.

What's next?

Our #ClimathonSH is coming up soon, where digital solution approaches are to be developed from the submissions of the ideas competition and other ideas. The hackathon will take place from June 26 to June 28; registration starts from June 1 on our website www.climate-crafting.orgWe're making it an open hackathon - which means you don't have to be a programmer to participate!

Otherwise, we continue to conduct accompanying user studies. For example, we develop and compare dynamic CO2 trackers with static CO2 calculators, or investigate the effect of mental stress or time pressure on climate-friendly behavior in everyday life.

What do you think of the worldwatchers climate compass? What tips would you like to share with us?

We find your principle of "doing" good and important. Our project is called ClimateCrafting - so it's not about taking climate protection off the users' hands, but about empowering people to take climate protection into their own hands.

Your focus on usability and the orientation towards the user experience is also something we can only emphasize positively and we look forward to further exchanges with you in this area.

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