Climate monthnotes: December 2022

It’s a new year, but let’s not overlook the work we did at the end of the last one. Here’s a quick run-down.

Preparing for a storm of activity

Our partners Climate Emergency UK have been busy recruiting volunteers to mark councils on their climate action for the next phase of the Scorecards project. To help with this ambitious data-gathering exercise,  Alex and Struan have been developing a basic web interface for CE UK’s volunteers to use while doing that marking — thus saving them the pain of filling data in across seven different spreadsheets. 

If you’d like to experience the joy of not filling in seven spreadsheets, there’s still time to join this year’s volunteers.

Helping people understand how to use our stuff

We’re rolling out some changes to CAPE that will make it easier for non-experts to understand what it is and how to use it — lots more to come on this front. Basically we’d like climate-concerned citizens to be able to land on the site and immediately understand what they can find there, and how it could be useful to them.

And while we’re doing so, we’ve decided it’s called CAPE. No trotting out ‘Climate Action Plan Explorer’ every time we mention it (although of course we’re happy to explain the derivation if people ask). It just feels easier this way.

And making sure they can find it in the first place

Meanwhile we’ve been briefing an agency to buff up our Adwords, which are provided to us free by Google, to be more effective in bringing in the kind of user that those changes will benefit. They’ll be looking at the keywords people type in when they’re interested in the sort of service CAPE provides; and the messaging that can persuade them to click through to the site and learn more.

It’s a relief to be able to hand this over, as keeping up with Google’s various changes in best practice and new features is definitely a full time job in itself, and one we haven’t had much time for in recent years.

Ads can’t do everything though — sometimes you need to talk to your potential audiences! In last month’s notes we mentioned taking part in the What’s The Power In Data event from Trust For London, showing our tools to small London charities. All the sessions, including ours, can now be viewed on YouTube — hopefully that means our insights can have an even more lasting effect.

Embracing the future

Alex met with Faculty AI to put in motion plans for welcoming a data scientist into our fold on a six-week fellowship: we’re keen to ensure the experience is useful for both sides so he’s been putting quite a bit of thought into what machine learning could usefully do for our Climate programme, without taking us on too much of a diversion from our core work. 

Proving our impact

We’re continuing to write up nice usages of our services as we find out about them (if they’re feeding into your work in any way, please do drop us a line and let us know). In our latest case study we chat to The Commitment to discover how they’re hoping to secure climate pledges from MPs, with the help of their constituents, ie you!

It’s nice that we’ve been continuing to gather proof of impact, since we met with our new grant manager from the National Lottery Community Fund (NLCF) last month, too. Obviously it’s desirable to be able to show what effect our work is having — and of course we hope that case studies also inspire new directions in others as well.

Mince pies all round

Before we all went off for our holidays, we found out that mySociety had won an award — for Outstanding Contribution to Democratic Change, no less. What a nice way to mark the end of the year! Not only that, but CE UK were also shortlisted in the Democratic Innovation category, for their Scorecards work.

That certainly put a smile on our faces as we set up the out of office reminders and went off to crank up the Crimbo music and put the brussels sprouts on to boil. A good week or two’s holiday was enjoyed by all — and now here we are, refreshed and back for another year of Climate innovation.



Image: Yang Shuo