This is one in a short series of monthnotes about our Neighbourhood Warmth project. It has also been crossposted on the blog of our project partner, Dark Matter Labs.
We wrapped up our first instalment of monthnotes with thoughts on how to tackle our overarching enquiry:
“How can we support communities to organise locally around a simple and achievable home energy action?”
Since then we’ve been sculpting the skeleton of a digital service that we’re planning to test in June. Currently it outlines the benefits of collaboration and enables neighbours to connect with each other, by forming teams.
Questions lead to questions
You may have noticed that our timescales have slipped a bit! After an initial burst of brainstorming we spotted an impending crunch and decided to extend our partnership for another month. This provided breathing space to organise workshops. And it allowed us to unpack a few questions that are bubbling up as we revisit the drawing board and iterate.
Here’s a flavour:
- How can digital technology facilitate purposeful connection, and on what basis (eg proximity, housing type, tenure, existing relationships or motivations)?
- What mechanisms enable teams to form, evolve and progress together?
- How strongly do we want to encourage a particular sequence of actions?
As we crumble these and related questions into more granular design decisions, we’re regularly referring back to the research questions in our plan for this Alpha phase to maintain focus. We’ve made strides on the first three, and our attention is now turning towards the remaining two:
- How a service like this could signal demand to the council or to retrofit organisations, to help build the supply of retrofit finance and services in an area.
- How a service like this could connect residents with suppliers for services across parts or whole of the retrofit journey.
I’m gonna get myself connected
We’ve also been laying foundations for the co-design workshops that we’ll use to test and learn with communities in Frome, Birmingham and hopefully at least one more location. Due to their distinctive characteristics, these communities allow us to run parallel experiments.
In Balsall Heath, John Christophers is at the heart of a community-led effort to make the most of government funding that involves Birmingham City Council, MECC Trust, Midlands Net Zero Hub to name a few.
And in Frome, thanks to funding from The National Lottery’s Climate Action Fund, the town council has partnered with the Centre for Sustainable Energy so that its Healthy Homes team can advise residents.
We’re interested to see how people’s perspectives on Neighbourhood Warmth may be shaped by these diverse contexts, histories and experiences. By shining light from different angles, we hope their responses will help us to resolve some of the questions that we’re still grappling with.
Thanks to generous engagement with fellow travellers on the road to community-led retrofit, our thinking continues to be stimulated in the meantime. Thanks to everyone who read and shared our previous monthnotes, and made time to meet in the interim.
In relation to the research questions above, we’re honoured to have been invited to drop in to the UK Green Building Council’s local authority retrofit forum. This is a golden opportunity to share our work with council officers. We’re curious to know how a richer picture of home energy action could bolster their efforts to support residents. If Neighbourhood Warmth provided a clearer view of demand, how could that help in the development of local supply chains? And zooming out a bit further, we’re exploring the potential for knock-on benefits at regional and national levels with the West Midlands Combined Authority.
As always, we’re all ears. So if you have thoughts please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and spread the word so that we get more feedback.
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Image: Brian Robert Marshall, via Geograph (CC BY-SA 2.0)
Once again it’s time for our monthly roundup of what the Climate team has been doing in the last, er, two months. Plenty to write about at least.
First on the list is another milestone in the journey towards Climate Emergency UK’s Council Climate Action Scorecards – the start of the Right of Reply process. All the marking of councils’ climate actions has been completed by CEUK’s small army of volunteers, and now it’s over to councils to have a look at the results and provide any feedback. We’ve also pulled in the data from Freedom of Information requests which was gathered using our WhatDoTheyKnow Pro platform so they can check that over too.
A second launch is the Local Intelligence Hub project we’ve been working on with The Climate Coalition, to help climate campaigners across the UK wrangle climate related data. There was a bunch of work in the run up to this to improve how we were displaying information on the map to make it more accessible, plus adding yet more data. Now that TCC members have access to this we’ll be gathering feedback to decide on future work, as well as adding more data, before a full public launch.
Meanwhile, our Neighbourhood Warmth project with partners Dark Matter Labs has been moving gently but steadily forward. We’ve been meeting with organisations in our three chosen pilot areas, and fleshing out some basic content and design before we put together a very minimal working alpha, to test out with real neighbours on real streets. We’ve been thinking critically about some of our initial ideas on how to connect people interested in making energy saving improvements to their home, and have broadened out our definition of “neighbourhood” from people on the same street to people nearby – to capitalise on the connections people might have across a slightly wider local area. Alongside this we’ve been working out how we’re going to get this in front of users to gather feedback once we have something to show. You can read more about this in our first set of Neighbourhood Warmth monthnotes.
We’ve also had an update on what our second Innovations in Climate Tech grantee has been up to.
In the background we’ve been moving forward with plans for our Festival of Debate session (book here) and doing some thinking about what our Climate Programme will look like in 2024 and beyond.
Finally, with the spring new councils have bloomed which means updating CAPE to include these new councils, and to guide people looking at the old councils to their replacements.
Image: Olli Kilpi
This is the first in a short series of monthnotes about our Neighbourhood Warmth project. It has also been crossposted on the blog of our project partner, Dark Matter Labs.
Month 0: It’s getting hot in here
Here’s a question posed by Immy Kaur at the Retrofit Reimagined event last year:
“What if the climate transition and retrofit of our homes and streets were designed, owned and governed by the people who live there?”
This is one of those simple questions that holds within it the potential for amazing, transformative consequences. And perhaps the first of those consequences? Dark Matter Labs and mySociety are kicking off a new partnership, with this proposition at its heart.
For the next few months we’ll be exploring how we might realise the Transitioning Together hypothesis, developed by Dark Matter Labs. Together, we’ll build on lessons from testing mySociety’s Neighbourhood Warmth prototype, developed during a series of prototyping weeks in 2022 (pictured below). And we’ll co-create solutions with communities, to test our riskiest assumptions about how collective action on home energy could be catalysed through civic technology.
But how did we get here?
mySociety’s prototyping weeks allowed their Climate Programme to quickly dip a toe into several potential areas where their skills and experience could have an effect. The purpose was to understand the potential of civic technology to propel local climate action in each field. External participants generously made time to share their experience and wisdom, guiding a path through jungles of challenges and opportunities. mySociety built prototypes and tested these on the final day of each week to gather feedback. These were synthesised into tentative insights, which were woven into reports.
Home energy felt like a particularly complex domain to navigate, despite benefiting from the hard-earned knowledge of pioneers like Jonathan Atkinson during the second prototyping week. This spurred additional research and engagement, to deepen mySociety’s analysis and to explore collaboration.
Eventually, the idea coalesced that collective action on home energy could overcome critical limitations of the default, individualist approach: from the user experience and motivations, learning, risk and its perception, to level of ambition and the economies of scale. This aligns with the first of three shifts in mySociety’s current strategy – to design for the needs of society, not just provide tools for individual citizens.
mySociety discovered a handful of trailblazing initiatives that gesture towards the power of coordinated efforts: for example, Carbon Co-op’s Levenshulme Area Based Retrofit Scheme and Connected Places Catapult’s Community Retrofit Service prototype — but no sign of a mature digital infrastructure to support a shift away from atomised action.
As mySociety edged forwards with their route of enquiry, one organisation’s work proved particularly illuminating: Dark Matter Labs, who suggest that a “systemic shift can be achieved by testing strategic interventions in the ‘dark matter’ of the retrofit ecosystem: through piloting and proving out new infrastructures, new standards, new legal patterns, or new institutions.”
Dark Matter Labs’ explorations around the entanglement of home energy with questions of democracy and justice chime with core concerns for mySociety — for a flavour, check out ‘A Right to Retrofit’.
Their approach is a perfect fit for mySociety’s experimental spirit, and together we’re excited to be exploring how our work could be greater that the sum of its parts.
Friction leads to fire
Right now we’re crafting a plan to build a functioning version of our Neighbourhood Warmth prototype. This is geared to answer the immediate question that we’re trying to address by the end of May:
“How can we support communities to organise locally around a simple and achievable home energy action?”
We believe there is a role for a civic digital platform that supports the process of community coalescing and organising, to open doors to the benefits of collective retrofit.
Once we’ve built something that people can interact with, we’re planning to test it in a few communities — a mix of places to learn how different contexts make for different outcomes.
In the final phase, we’ll analyse these lessons and start thinking about where this might go next — perhaps we’ll carry on and build some sort of fully-functioning digital service in this domain.
If we do, questions will inevitably arise about how people might discover it. We’d love to hear thoughts on that and on this work as a whole, so please get in touch and share this in any relevant communities. Thanks!
Image: Belinda Fewings
It finally feels like Spring is in the air, and you know it’s been a busy start to the year when we’re rolling the first two months into one set of monthnotes – in the middle of March!
So, what have we been up to?
Well – we’ve been adding datasets to and testing our alpha version of the Local Intelligence Hub tool that we built with The Climate Coalition. Feedback has been really good and this feels like something that’s really going to level up the ability of UK climate organisations to share data and coordinate their actions, at both a local and national level. We hope to share more about this project in the coming months, once it’s been made available to TCC members.
We submitted talks to a couple of conferences/events – and lo and behold, we’ll be in Sheffield (and online) for the Festival of Debate on May 24, with a panel of exceptional guests. Our topic? “What if you could reshape democracy for the better — and you had 20 years to do so?” Climate is sure to be part of the answer. Fancy joining us? Book here.
Between all this we’ve been working hard with our friends at Climate Emergency UK on the next round of the Council Climate Scorecards. Their draft methodology was released in November 2022, and the first round of marking started in January 2023. Part of our support has included building a Django application to store the marking data – and this has already dramatically improved the experience for Climate Emergency UK’s volunteers.
Climate Emergency UK are also working with mySociety’s Transparency team, using WhatDoTheyKnow Projects (a WhatDoTheyKnow Pro beta feature that helps researchers crowdsource data out of batch FOI requests) to gather some of the data for the scoring. All their FOI requests will be published on WhatDoTheyKnow later this year.
Our IICT grants are coming to an end soon – we’ve put out a blog post about Lynsted Community Kitchen Garden and the data they’re collecting with the weather station we funded. They have a public event on March 25 if anyone lives near Lynsted and wants to visit to check it out! Updates from Possible and Better Futures should be coming soon.
On the research side, we launched our report on unlocking the value of fragmented public data, which is part of our work into the data ecosystem around climate data. Our plan over the next few months is to support a few research commissions which link in to this report and help to show use of climate data.
We’ve confirmed a partnership with Dark Matter Labs – we’ll be moving forward with them and our Neighbourhood Warmth prototype, exploring how we could encourage neighbours to come together to take their first retrofit action, such as getting a house survey. We’ll be building a working prototype over the next few weeks, then testing it out with communities in three pilot areas around the UK, to ensure that what we’re building makes sense to the people we’re aiming to serve.
And finally, we met up in person! We had a team meeting in early February which was a wonderful chance for us all to take stock of the last year, and discuss the future. We’ve been making some plans for year 3 of the Climate programme and after widening our scope through prototyping, now we’re going to be focusing back in again on building and proving the impact of the services we’re running.
That’s a very whistlestop tour of our first months of 2023!
Image: Daniel James
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
November was another busy month for our Climate programme, with progress on a number of fronts – from the return of an old friend, in the shape of the Council Climate Scorecards; to the development of two new ones, as a result of our prototyping process earlier this year. We’ve also been working hard to share our data and tools with new audiences. Here’s a quick round up:
Constituency data for climate campaigners
As Alexander mentioned in October, we’ve been working on a Beta version of platform that brings together data about MPs, constituencies, and local climate action, as part of a project with The Climate Coalition. The aim is to help campaigners at both national and local levels to understand where to focus their efforts on enabling real local action on climate goals.
This month—thanks to the involvement of not only Struan and Alexander but also Graeme, on loan from our Transparency programme—we’ve made lots of progress, adding the features and importing the datasets we’ll need for testing out the minimum viable product with target users in the New Year. I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months!
Exposing high-emissions local authority contracts
Another service that’s come out of one of our earlier prototyping weeks is ‘Contract Countdown’, which aims to give citizens advance notice of large, high-emissions local authority contracts that might be expiring in six, 12, or more months.
This November, Alexander finished developing the final pieces of a working Alpha version – including the use of real contracts from UK Contracts Finder and the Find A Tender service, and pulling in the details of local authority climate officers and councillors with climate/environment responsibilities (so we could test the idea of helping users contact these representatives).
And Siôn and I have been testing the alpha with target users – including local and national journalists, local authority climate officers and procurement officers, and local climate activists. We aim to continue getting feedback on the Alpha throughout December, and maybe January, after which point we can make a decision on whether to develop and launch a full service later in 2023.
Climate Action Scorecards 2023
Speaking of next year, preparations are already underway for next year’s follow-up to the Council Climate Scorecards project—this month saw Lucas and I work with Climate Emergency UK to design and publish their draft methodology for the assessment that will begin next year.
With CEUK’s assessors now looking at councils’ climate actions, in addition to their plans, we wanted to make it as easy as possible to understand precisely which questions your local authority will be scored on. I think we came up with a nice solution, where you can filter the list of draft questions by your local authority name or postcode, as well as by local authority type.
Sharing our data and tools
In other news, Alex updated our deprivation and urban/rural classification datasets to show relative figures for local authorities and Westminster parliamentary constituencies. We also published a local authorities lookup dataset that makes it easy to convert between the many names and codes used to identify local authorities.
If you want to use these new datasets—or any of our data in fact—Alex runs drop-in office hours on Thursdays and Fridays to talk about just that. We’re also happy to help collect or analyse climate-related data for free, as part of our work on supporting the UK’s climate data ecosystem – you can read more about that here.
Speaking of data ecosystems, you’ll now find a number of mySociety’s open climate datasets listed in Subak’s Data Catalogue, and Icebreaker One’s OpenNetZero catalogue.
Finally, Myf and Siôn in particular have continued to share and talk about our tools, and how people are using them to support local climate action, this month. Highlights include attending the Natural History Consortium’s Communicate conference; giving a hands-on workshop about all of mySociety’s tools for London’s small charities and community groups at Superhighways’ “Where’s The Power In Data” conference; and publishing a really exciting case study about how an officer at Surrey County Council used CAPE to share experiences and best practices with other similar councils elsewhere the UK.
Whilst the days get shorter, October is already over. Here’s what the Climate team has been up to this month!
This month, we ran our second Innovations in Climate Tech event. It went well! Some project ideas from the first event began to build up momentum and excitement, and we closed our applications for grants at 23:59 on the last day of October. That means we’ll be announcing our decisions very soon! If you want to find out more about how the event went, check out Myf’s post here.
Myf graduated from the Weston Communicating Climate programme, and is feeding back to the team everything she’s learnt. It was an in-depth course, where she’s picked up lots of very valuable information to help us use communications around climate as effectively as possible.
Off the back of our prototyping weeks over the year, we have been continuing developing.
Struan’s been working on development of the Local Intelligence Hub (which you can read about the prototype of here), and we look forward to borrowing Graeme from the Transparency team over the coming month to help bring this to life.
Meanwhile, Alexander has been working on Contract Countdown (with the prototype report for that here), getting it ready for focus groups, which Siôn has been hard at work to start getting together.
Our partners, Climate Emergency UK are working on their methodology for measuring actual climate action from councils. This is for the next iteration of their climate scorecards site, which up until now has only assessed councils’ plans rather than what progress they’ve made in implementing those plans. Full details of the criteria they’re working to will be released in November, before they dive into the rigorous process of scoring.
The Climate Action Plan Explorer is going to be undergoing some improvements – Myf has been looking at how to make the tool more accessible for non-specialist users and the team are now beginning to see how that can feed into development. Look out for changes between now and December.
The Climate team has recently started to experiment with “fallow sprints”. Placing them at either end of a cycle, they’re allowing the team time to plan, and regroup, ready for the next sprint. This is helping us to feel more focussed in our work, and seems to be doing good for the team as a whole.
Even as the nights get longer and the days get colder, we’re not slowing down, so if you can’t get enough of what we’re up to, you can sign up to our newsletter to get updates in your inbox!
Image: Jonathan Cutrer (CC by-nc/2.0)
As we move into the season of the falling leaves, we look back on the activities that fell in September.
Most importantly we welcomed Alexander to the team, doubling both our developer count and the number of people on the team named Alex.
Events dear boy, events
We ran an event! About Climate Tech! It seemed to go quite well. There’s lots of detail in the blog post and links so you can rewatch people from Wiltshire to Copenhagen talking about how they used technology to help with everything from green roofs to community consultation.
The post also contains details of our follow up event about the small grants (£5,000) we have available for local councils and partners for trialling ideas for tackling climate change.
Internally we spent a bit of time thinking about how we might use some futures scenarios to test out our plans and explore any unspoken assumptions we might have about the way the world works. Failing that we could always use said scenarios to help run a creative writing workshop on dystopian fiction.
The work goes on
We have come to the end of our prototyping weeks and we’re now starting to look at exploring some of them in more detail. The focus at the moment is on home energy, procurement and our most recent prototyping work with The Climate Coalition.
On the home energy front, Siôn has been continuing to speak to potential partners in the area while we work out the best way to turn this work into something concrete. If encouraging local communities to come together and improve the energy efficiency of their homes sounds interesting to you then get in touch.
Wasting no time, Alexander has been unknotting procurement and contracts data in order to turn our Contract Countdown prototype into something a little more functional. We’re still at an early stage with this, trying to work out if it’s practical to keep the data current. We’ll also be looking to show the more useful version to some potential users to see if it’s a service that has value.
Finally, we started work with The Climate Coalition on a beta of a tool to help them corral a range of data to more effectively help climate groups with campaigning. So far we’ve largely been talking about what data is both useful and available, and how to link it all up.
In non-prototyping work we’ve continued to chat to Climate Emergency UK about next year’s follow up to the Council Climate Plan Scorecards. This is very much in the planning stage at the moment.
Previously in blog posts
One of the side effects of our work on Climate is we’ve gathered a lot of data which we’d like more people to use. Alex wrote both about the data we have and also the process we use to gather and publish it. The first of these is of interest to anyone who would like some nice data, while the second is considerably more technical.
Speaking of people using our data, Myf published the latest in our series of case studies on how people are doing just that. This month it’s the turn of the Brighton Peace and Environment centre who’ve been using CAPE and the Council Climate Plan Scorecards to help with visualising council’s progress towards their Net Zero targets.
As ever, if you’ve used any of our data we’d love to hear from you. It helps us with both prioritising future work as well as when talking to current and potential funders.
While gathering all this data we’ve had some thoughts. Alex has started to work with the Centre for Public Data to turn these thoughts into some recommendations. There’s a survey!
If you’d like this sort of thing in your inbox then you can sign up to our monthly climate newsletter by clicking the subscribe link at the top right of that page.
Image: Mott Rodeheaver
We’re now six days into September. We’re feeling a strong ‘back to school’ vibe after the long summer in which many of the team were away on annual leave at one point or another.
Prototyping is behind us and we’re shifting our focus to what we want to achieve in the last six months of the (project) year. Let’s take a quick look back at August and see what we achieved.
Innovations in Climate Tech event
We’ve been working flat out on finalising our agenda and speakers for our showcase event on 21st September. The lineup of speakers is shaping up to be really exciting, and they’ll be introducing key themes such as equity, diversity & inclusion, spatial planning, adaptation and engagement – all of which should spark some interesting new inspiration for councils.
Don’t forget, if you’re a local council working on climate change, and you spot a project in the event that you might like to trial, there’s the chance to bid for one of three £5,000 grants to help make it happen.
We’ve also been inviting people to the event and spreading the word. We’re running it as an affiliate event in Code for All’s amazing week-long Summit, packed full of other compelling climate presentations. So don’t just stop at our event, take a look at the full schedule and sign up for any that interest you – they’re all free, and it’s a great opportunity to learn more about what the global civic tech community is up to, in topics from climate and democracy to countering fake news and mass surveillance!
August was a light week for development, as Struan, our developer, enjoyed a well-earned break in Italy. (Travelling there by train, of course, and earning time back as part of our Climate Perks policy!)
He’s back now, and just in time to welcome our newest developer, Alexander, to the team. Together they’ve picked up work on the next stages of our prototype around the transparency of council procurement, Contract Countdown. Once the more developed prototype is live with real data in it, we’ll put a call out for journalists to help us test our assumptions, as part of a first focus group.
And finally we ran a stakeholder meeting around the Neighbourhood Warmth prototype – this was interesting and helped us start to shape our thoughts on where we could go next. We’ll be solidifying those over the next few months and hopefully forming a couple of strong partnerships which will help drive our thinking forward. Development on the next stage of this will start in January 2023.
Final prototyping week
We ran our final prototyping week in partnership with The Climate Coalition in early August, looking at how better data about local climate action, citizens, and MPs could help organisations campaign for better climate outcomes. We had a massive amount of input from a wide range of national organisations and local community groups – thank you to everyone who took part! The outcomes of the week were really exciting and we’ll be publishing a short write-up in September.
Now that our services have really bedded in and people are discovering how useful they can be, we’re able to produce a steady stream of case studies. The hope is that these inspire other folk to use CAPE and the Scorecards site for their own organisations.
This month we’ve spoken to a professor using both services in her research on healthcare and climate; and a charity dedicated to making school dinners more sustainable. There are still more varied and interesting case studies coming soon.
A whole episode of Delib’s Practical Democracy podcast was dedicated to Myf and Siôn as together they explained our work – do have a listen if you like a chatty approach when taking things in!
And our climate newsletter is now a regular monthly fixture – you can sign up from that link (top left of your browser) if you’d like to receive these in your email inbox.
Image: Pascal Debrunner
There’s lots, as ever, to report from the Climate team this month, so I’ll try to pick some highlights… this time with a Shakespearean flavour, as I (mySociety’s Liverpool correspondent) celebrate the opening of the Shakespeare North Playhouse in the nearby town of Prescot. May the bard’s lyrical visions propel us into a summer of climate action!
All things are ready, if our mind be so
In the previous monthnotes Jen trailered Innovations in Climate Tech – our online, half-day event, featuring inspirational examples and discussion about how civic tech projects are supporting climate action around the world, and how we might be able to seed more projects like this, with the cooperation of local authorities, here in the UK.
This month Jen’s been lining up speakers for the event (which takes place on 21st September), and Siôn has been planning how we can use workshops in the second half of the event to share best practice and build more connections between technologists and local authority officials.
If you’re from a local authority, or you’ve been involved in a climate-related technology project, and you’d like to share your work at the event, there’s still time to submit a proposal for inclusion in the programme.
We’re also excited to find we’ve been accepted to speak at the upcoming Code for All 2022 Summit (also happening in September), so we’re looking forward to working our sessions there into our wider plan for building connections between the climate and civic tech communities.
And finally, to complete the Summer events trifecta, we’ve been laying plans for an informal online get-together about energy efficiency and retrofit, since it’s proved such a popular subject during our prototyping weeks, and we’d really like to find the most impactful contribution we could make in the space, especially with fuel costs expected to continue rising well into 2023. If this interests you, share your availability for the week in which we’re planning to meet and join our climate updates newsletter to hear how things develop.
Once more unto the breech dear friends
All good things must come to an end – and our series of six rapid prototyping weeks has certainly been a good thing! This month we’ve been preparing for the final week in the series, focussing on how improved collection and sharing of MP, constituency, and local climate action data, between environmental charities and organisations, could enhance public understanding of climate challenges and solutions, and build networks across local communities.
We’re really excited to be working on this with a number of really big names in the space—including The Climate Coalition, Green Alliance, Friends of the Earth, the Wildlife Trusts, Hope for the Future, WWF, and Climate Outreach—and we’re really excited to see what recommendations come out of the week.
We’re also putting the final touches to our write-ups of the last two prototyping weeks (on fair transition and energy efficiency for private rental tenants) and will be posting them on our Climate Prototyping page shortly.
Friends, romans, countrymen, lend us your ears!
Siôn has been sharing our procurement and energy efficiency prototypes with a whole range of organisations, getting their input on next steps we should take, and potential collaboration opportunities. So far we’re excited to have met with the Centre for Local Economic Strategies, UK Green Building Council, Architects Climate Action Network, Living Rent, Energy Local, Connected Places Catapult and Citizens UK.
Meanwhile, Myf has been renewing our efforts to promote CAPE to journalists, as one of the core audiences where we think up-to-date, accessible data on local authority climate action could really enable a new level of scrutiny and cross-pollination of climate actions around the UK. We’re looking to potentially speak at a few journalism conferences in the coming months, and we’re planning to prepare a set of online resources that might give journalists an idea of how they can use our data to find stories.
We also presented CAPE and the Scorecards at Friends of the Earth’s Environmental Data for Change event—which I was honoured to be asked to facilitate on FoE’s behalf—right at the end of June. It was an absolutely packed call, which left everyone buzzing with ideas for the future. We’re continuing to work with Friends of the Earth, and other attendees from the event, on how we take the this great momentum, and shape a community of practice around sharing and building on the rich environmental data available in the UK, to power more informed climate action.
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash.