Earthwatch Europe is a partner in the NERC Community for Engaging Environments (NC4EE) project. The aim of the project is to help scientists use innovative methods, including citizen science, to transform how they engage the public with environmental research.
The world is facing many urgent environmental challenges, such as climate change and water pollution. We know that the public want to help tackle these issues, and that scientists need to involve the public in their work. However, public engagement to date has mostly been a ‘one-way street’ of scientists telling the public about their research. This often doesn’t satisfy the desire of many people to be actively involved in solving environmental problems, leading to apathy or distrust towards science.
What is NC4EE?
The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK’s largest funder of environmental science, has launched the NERC Community for Engaging Environments (NC4EE) project. The project is designed to build the skills and confidence of NERC-funded researchers, allowing them to collaborate with people from all walks of life. This will open up environmental research for all and empower communities to get involved in tackling environmental challenges.
Current public engagement activities can sometimes inadvertently exclude certain groups of people who do not traditionally engage with science. To address this, NC4EE is taking an innovative approach which combines community development, storytelling, and citizen science. By using imaginative public engagement methods, researchers will be able to help diverse communities get involved in discussing and tackling environmental issues.
The aim of the NC4EE project is to provide learning opportunities for NERC’s research community, in order to transform public engagement to benefit both scientists and the public. With the public’s help, scientists will be able to gather essential data for their research and to inform policy. Better engagement with researchers will also motivate communities and provide them with the tools and knowledge they need to make a positive impact for the environment.
Earthwatch has a long history of connecting the public with environmental issues through our citizen science projects. We’re very excited to be a part of the NC4EE project working with a range of universities, charities, and social enterprises. During the project, we will be sharing our expertise in using citizen science to bring communities together.