Confrontation with the far-reaching consequences of climate change is requiring governments around the world to act and to introduce extensive adaptation and climate mitigation measures within their state’s boundaries. The implementation of such measures within a democratic state such as Bavaria, however, can only be successful if its citizens consider them to be legitimate, reasonable and achievable. Under the slogan “Creating Knowledge – Promoting Perception – Communicating Complexity”, the new BAYSICS citizen-science platform thus seeks to create hands-on experiences for select target groups (e.g. people seeking outdoor recreation opportunities, people affected by pollen allergies, nature-loving citizens, pupils) that will allow for the visualization of climate change effects as a result of observations made within people’s own backyards. Empirical, experimental and theoretical research methods from the fields of natural science, environmental education and environmental sociology, along with modern crowdsourcing media, will be employed to attract a variety of user groups and to spread awareness about climate impacts, adaptation and protection measures.
By use of innovative, technology-driven methods, BAYSICS thus enables a broad involvement of the public in science and research. Its cooperative design and participatory approach create opportunities for inquiry-based learning that help to educate locals about the complexity of climate change within their own communities. Characterized by a combination of scientific and environmental education goals, the joint project will cooperate closely with international, national and regional stakeholder groups including schools, teacher training institutes, NGOs, authorities and companies. BAYSICS will be available to all bayklif projects and, thanks to its open structure, will remain accessible to similar citizen-science projects in Bavaria in the long term.
General administration of the project involves the coordination of nine technical subprojects encompassed within the BAYSICS network. Reinforcing the project’s inter- and trans-disciplinary approach in regards to content, methodical and practical implementation is of central importance here. Specific coordination measures include the organisation of regular joint meetings, the development and implementation of project-specific ethics guidelines, as well as the drafting of a collaborative manuscript outlining a detailed communication, publication and dissemination strategy for all results. A particular focus of the work is to establish, expand and maintain a broad communication and press network. Via customized information bodies, internal networks and mass media sites, contributions tailored to each target group will be published on a regular basis to help promote a sustainable interest in BAYSICS citizen-science and research.
BCitizens create science: recent social and technological developments pave the way to include citizens in research in new ways. The digitalization of our society enables and demands new levels of civil participation in scientific projects. The internet and new mobile communication devices revolutionize citizen participation and education worldwide. Combined with simple and cheap sensors for data collection they form a key requirement for citizen science projects. Currently however, a flexible IT infrastructure is missing, that offers more than the simple exchange about projects, especially in the environmental sciences.
To enable more agile developments, the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre will create an infrastructure tailored to the application. A multitude of modular tools will support scientists and scientific laymen to work on various research questions. This toolbox could be comprised of various tools, for example online learning and interview platforms or social media tools. The open structure will enable us to include other projects from the BayKlif network or integrate new tools.
Finally, the topic of visualization plays a key role in the project. On the one hand, it will help scientific analyses, but on the other hand, it will also illustrate data and interconnections for policy makers and for the public. For scientific purposes, visualizations need to present measured or simulated data in a way that enables scientists to draw new knowledge from them. However, within this project, we also target the public, requiring an intuitively understandable and instructive presentation.
This subproject is dedicated to the value-adding process of climate related event data. By event means a spatiotemporally significant change. An event is indicated by its duration (when), geographic location (where), the changing pattern (how), involved subjects (who) and involved objects (what). Events such as forest fire, flood, landslide, are easily understandable for the public and they may draw much more attention than sheer numbers and facts. Climate and environmental scientists use events as meaningful information units for the visualization, analysis and discovery of complex spatiotemporal distribution patterns, correlations, causalities and so on.
On the basis of OpenStreetMap (OSM) and official Digital Landscape Models in Bavaria, an open “Climate Event Portal” will be developed with two main functions: 1) the interactive and automatic extraction of climate-related event data from social media and digital archives; 2) the interactive and automatic recognition of complex relationships in the accessible event data. The objective is to demonstrate the synergetic effects between science, education and public engagement and to lay down a foundation for knowledge-based citizen initiatives for climate protection.
In this subproject, phenology is used to better detect and communicate climate change, to use it for (school) education, and to make predictions about future change under fluctuating environmental conditions.
Why phenology? Primarily, phenological change acts as an ideal bio-indicator that helps to emphasize the effects of climate change and the need for adaptation. Secondly, it has the advantage of being easily disseminated to the public through a variety of channels such as BAYSICS online-tools. Its simple methodology furthermore allows for a smooth integration of phenological data collection and analysis in the school curriculum. The BAYSICS citizen science program builds on existing phenological data and observation methods, expanding them with additional information such as photographic documents. On the basis of long-term observation records, current questions about carry-over effects can be addressed while providing citizen scientists with a classification of their own observations within the spatiotemporal variation of phenological events in Bavaria. An evaluation of herbarium records allows for the inclusion of local historical data in our results. During various phenological experiments still to be developed, students will have the opportunity to work as junior scientists and directly simulate the effects of climate change on plant life.
Overall, the integration of results allows for more accurate modeling of phenological variation under climate change and the development of adaptation strategies, which are communicated to the broad public in an engaging way. Ultimately, BAYSICS citizen science observation and experimentation data will be able to help close existing information gaps about (climatically induced) driving factors of change, and bring to light their effects on associated ecosystem services.
The project focusses on the allergenic potential of urban parks.
Many climate change related effects have been discussed that may contribute to new allergen sensitization and more severe allergic respiratory diseases. Especially in cities, there are a high number of people suffering from pollen allergies. Adjuvant factors such as air pollutants have an impact on pollen leading to a higher burden for allergic people in urban areas. In order to adapt to climate change, detailed knowledge about the spatial variability of phenology, pollen season and pollen intensity is required. Investigations along urbanisation gradients (space-for-time approach) can be used to assess the influence of temperature on pollen production. As temperature is expected to increase due to climate change, this approach is used to conclude on future conditions.
Volumetric pollen traps are used to assess airborne pollen concentration.
In consideration of the citizen science approach, we evaluate climate-induced variations of pollen production. Moreover, we investigate pollen exposure, diurnal emission patterns of allergenic plants as well as individual symptoms. We evaluate the appropriateness of urban green spaces / city districts to reduce pollen exposure.The results of the allergernicity of urban green spaces serves to affect the new planting or new design of green spaces.
Mountain forests of the Bavarian Alps are subject to above-average climate warming. Are upper limits of beech, fir, spruce et al. moving upwards? Due to insufficient monitoring schemes, science cannot currently answer this seemingly simple question. On the other hand, tens of thousands of hikers frequent the summits, walk the treeline and increasingly use smartphones for navigation and fotos. Our project raises makes hikers aware of connections between mountain forests and climate change, trains them in identifying frequent tree species and offers to share their observations with a large community through the BAYSICS app. Based on mass media of the German Alpine Club (DAV) and the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise (BaySF) we make use of citizen science, crowdsourcing and gamification. Results are visualized and compared to historical data from the mid-19th century (the end of the Small Ice Age with almost 2° colder temperatures).
Biodiversity loss and climate change-related alterations in animal distribution and behaviour are normally expert knowledge. This is particularly true for city dwellers where most people have little daily contact to nature. For city dwellers, urban greenspaces are the places where they can experience nature, and in particular wild animals, yet those greenspaces are under pressure as cities grow and densify. Methods such as “Animal-Aided Design” (Weisser & Hauck 2017) aim to integrate animals into the planning of urban greenspaces, to improve human experience of nature and animal conservation, but they require the agreement and active participation of citizens.
This project aims to involve citizens into the collection of data on animals inside and outside cities, to understand how climate change and urbanisation affects animal distribution and behaviour. In addition, it aims to explore human preferences for particular animals and the factors that influence whether humans like to have wild animals in their vicinity. The results of the project will increase our understanding of how city dweller perceive animals and how their awareness can be raised. The knowledge acquired in the project and the tools developed will help future urban planning projects to better design cities and their greenspaces, not only for humans, but also for animals.
Subproject 8 offers upper stage secondary level students the opportunity to investigate the global climate change phenomenon and its relevance for their own living environment right in front of their doorsteps. Students learn to use various research methods, such as scientific tools to assess and measure climate change variables in the field, documenting and interpreting data from the observation of phenological and biological processes or socio-geographic data collection with questionnaires. They then apply these methods to their own region to gain an interesting insight into the implications of climate change in their very own living environment. For that purpose, starting from May 2018, the Chair of Geography Education at the University of Augsburg, in cooperation with several Bavarian secondary schools, has been creating a comprehensive didactic concept which follows the principles of inquiry-based learning.
Instead of being passive recipients of knowledge transfer, the concept will allow learners to participate actively in research and scientific progress, in accordance with the Citizen Science approach. The students’ critical engagement with the topic of climate change in the seminars is to facilitate their individual development of differentiated evaluative and actional abilities in the face of climate change issues. As many measures of adaption and protection of the environment can only be realised if citizens see them as legitimate and useful, politics and science can also benefit from this project. With the help of citizen conferences on climate change and local climate reports co-authored by students, it is possible to bring the topic to the attention of the general public in Bavaria. Furthermore, the collected data of climate change seminars at schools contribute to the Citizen Science platform, and through that to the investigation of climate change in Bavaria.
Climate change offers different points of reference for interdisciplinary teaching as well as links to ongoing public debates. In this context, the claim of education to promote pupils’ decision-making competence in science classes meets a complex subject matter, as the public debates about climate change are characterized by an oratory of catastrophe and mixture of scientific and political arguments. Complex issues like climate change and the related dealing with uncertainty and controversial theories require a high degree of ambiguity tolerance of learners and teachers, i.e. their ability to endure uncertainty and complexity and to use them productively. Science teacher training should foster the understanding of the nature of science and the role of communication in science and in the public and should provide assistance for teaching a discursive and a participative specialized class. This includes imparting students’ basic skills to deal with complex and controversial issues and to comprehend climate research by exemplary research projects. Focus of the study is to survey conceptions about the nature of science concerning complexity, uncertainty and science communication as well as studying relevant attitudes and abilities for teaching and how these are affected by teacher trainings.
Climate protection measures in democratic societies can only be successful if citizens accept them as feasible and legitimate. Perceptions of responsibility and efficacy (e.g. who is responsible for a particular measure, how much influence does an individual, group, or institution have) play a key role in creating public acceptance. However, major knowledge gaps persist concerning these issues, which could be effectively closed through targeted social scientific research.
BAYSICS subproject 10 is dedicated to the social-scientific investigation, assessment and analysis of public views and opinions concerning the responsibility and efficacy of different societal actors (e.g. consumers, businesses, associations and social movements, national, regional and local political organisations) in the realm of climate protection. It adopts an innovative multi-stage research design that links theoretical, conceptual and empirical steps.
The empirical part of BAYSICS Subproject 10 combines both qualitative and quantitative social research methods (e.g. interviews with citizens, politicians and scientists, focus groups and an online survey). It intends to capture a broad range of opinions, with a particular focus on societal actors who are involved climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in Bavaria. Scientific insights from this subproject will also inform recommendations for political and practicalaction.