iSeeChange: Environmental Reporting on Climate

Elly Rostoum | MIT Climate Change Blog
March 18, 2015

As part of its 2015 Spring Event Series, The MIT Climate Change conversation will be tackling the challenges of speaking about climate science and the impacts and repercussions of global climate change: Getting Through on Global Warming: How to Rewire Climate Change Communication, March 31st, E51-115, at 4 pm. A key obstacle to climate communication has often centered around the difficulty in discerning accurate, science-based information.
MIT student, Lily Bui, an M.S. candidate at MIT's Comparative Media Studies, and a researcher at MIT's Writing, Rethoric and Profession Communication Lab is helping address this challenge through a groundbreaking environmental reporting project: iSeeChange, which combines citizen science, participatory public media, and cutting-edge satellite and sensor monitoring of environmental conditions.
Incubated in 2012 by executive producer Julia Kumari Drapkin at Colorado public radio station KVNF via AIR’s Localore project, the award-winning project is poised to expand nationwide in 2015. iSeeChange works with media and scientific partners across the country to help audiences document environmental shifts in their backyards and connect to the bigger-picture climate changes transforming all of our lives and livelihoods.
The project’s growing list of collaborators includes NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the UC Berkeley BEACO2N project, Yale Climate Connections, the Allegheny Front in the Western Pennsylvania, KPCC in Pasadena, WWOZ in New Orleans, Developing Radio Partners (DRP), and more. AIR is providing additional support for the project’s expansion to new station partners, with founding support from the Wyncote Foundation and the Ford Foundation. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory will offer both financial and technical support to incorporate data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO2), the first dedicated satellite mission designed to monitor regional variations in atmospheric CO2.
This year, the iSeeChange team is extending its crowdsourced reporting platform, The iSeeChange Almanac, to these new partners, and conduct user research to add additional features and improve existing ones. In the coming months, the team will work the OCO-2 team to develop a related app to help synchronize local citizen climate reports with satellite data as well as integrate regional carbon levels from the BEACO2N sensors. Combining these two perspectives—a global view of the earth from space and a granular view from individuals on the ground—offers an unprecedented opportunity to match big science with daily life, and surface hidden patterns and stories. 
You can learn more, here: