In a series of interviews on the lead up to COP26 in Glasgow, we are chatting with academics whose research is focused on sustainability and tackling climate change.
Dr Mark Wong is a Lecturer in Public Policy and Research Methods. His research is focused on young people & online social networks and the impact of technology, data, and algorithms on society and inequalities.
Could you briefly describe the main topics/themes of this event, which research areas does it cover?
SMART Climate Action is a public engagement event, which offers an opportunity for children and young people and the public to have a hands-on, interactive experience to explore cutting-edge sensors and 5G technologies that contribute to cutting carbon emissions and adaptations to climate change
The main themes of the event are: climate helplessness, collective action, Net Zero, and young people
The event is also linked to other broader areas of research interests, including digital society and technological innovation, e.g. Sensors, Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and Data.
The public will be guided to reflect on the role of technology, youth participation, digital inclusion/exclusion, and Scotland’s place in the global response and resilience to the climate emergency through an interactive installation.
How does it relate to the COP26 agenda? Why is it interesting and what is its geographical reach?
This event is strongly linked to the COP26 agenda to create dialogues on the urgent need to reduce carbon/greenhouse gas emission and reach targets of Net Zero, as recommended by the IPCC. The devastating impact of human activities on the planet has meant collective actions on adaptations to climate change are urgently required in this decade.
Attendees will benefit from greater awareness of the opportunities afforded by technology and reflect on challenges in energy strategies, digital exclusion, and reducing reliance on fossil fuels in rural/high-poverty areas and so-called Global South.
The installation involves:
A demonstration of a Persuasive Energy Conscious Network – allowing attendees to evaluate the feasibility of using sensing technologies to influence and shift patterns of energy consumption.
Streaming interactive digital content: pre-recorded messages by young people, interviews with policymakers/industry, videos of real-world applications of sensing and 5G technologies, and live feedback of attendees’ self-reflection via Mentimeter.
How do you think the attendees can enhance their knowledge and engagement with the topic before the event? Any sources of interest to read before the event?
Not prior knowledge is required to enjoy and make the most out of the event. However, if there is interest, there following resources may be helpful:
Young people and politicians join forces to tackle climate emergency | FutureScot
‘The Climate Crisis is a Child Rights Crisis’ Introducing the Children’s Climate Risk Index’, see here: https://www.unicef.org/reports/climate-crisis-child-rights-crisis
Making Just Transition a defining mission – gov.scot (www.gov.scot)
What do you hope the outcomes of this event to be? Is it simply educational or with the purpose of influencing the policy-making process, etc?
The event will generate greater public awareness of the opportunities as well as challenges and risks afforded by technology for a just and inclusive transition to Net Zero.
The event will also prompt participants to reflect on the importance of collective actions and how they can help to mitigate feelings of climate helplessness and climate anxiety, particularly amongst young people.
In addition, it serves to facilitate public dialogues around the role that young people play in the transition to Net Zero, and more importantly, the importance of their participation and engagement in making local transformation possible.
In the lead-up to COP26 & throughout November, the event will use social media to engage young people in dialogues with local and regional stakeholders (e.g. headteachers, council and elected-members, policy/public organisation officials, voluntary sector, climate advocates) on adapting to impacts of climate change and the role technology plays.
How can attendees follow up after the event and engage with the topics raised?
We will use social media to continue to engage with young people and work with external partners to sustain dialogues, both among young people and young people with local stakeholders, about the importance of collective action to address climate helplessness and the opportunity and challenges that technology present to local initiatives of transitioning to Net Zero.
Tickets to SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement & Sensing & 5G Technology is available to book at SMART Climate Action: Inclusive Youth Engagement & Sensing & 5G Technology Tickets, Tue 9 Nov 2021 at 10:00 | Eventbrite
The event will be hosted at Hunter Halls, University of Glasgow on the 9th November 2021 – 10:00-16:00.
View the programme of COP26 events across the University of Glasgow.
Part of the COP26 activities at the College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow