Our projects generate data for national schemes such as NBN and PoMS and that influence RHS pollinator-friendly planting lists. 80,000 global nature observers have contributed 800,000 biological records to iSpot, and 200 school teachers and 3000 pupils have participated and pledged the creation of 5000m2 of pollinator habitat through X-Polli:Nation. These projects have influenced policy actions and thinking, with references and usage in the 2019 State of Nature report, National pollinator frameworks and strategies, UK Government Environment White Paper, parliamentary paper on Environmental Citizen Science, UK School Inspectorate (Ofsted) report of a partnering school for contributing to “outstanding” personal development, UKRI public engagement strategy document, DEFRA’s annual Bees’ Needs Week public engagements, BBC Springwatch’s garden survey, and at a COP26 green zone event.
Supporting the UN’s SDG Goals
We wish to develop and apply AI and Citizen Science methodologies for social good and highlight the critical role of citizen science in pursuing global environmental agendas by raising awareness about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, generating biodiversity data of value to policy makers and facilitating people of all ages to take action against global environmental sustainability objectives at a meaningful local level.
In our experience, the SDGs can be somewhat daunting with their language of ‘targets’ and ‘indicators’. Our approach is to simplify the language and interpretation of the SDGs to more clearly illustrate their local relevance within the UK, and to encourage discussion around how simple local actions can make a contribution towards different goals.
While our citizen-science methodilogies will generate biodiversity data that contribute to the evidence base for SDGs, our emphasis is equally around equitable access and changing attitudes and behaviours through local approaches. Some of our projects seek to localise, define, monitor and implement SDGs within school grounds. By designing active citizen science metodologies that encourage habitat creation (initially in school grounds and then through the pupils in their wider communities), these help contribute towards SDG 13: Climate action and SDG 15: Life on land. To the extent that urban schools adopt our methodologies and start conversations around waste, recycling and permaculture principles, we also seek to contribute towards further goals SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities) and SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production.
The SDGs are underpinned by the Agenda 2030 inclusivity pledge to leave no one behind. Our projects in schools and communities actively push for inclusivity, with respect to access to nature and the outdoors and to learning about sustainability and science in inquiry-led contexts. We simultaneously address current needs to equitably (SDG 5: Gender inequality; SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities) increase (especially young) people’s access to the outdoors for health and wellbeing (SDG 3: Good health and well-being) and their participation in environmental action and learning (SDG 4: quality education).