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Storytelling with Data using Socio-environmental Report Cards

University System of Maryland via edX

Overview

Imagine if you had the tools that would galvanize volunteers to protect their local river, inspire politicians to fund restoration activities, or stimulate engineers to devise ways to reduce pollution. Socio-environmental report cards synthesize data from scientists and volunteers and convert it into an image-rich format that is easily accessible to a wide stakeholder audience.

Report card grades also tap into a powerful human motivator: peer pressure. Civic leaders and community members can compare their grades with their neighbors, and we have learned that these comparisons lead to a desire for better environmental outcomes in their own backyard.

For nearly two decades, our team has worked with local river protection groups to develop comprehensive assessments of iconic ecosystems like the Chesapeake Bay (United States of America) and the Great Barrier Reef (Australia). These socio-environmental report cards have been used to catalyze improvements in ecosystem health, motive cooperative problem-solving, guide restoration efforts, and stimulate relevant research.

We can no longer be content to just study environmental or natural resource-related problems. The challenges and negative environmental impacts of climate change and other myriad environmental management issues are upon us. We need to use science to inspire real change. We’ll show you how.

Taught by

William “Bill” Dennison, Vanessa Vargas-Nguyen and Richard Arnold

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