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Storytelling with Data using Socio-environmental Report Cards

Socio-environmental report cards have proven to be THE tool to effect positive change. Join us as we explore proven techniques to synthesize data, engage the local community, inform decision-making, and drive policy for any environmental or sustainability challenge.

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Jul 23
Estimated 5 weeks
5–8 hours per week
Progress at your own speed
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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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.

At a glance

What you'll learn

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  • How to compare and contrast different environmental approaches and socio-environmental report cards.
  • How to critique the different approaches used in environmental assessments and socio-environmental report cards.
  • How to create image-rich socio-environmental report cards that are accessible to a wide and diverse audience.
  • How to create a reporting framework for a case study to generate a socio-environmental report cards.

Socio-environment report cards are invaluable tools that enhance environmental intelligence. Learners will become familiar with the complete process of report card generation, including stakeholder mapping and engagement, the conceptualization of socio-environmental systems, selection of indicators and benchmarks, data analysis, communication of results, and leveraging the report card to make real change.

Module 1: Why create socio-environmental report cards? Examining the history and evolution of report cards, including their structure and purpose in promoting environmental intelligence, communicating the condition of socio-environmental systems, and engaging a variety of stakeholders to catalyze change.

  • What are Report Cards?
  • Why Report Cards?
  • Report Card Application
  • From Qualitative to Quantitative
  • Distilling Data
  • Incorporating New Indicators
  • Evaluation of Report Card Impacts

Module 2: Planning report card initiatives. Focusing on the planning phase of the report card three-phase framework, starting with the different enabling conditions for a successful report card, creating a realistic timeline, building your project team, developing an evaluation plan. Using different strategies in identifying and engaging with stakeholders.

  • Report Card Process
  • Enabling Conditions
  • Stakeholder Analysis
  • Project Planning 1
  • Project Planning 2
  • Workshop Planning
  • Facilitation and Engagement

Module 3: Co-Developing Your Report Card. Co-designing and co-producing report cards with stakeholders, starting with identifying values and threats, choosing indicators and thresholds, calculating indicator scores, and assigning report card grades. Gaining stakeholder consensus before finalizing the report card is also important.

  • Identifying Values and Threats
  • Identifying Indicators
  • Indicator Qualities
  • Defining Thresholds
  • Calculating Scores and Grades
  • Gaining Stakeholder Consensus

Module 4: Sharing and Raising the Grade. Developing a communication strategy that engages relevant parties and ensures report card findings are disseminated for the greatest impact. Exploring how to raise the grade using different approaches to gain consensus and recommend actions.

  • Communication strategies
  • Communicating Results
  • Designing Report Cards
  • Stakeholder-led Approach
  • Optimizing Collaborations
  • Systems Modelling

Module 5: Case Studies. Examining successful report card case studies and applicable tools for overcoming barriers, identifying champions, maintaining report card project momentum, and maximizing impact.

  • Overcoming Barriers
  • Creating and Maintaining Momentum
  • Dynamic Problem solving
  • Examples of Great Champions
  • Adaptive Governance
  • Theory of Change

About the instructors

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