tisdag 29 november 2016

The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency visits CESC


We (CESC) organized a full-day dog-and-pony show for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency  ("Naturvårdsverket") recently. (It in fact happened the better part of two weeks ago but I've been too busy to write about it until now.) The Environmental Protection Agency were interested in CESC's activities and had gotten in touch with us and we welcomed them by putting together a one-day program for their visit (together with OpenLab who held a practical workshop about ideation). It was more specifically their department for "analysis and research" that came to visit as part of their internal "training/further education". The department for analysis and research "is responsible for maintaining an overview of the status of the environment and the progress being made in efforts relating to the environment. It is also responsible for coordinating environmental research and environmental monitoring."

The backbone of the activities during the day was (again) a "ConverStation" exercise. I wrote about ConverStations recently so I am not going to explain it again and there is also some more (basic) information here (including an instruction video). I do have to say that the ConverStation format really shone in this setting though with 7 tables/topics and around 5 guests per session. There were in fact so many guests (70 or 80) that we had to have a morning and an afternoon session. Half the guests chose between seven ConverStation presentation (they could choose three each) while the other half attended the OpenLab thingy, before they switched. That means that some brave colleagues of mine had no less than six ConverStation presentations that day and I can easily understand why some were exhausted by the end of the day. These were the presentations that were held:

Full-day presentations:
- Tina Ringenson & Mattias Höjer: Planning the smart city to decrease environmental impacts. Lessons learned from six cities
- Miriam Rivera: Is the sharing economy sustainable?
- Elina Eriksson & Daniel Pargman: ICT and the UN Sustainable Development Goals
- Dag Lunden (Telia) & Jens Malmodin (Ericsson): Energy and carbon emissions from the Swedish ICT, telecom and media sectors 1990-2015 and beyond.
- Göran Finnveden: Beyond GDPScenarios for sustainable societies

Half-day presentations:
- Åsa Svenfelt & Yevgeniya Arushanyan: Second order environmental effects: what are they and how can they be assessed?
- Cecilia Katzeff: The EcoPanel, an eco-feedback visualization
- Mario Romero: Mixed reality Stockholm
- Jonas Åkerman: Sustainable Accessibility and Mobility Services

There was even a replacement topic should one or more presenters turn ill (now that's advance planning!):
- Mattias Höjer: Methane Maps – sensing gas leaks through google street-view

Me and my colleague Elina manned a ConverStation and talked about "ICT and the UN Sustainable Development Goals" i.e. the same topic we organized a workshop on at the NordiCHI conference a month ago. Elina took the morning session (while I was teaching) and then handed over her (physical, printed) slides to me before leaving.

It turns out The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency were really happy about their visit and I think it led to many new contacts between my colleagues and our visitors. The KTH online magazine Campi wrote a text about their visit (in Swedish); "Environmental researchers inspired the Environmental Protection Agency". Closer to home, two really cool things came out of this event:

1. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency are the "guardians" of  Sweden’s 16 environmental quality objectives. These objectives were adopted by the Swedish Parliament in 1999 and they constitute “a promise to future generations of clean air, a healthy living environment, and rich opportunities to enjoy nature”. The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency was earlier this year asked to go through and map Sweden's 16 environmental quality objectives to the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and The Very Person who did this (just this past summer) came to listen to my presentation in the afternoon. His name is Hans Wradhe and that's an excellent contact to have when (not if) we need to find out more about the outcome of this work of his.

2. Elina talked to Marie Denward both before and during the event. Marie is an acquaintance of ours who has recently started to work at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency and a several things have already come out of this; two master's thesis proposals (written in Swedish) as well as current discussions about a larger task that our students can work with in our upcoming master's level course "Sustainable ICT in Practice". The course will be given for the first time ever in the beginning of next year so we are in a hurry to plan the course. The possibility to being able to weave in a task for/together with the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency is very exciting.

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