Ecological Citizen(s) is a 4 year project based at the Royal College of Art in collaboration with the University of York's Stockholm Environment Institute and Wrexham Glyndŵr University. Our mission is to foster and proactively encourage (through technologically appropriate interventions) Ecological Citizenship for positive climate action.

A DIY trail camera made from a tupperware box, blastic bottle and basic raspberry-pi electronics hanging in a tree to watch birds
A DIY nature trail camera, My Naturewatch. Photo: James McCauley. [Low: 3.02 KB. High: 129.06 KB.]

What is Ecological Citizen(s)?

Funded by UKRI's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the project's aim is to establish the Ecological Citizens Network+. As a research network, Ecological Citizens will mobilise diverse groups of people to make impactful change through accessible technology and community-focused approaches – including citizen science, activism, collective learning, advocacy, design strategies, manufacturing, environmental science and engineering practices.

Our mission is to foster and proactively encourage (through technologically appropriate interventions) Ecological Citizenship for positive climate action. 

Based at the Royal College of Art in collaboration with the University of York's Stockholm Environment Institute and Wrexham Glyndŵr University, we are intent on building design-led responses / interventions for individuals, communities and organisations that empower individuals to contribute to more sustainable practices and vice versa. Our agenda seeks to bring agency to people who want to be involved by giving them a voice. We are keen to lower barriers to entry (for publics) so all can be Ecological Citizens, through an inclusive digital sustainable society.

Defining Ecological Citizenship

We are (all) citizens of the world with natural environment(s) sustaining all life on earth. Our human existence is intertwined with our environment; as we live in, and are 'citizens' of our environment.

Ecological Citizenship (EC) fosters positive, ecological behaviours involving and benefiting communities through individual and collective actions(s).

We see it as a human / non-human right and responsibility, requiring us to be good ancestors and proactive stewards of the planet.

What is the Ecological Citizen(s) Network+?

We are always looking to connect and collaborate with institutions, organisations and individuals that share our goal of creating a more ecologically conscious society and are keen to work with proactive doers!

The Network+ we are building has has the potential to cover a wide range of pressing topics and themes, from biomaterials and wildlife corridors to local manufacturing and repair, and will draw on expertise from across the RCA, SEI and Wrexham, as well as other academic, business and civil society partners.

Are you already planning something that feels relevant or aligned with our work? Let us know. We are always looking for partners to link-up with and are keen to combine, participate or support!

Our Project Values

As a research team we commit to the following set of values:

  • Accessibility
  • Inclusivity
  • Trans-disciplinary
  • Consequence Considerate + Appropriate
  • Designing for Exit
  • Design-led
  • Open to Strategic Serendipity
  • Being a Catalyst
  • Citizen Co-created
  • Designing the Conditions for Agency
  • Ensuring Fair Oversight
  • Redistributing Technologies
  • Designing for Regenerative Action(s)
  • Creating Stories of Hope

Why are we doing this?

The ecological and climate crisis are the two biggest challenges facing humanity. We see numerous digital opportunities to mitigate the impacts, and therefore we have created the Ecological Citizen(s) Network+. 

We are united by hope and are working towards enabling a preferable future for all.

Preferable futures "embody our notions of what a better world might be like. Critera for constructing preferable futures relate to commonalities of human experience: sustainability, health, peace, justice etc.

In the context of sustainable development, a preferable future would include a cleaner environment, a sustained level of economic development not involving waste and pollution, and protect natual resources and biodiversity."
(Dunne, A. and Raby, F. 2013. Speculative Everything: design fiction, and social dreaming. MIT press.)

How should we be designing for sustainable, preferable futures?

Watch via YouTube below.
We thank our wonderful panellists for contributing to the discussion which was hosted by Dr Rob Phillips: Jon Alexander - Citizens, Kirsty Dias - Priestman Goode, Marina Konstantatou - Foster + Partners, Nikki Williams - The Wildlife Trusts, Jonathan Levine - Folia Water and Praveen Paul - Pint of Science.

This is a recording of a hybrid panel discussion held at the Royal College of Art, Battersea Campus in London on Thursday 21st September 2023.