The CCAT project aims to support coastal communities in understanding climate change and how to adapt

The Irish Sea and its coastal communities are directly impacted by climate change. This project is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales Programme and will run from 2019 to 2021. It will focus on communities in Fingal in Ireland and Pembrokeshire in Wales.

The project is led by University College Dublin in partnership with Fingal County Council and University College Cork in Ireland and Cardiff University, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum and the Port of Milford Haven in Wales.

CCAT will explore how digital tools can engage people with change, for example using interactive games and online learning resources to help children and young people understand how climate change is affecting their local area. The project will also support communities in understanding how they can adapt to climate change through workshops and initiatives such as mapping the changes in their area and planning to make their communities more resilient to the effects of climate change.

How has CCAT responded to COVID-19?

The CCAT project sets out to build capacity to adapt to change in Irish Sea coastal communities through citizen engagement in activities such as participatory mapping, geodesign workshops, geogames and interactive teaching resources. From the outset, the project has taken a blended approach of using digital and non-digital tools with a mix of online and in-person interactions to help communities adapt together.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent social distancing measures in the UK and Ireland, the project itself has had to adapt to change. We will now fully embrace the opportunities presented by digital tools for citizen engagement and explore their pros and cons, their potential and their limitations. In order to do this, we have now moved all our activities online, however, we may run in-person events in the future should this be possible. So for example, our GeoDesign workshops will now take place entirely online, teaching resources will be re-imagined and made available online, and knowledge exchange events will now use digital platforms. The project outputs will therefore be accessible to a much greater number of people and further reduce our travel and carbon footprint which is in line with the project’s eco-code.

We believe this adaptation presents a real opportunity for CCAT to increase our knowledge, expertise and experience in the use of digital technologies for citizen engagement and will be of huge benefit to our partner organisations and the communities in Fingal and Pembrokeshire.

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