Paper Bonanza at LIMITS and ICT4S!

The MID4S group has been exceptionally productive and submitted multiple papers to the Computing within Limits (LIMITS’20) workshop and ICT for Sustainability (ICT4S’20) conference this year. These are the papers that are accepted and that will be presented between June 21 and June 25, 2020. Below are the seven titles and abstracts, 6 papers accepted conference papers and 1 journal paper presented in a journal first track, in the order of when they will be presented. Participation this year is free, so please sign up and listen to us!

Diminishing space: peer-to-peer sharing as a transition practice
Miriam Börjesson Rivera, Elina Eriksson, Rob Comber

A regenerative thriving future within limits will require a change of social practices. Such a change will however not come by itself, and it is safe to state that computing in different forms and shapes will be critical. In this paper we evaluate a start-up in the form of an online platform supporting peer-to-peer storage space rentals. We will present and analyse their service and discuss the current and future prospects for systems in this genre, in light of the transition to a post-carbon future society. The analysis is grounded in a user study evaluating the system in its current form. We argue that services like the one offered by these types of companies could function as a type of ‘transition service’ in the sense that they are perhaps an interim self-obviating system that enable people to get accustomed to a new way of thinking about current unsustainable practices (in this case storage practices and sharing of storage), but eventually might become unnecessary/superfluous as a new ecology of storage practices comes into place. Hence, it might be important for these services and the companies behind them to prepare for this eventuality, for example by diversifying their business offer.

Skill rebound: On an unintended effect of digitalization
Vlad C. Coroamă, Daniel Pargman

Efficiency gains in economic processes often do not deliver the projected overall savings. Irrespective of whether the increase in efficiency saves energy, resources, time or transac- tion costs, there are various mechanisms that spur additional consumption as a consequence. These mechanisms are gener- ically called rebound effects, and they are problematic from a sustainability perspective as they decrease or outweigh the environmental benefits of efficiency gains. Since one of the overarching purposes of digitalization is to increase effi- ciency, rebound effects are bound to occur frequently in its wake. Rebound effects of digitalization have been ignored until recently, but they have been increasingly studied lately. One particular mechanism of digital rebound, however, has been largely disregarded so far: the digitalization-induced lowered skill requirements needed to perform a specific ac- tivity. As with other types of rebound effects, this leads to an increase in the activity in question. In this paper, we pro- pose the term skill rebound to denote this mechanism. We use the example of self-driving cars to show how digitaliza- tion can lower the skill bar for operating a vehicle, and how this opens ‘driving’ a car to entirely new socio-demographic categories such as elderly, children or even pets, leading to increased use of the (transportation) service in question and thus to rebound effects. We finally argue that these unin- tended environmental effects of skill rebound must be better understood and taken into account in the design of new digital technologies.

From Moore’s Law to the Carbon Law
Daniel Pargman, Aksel Biørn-Hansen, Elina Eriksson, Jarmo Laaksolahti, Markus Robèrt

In society in general and within computing in particular, there has, and continues to be, a focus on faster, cheaper, better etc. Such perspectives clash with the fact that impeding climate change and the need for radically decreased CO2 emissions (c.f. the Paris Agreement) will have fundamental and far-reaching ramification for computing and for all other sectors of society during the coming decades.

In the call for the first Computing within Limits workshop, it was stated that “A goal of this community is to impact society through the design and development of computing systems in the abundant present for use in a future of limits and/or scarcity.” There have since been several contributions to Computing within Limits that have accepted the challenge of discussing and imagining what such systems as well as what “a future of limits and/or scarcity” could look like. Despite this, there is currently no consensus about what exactly such a future entails and the community can consequently only offer hazy ideas about exactly what systems we should strive to design and develop. The basic problem can be summed up as follows: we know that fundamental changes are necessary and will come, but we still struggle with envisioning what a post-growth/decarbonising society looks like and what computing systems need to be designed and developed for use in such futures, or, to support that transition.

In this paper we argue that the work of imagining an actionable “future of limits” could benefit from using the “carbon law” as a starting point. The carbon law is based on work in the environmental sciences and we exemplify how it can be used to generate requirements that can guide the development of computing systems for a future of limits. While these lessons are general, we exemplify by describing a research project that aims to support the KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s goal of – in line with the carbon law – radically reducing CO2 emissions from academic flying over the next decade. We give examples of how computing can aid in this task, including by presenting visualisation tools that we have developed to support the KTH carbon abatement goals. We also discuss the role of computer science in general and of Computing within Limits in particular in supporting the transition to a more sustainable (or at least a less unsustainable) future.

Introducing financial data and groups in a carbon calculator – issues with trust and opportunities for social interaction
Aksel Biørn-Hansen, Wolmet Barendregt, David Andersson

A range of carbon footprint calculators have emerged over the years, aiming at promoting pro-environmental behaviour through providing information about what impact people have on the environment. Up until recently, most of these calculators have been focusing on providing feedback on an individual level. This paper presents an exploratory study of a new kind of carbon footprint calculator, which offers a social and collective dimension not found in many other existing calculators. This is done through the introduction of a group feature allowing people to engage with and compare themselves to each other. The calculator also makes use of real-time financial data in combination with user generated data in order to provide reliable and continuous estimates of a person’s carbon footprint. Through an explorative study, in which we conducted two in-depth interviews with four participants, we have investigated the reactions to using the carbon calculator for the first time as well as after two to three weeks of unsupervised use. Our study indicates that the use of transaction data does not automatically lead to a higher trust in the calculated carbon footprint due to the numerous insecurities that are revealed. Registry data on the other hand seems to be appreciated because it eases the input that people have to provide anyway. While groups seem to be a promising feature, there is a need to investigate what information about people’s carbon footprints should be shared as well as how the groups and the interaction with the carbon calculator can be kept lively and interesting over time.

On the necessity of flying and of not flying: Exploring how computer scientists reason about academic travel
Elina Eriksson, Daniel Pargman, Markus Robèrt, Jarmo Laaksolahti

In order to fulfill the Paris agreement, we need to drastically reduce carbon emissions globally. 2020 is a pivotal year in this endeavour as many projections indicate that emissions need to decrease significantly before 2030. This challenge pertains to all parts of society, including (computer science) researchers. This however clashes with the fact that flying to a large extent has become built-in to the everyday practices of research and of academic life. It is feasible to imagine that computer scientists could fly less than other academics since we ought to be innovators and early adopters of computer-mediated alternatives such as video-conferencing and other forms of digital meeting technologies. It is however also possible that we fly more because conferences might be a more dominant outlet for publications in our field in comparison to other research fields. At KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the researchers at the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) fly the most. In this paper, we present initial qualitative results from a survey regarding travel that was answered by computer scientists at EECS. We are in particular analysing the free text answers in order to understand how computer scientists reason about their own flying and about the alternatives. It will be hard to fulfil the Paris agreement without decreasing flying significantly, but this requires us to rethink how we do research, and how we travel (or not) within academia. This paper contributes with knowledge about the perceived barriers and drivers for computer scientists to decrease their flying.

A Systematic Review of Digital Behaviour Change Interventions for More Sustainable Food ConsumptionJournal first
Björn Hedin, Cecilia Katzeff, Elina Eriksson, Daniel Pargman

Food production and consumption present major sustainability challenges, and finding ways to reduce the environmental impact of food, for example through behavioural changes by consumers, is becoming increasingly important. In recent years, digital interventions have become important tools to change behaviours in many areas. In this review, we evaluate the status of current scientific knowledge of digital behaviour change interventions for sustainable food consumption practices. Following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) checklist for how to conduct systematic reviews, we searched multiple databases for papers containing terms related to food, sustainability and digital behaviour change interventions. Only studies where the digital interventions were actually implemented and evaluated from a behaviour change perspective were included, resulting in 15 primary studies in the final review. The quality of the studies was evaluated from a behaviour change perspective, and the approaches used were categorised using two intervention frameworks, the Behaviour Change Wheel and the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy v1. The results show that all of the included studies had major quality issues when evaluated from a behaviour change perspective. This means that we could not find any evidence regarding whether the digital behaviour change interventions examined worked or not. Most studies further lacked theoretical grounding or a clear approach to how or why they should be effective for behaviour change for more sustainable food consumption practices. Our main recommendation for future research in the field is to expand from the current exploratory phase to conducting scientifically rigorous studies of higher quality, more thoroughly grounded in behaviour change theory and methods. Furthermore, based on our study, we suggest changes to the Behaviour Change Technique Taxonomy v1.

Systems Thinking exercises in Computing Education – broadening the scope of ICT and sustainability
Elina Eriksson, Miriam Börjesson Rivera, Björn Hedin, Daniel Pargman, Hanna Hasselqvist

Integrating sustainability in computing education entails broadening the scope of the education, but how can that be done while maintaining student engagement? Climate change and species extinction can appear far removed from data structures and algorithms to say the least. In our ongoing work of integrating sustainability in our Media Technology programme, we have addressed this gap by introducing systems thinking games and activities to broaden the scope, as well as by situating the issues addressed in the course in relation to their future profession. In this paper, we present our experiences of introducing and playing systems thinking games, how the systems thinking exercise sessions were conducted, outcomes of the sessions and finally some lessons learnt. Furthermore, we present and analyse changes we did to the exercises and that led to a richer material for discussions in the classroom.

Slower academic travel

So this is the second blog post that stems from my (Elina’s) trip to Lancaster, where I was the external examiner at Kelly Widdicks dissertation, the first blog post is more of  a travel journal, and you can find it here. In this blog post, I want to pen down some thoughts on slower academic travel and how you can make an academic visit more valuable.

My first reflection is that when the trip takes so long, I naturally felt that I wanted to stay longer. Had I been flying, I guess I could easily have come over the day, or maybe stayed only one night. And staying for a few more days made me want to fill the days with meaning.

So what is then meaningfulness? This is a hard question. One thing I reflected on is that I wanted to be with the people at Lancaster. My host Mike Hazas had kindly booked a room for me to sit in, on my own, and work, which of course would make my work more efficient. But I wanted to socialise with the people at InfoLab, even if only meant sitting in the same room! But sitting in the same room meant that I was invited for coffee breaks and lunch more easily.

Another thing to make the trip more meaningful is that I offered to give a talk, either concerning research or our teaching, an offer that was readily accepted and which led to the Tuesday lunch seminar. I also did two workshops in related to the FLIGHT project, discussing academic flying. When planning, I also looked at what other universities would be ”nearby” and that I could visit. Hence my trip to Edinburgh over the day, because it was only 2 hours away by train. What I did not do, and partly regret, was to offer to give a talk to either university I visited in Edinburgh. With some more time for planning, this might have been a valuable thing, because more people could have engaged with me and my research.

Edinburgh
Edinburgh, a place I probably wouldn’t have visited, had I flown to Lancaster. After taking the train for 2 days to get to Lancaster, 2 hours to Edinburgh felt like nothing in comparison.

To plan my stay, I had started an open google-document, where anyone with a link could edit or comment. This meant that as the detailed planning of my trip was unfolding, different people interested in meeting me could see whether there were spots open for meeting up with me. I haven’t asked my hosts what they thought about it, but for me it reduced the amount of emails sent around. I could also note down addresses and phone numbers and have it all in one page for later reference, when I was trying to find my way.

My last reflection concerns something I did not suggest, but that I have been considering after the trip. People at school of Computing and Communication at Lancaster got to know (some) of me when I gave a talk, but I never really got to know them, at least not what they did in terms of research. So here is a suggestion, maybe something we can implement next time we have a guest: to do a research speed-dating. The way I see this, is that all researchers (including phd-students) prepare a pecha-kucha presentation about themselves and their research. If the presentations are 9 slides long, 20 seconds each, this would mean 3 minutes per person. If the division one is visting isn’t too large, this could be feasible for a short presentation of the group. After this it will be easier to strike up spontaneous conversations regarding research.

To summarise, here is a list of things one can think of, when travelling or receiving a visitor to a research group:

  • Make an open document where people can se your plans and make suggestions
  • Suggest to give a talk regarding something you are working with
  • Look at neighbouring universities, can you visit them as well?
  • Try to borrow a desk among everyone else, or to sit in a place where many pass by
  • Ask to get an overview of what people work with (for example through pecha-kucha)
  • Make sure there are some social events
  • Make sure you have some free time for more spontaneous meet-ups

This list is by no means exhaustive, and I believe this is a practice we need to develop, slower travel means perhaps more meaningful travel. Personally I am so pleased with how this trip turned out, even though it was a very long ride.

 

By train to Lancaster

This is the first of two blog posts about my (Elina’s) trip to Lancaster in February 2020. This first blog post will mostly be a recount of the trip, but the next blog post will be a reflection on how academic travel might change when we fly less, and some lessons learned from doing this trip.

The background for this trip is that I was invited to be the external examiner at Kelly Widdicks’ Viva Voce. Since I have become more and more reluctant to travel by air plane, I decided to go there by train, but that entailed also to do some research in Lancaster, since I then could pay for the (probably considerably more expensive) trip through a research project. Travelling by train means longer travel time, and I then wanted to stay for a few days longer than just for the viva.

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Train stations, you get to see many of them if you are travelling through Europe, London Euston on the top and Köln in the bottom.

Below is what was my planned itinerary:

Starting on Friday January 31st:
Stockholm (08:21) – Copenhagen (13:13)
Copenhagen (15:26) – Hamburg (20:20)
Hotel night booked close by the train station
Hamburg (05:46) – Köln (09:49)
Köln (10:32) – Bruxelles Midi (13:35)
Bruxelles Midi Eurostar (14:52) – London St. Pancras (16:05)
London Euston (16:30) – Lancaster (18:55) (booked by myself)

Starting on Friday February 7th:
Lancaster (08:38) – London Euston (11:10) (booked by myself)
London St. Pancras (12:58) – Bruxelles Midi Eurostar (16:08)
Bruxelles Midi (16:22) – Köln (18:15)
Köln (19:09) – Hamburg (23:16)
Hotel night booked close by the train station
Hamburg (08:53) – Copenhagen (13:33)
Copenhagen (14:10) – Stockholm (19:38)

The train travel

The train travel, despite spanning four days, went for the most part smoothly and I hade quite some productive hours on the train, as well as a few really interesting conversations with fellow travellers. The largest mishap happened when I arrived at Brussels, and my 14:52 Eurostar train to London was cancelled. I (and all other passengers) were rebooked to the 17:00 train to London, which meant a 2 hour wait, as well as two long and complicated phone conversations with trainline to book a new ticket to Lancaster. This ticket became considerably more expensive, and the train did not go the whole way, so I had a replacement bus ride in northern England to enjoy. But, I still arrived the same day as intended. Just much later.

The trip (except for the UK trains) were booked through our travel agency Egencia, and it was an 5 day interrail pass and seat bookings. This meant I had to remember to fill in the interrail travel plan through out the trip, but it also meant that I felt less stressed about any potential delays. I could have potentially been able to take a later train. Having a stop over in Hamburg also gave some leeway for delays.

Working wise, the travel days were long, so even though I might have napped a few times, I could still spend some quality hours working. The Wifi on board the trains worked better than expected, except for the Eurostar. And, the train between Köln and Hamburg did not have a wifi (it was not an ICE (InterCity Express) but a EC (EuroCity)). On the way back through Sweden, the electric sockets in my carriage stopped working half way through the trip, but at that time I was so tired I just packed away my computer.

Lancaster
Beautiful Lancaster, the castle on the top left was a real prison until 2011.

The Stay

I arrived late Saturday evening, and just went directly to bed. The Sunday was spent mostly exploring, first by a sightseeing jog in the morning, then a guided tour through the castle in Lancaster, and lastly a long ramble through the town. In the evening I was invited to dinner by Mike and Simone (Mike being Kelly’s supervisor).

Monday 3rd of February, the viva was planned for early afternoon, I went to the campus by bus mid-morning and then spent some time with Mike, and then the internal examiner Gordon Blair. 14-16 Kelly did splendidly in the viva, and afterwards there was home baked cake! in her office. The evening was spent in celebration, with a dinner with Kelly and colleagues and a few beers.

Kelly_Gordon_Elina
The Viva people, Gordon Blair, Kelly Widdicks and yours truly.

Tuesday, after working a for an hour in my bed with a great view, I went to the campus to give a presentation on how to integrate sustainability in computing education. Despite this being planned quite late, I was happy to have a fairly large audience. I managed to squeeze in some work as well, borrowing a desk in Kelly’s office. There were also some socialising over lunch, as well as a high tea with Adrian Friday (which basically was a long and cordial chat over tea, drawing up plans for future collaborations). Tuesday evening was spent rambling through Lancaster again, and then a few hours work from bed.

On Wednesday I took the opportunity to walk towards the campus along the canal that ran through Lancaster. It was almost painfully beautiful, but halfway there the walking path took me up to the well trafficked road, so then I took the bus the rest of the way. On Wednesday, two workshops were planned, one at the school of Computing and Communication and one at the Lancaster Environmental Centre (LEC). The workshops covered academic flying (and will inform our FLIGHT project), and I am really happy these were able to be planned and executed. A warm thanks to Mike who organised and made sure people showed up! In the evening I hanged out with Oliver Bates and friend, a real English pub experience.

Pokermarker
These poker markers were not used in the pub, but were rather material in the flight workshops. The picture shows one divison at KTH, with 30 employees, and their flights. Green = Nordic flights, Red = European flights, Black = Intercontinental flights

Lastly, on Thursday, I made a trip to Edinburgh (it was only 2 hours away with train!), to visit Callum Egan and the Lion’s gate permaculture garden at Edinburgh Napier University. It was a very inspiring visit, including maybe the best vegetarian sandwich I’ve eaten. In the afternoon I had a meeting with Siôn Pickering at the department of Social Responsibility and Sustainability to discuss ways to work with carbon emissions from academic flying. Siôn and colleagues have a public available reporting tool covering their carbon emissions from travel, which I found really inspiring. I also presented our research project, and promised to get back when we had more results.

Friday, I started my travel back to Sweden, with a slightly sore heart. I really enjoyed my stay, and could easily have stayed longer if I had had the opportunity. But, there are some new collaborations brewing from this visit. I hope I will se many of the people I met at the ICT4S conference in Bristol in June.

Presentations of Advanced Projects

Today, (Friday!) 13th of December, the students in the DM2799 Advanced project course presented their projects. The presentations were held in the cathedral of science, the reactor hall R1, and the presentations were brilliant!

MID4S handed in many project proposal, and a whopping 10 projects got chosen by the students and where hence supervised by MID4S researchers. During the presentations, sustainability projects took all the presentations slots in one of the two sessions in parallel, and one in the other session. Below is a short summary of the different projects that I (Elina) listened to.

Not Flightminder

The project group has developed an interface for a very small user group, that is four researchers in the FLIGHT project, so that these researchers can explore data about the flying by academics in KTH.

Homo Colossus

This project has explored and user tested a augmented reality app for presenting how BIG we would be, if we had actually eaten all the energy we use in our everyday life. The user tests showed that users thought the concept was interesting and provoking, but that they also wanted to see their own size.

An average Swede, if eating the energy we use, would be 12 meters tall!

CERO Challenge

This project was based on an already existed app, developed by the company CERO, where the users can challenge each other to change their commuting habits. The project group made a total redesign

Carbon budgets for municipalities

The project group has worked with carbon budgets and made an interface that displays the cumulative and time dependent aspects of carbon budgets. The interface makes it abundantly clear that we have to cut our carbon emission fast.

Habitwise

Based on a already existing system, the project group did a redesign and user tests of a new prototype. The group had focused the app to work with one habit, or area at the time and guide the user through levels of engagement.

Human Powered Interaction

The student group has explored how one could make it more apparent what energy we use when we use the internet. In this project they made prototype for powering the sending of an email through use of human power, in this instance a crank. We learnt that it takes 1 minute 27 seconds to send a short audio hello!

Imagine to have to crank with one hand, in order to send a short message – it makes the energy tangible.

Wasty

This project group have been working with the issue of food waste, and how to help people with behaviour change in relation to food waste through a physical device. They have focused on expiration date behaviour, through working with planning, data and cues.

Meat-o-meter

Meat has enormous environmental impact but does not give us that much calories, and this project group have developed a prototype that can help others to explore these facts. They chose a medical metaphor for their design, in order to show how sick earth is, because of the meat consumption.

Earth is sick, it is an emergency, and this prototype shows the impact of meat on earth.

Make Hippo Hipp Again

The students in this project has made a redesign of an inventory system for food developed in one of MID4S’ kitchen related projects. They had used the personas from Målgruppsarenan in their design work.

In the other room there was also one MID4S related project, and Miriam gives a summary of it:

Sharing preference-based adjustments of online recipes

This group designed and developed a web-plugin (or similar solution) that recognises the ingredients on the recipe sites Tasteline.se, and allows users to in a user-friendly and structured way suggest replacing one or more ingredients by other ingredients.

Overall, the research and designs that the students had done over a short period of time (one period of 7 weeks) was impressive, and thought provoking! Great work everyone!

Eventful Friday 29th of November

Updating the blog have been kind of low on our list of priorities, although some of us (cough cough Björn) could perhaps have mentioned a few projects starting. But here is a blog post of events taking place on the 29th of November that yours truly were part of.

The morning began with a breakfast seminar at Stockholm School of Economics, Reducing Academic Flying, were Daniel and I (Elina) presented our research project Decreased CO2-emissions in flight-intensive organisations: from data to practice. It was a diverse set of people in the audience, students and researchers, from among other places KTH, EECS, Stockholm university and Karolinska Institutet. Despite us saving half the time for questions, we could have easily spent more time discussing this topic. We were also invited to come back when we have come further in the project.

At the end of the seminar, when we throw the questions back to the audience. Foto by Cecilia Katzeff

In the afternoon, we hosted a Repairing and mending event in Middla, our division’s maker space, as a response to Black Friday (here’s an article in Landets Fria regarding the event). The event was originally inspired by a Facebook event called ”Mellandagslagning” and we had an open invitation to bring something that needed fixing, and then perhaps we could together, and with the tools at hand in Middla, figure out how to fix it. And it was a success, here are some of the things that got fixed: two pair of pants, a bag, a knitted sweater, socks, a trainer, two pairs of sandals, un umbrella and earphones. There were also some upcycling, where a soda can got turned into a Christmas decoration. Even those who couldn’t for some reason fix their thing (for example because there were something missing), enjoyed it anyway, because they had started to fix it. There was also a consensus that it was enjoyable to hang around talking while fixing things, and that we will do it again in the spring. A warm thank you to Judith and Jonathan that fixed the event with me and to everyone that showed up! Hope to see you there next time!

Some things getting fixed or upcycled. Or someone that mended something forward! Foto: Elina

Bookchapters accepted

Members of MID4S have two chapters in the forthcoming anthology Making Smart Cities More Playable – Exploring Playable Cities (ed. Anton Nijholt) Springer. ISBN 978-981-13-9764-6 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-9765-3

The Sustainable Playable City: Making Way for the Playful Citizen

Miriam Börjesson Rivera, Daniel Pargman, and Tina Ringenson.

Abstract: To play is a legitimate need of urban citizens, and it is therefore important to enable play in cities and to plan for making cities playable. The playable city is not dependent on the digital technologies offered by the smart city. The playable city “happens” when a city offers suitable (playful) affordances and citizens engage in and make use of them. This ultimately implies that also ‘non-smart’ cities can be playable (and may indeed already be so). In this chapter we explore the intersection of playable and sustainable cities. We argue that the playable city can be placed within the realm of what the sustainable city should be and should aim for. The issue of whether this is achieved by applying digital technologies thus becomes decentred, even though digital technologies at the same time could open up for new and exciting possibilities. Key is to ensure that the playable city is a sustainable city and we should therefore aim for designing and building sustainable playable cities.

The DigiPhysical Playscape

Eva-Lotta Sallnäs Pysander, Jon Back, Annika Waern and Susan Paget.

Abstract: Children’s outdoor play is fluent and fluctuating, shaped by environmental features and conditions. We present insights gathered through a series of field studies in which interaction designers and landscape architects worked together to fuse their knowledge into working solutions for integrating interactive play in outdoor environments. These implementations of interactive play technology have been installed as an integral part of outdoor environments in housing areas and at schoolyards, and have been evaluated with children. The interplay between technology and the environment that are partly natural forest and partly constructed playground will be discussed. We highlight in particular how the interactive technology contributes to the versatility of play activities, but also how the nature setting and the availability of natural materials contribute to the play activities around the interactive artefacts.

 

FLIGHT – Decreased CO2-emissions in Flight Intensive Organisations: From Data to Practice

Today we had the official kick-off of our newly funded project Decreased CO2-emissions in Flight Intensive Organisations: From Data to Practice, internally named FLIGHT for short, which is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency. The project will run from now until 2022, and our aim is to work with departments at KTH in order to fulfil our Climate target of reducing our CO2 emissions with 20% until 2020.

Of course, Daniel had read some papers over the summer concerning this project.

Project members are Daniel Pargman (project manager), Elina Eriksson, Jarmo Laaksolahti, Björn Hedin (from MID) and Marcus Robèrt (from the ABE school). Abstract of the application pasted below.

In flight-intensive organizations, many employees travel both frequently and far – resulting in large CO2 emissions. At management level, there is often an awareness and a willingness to change, as expressed for example through internal climate goals. But at those levels in the organization where concrete decisions are made about when, where and how to travel, there is a lack of awareness and tools to manage these challenges. In this project, we will create and test practical tools to reduce travel-related CO2 emissions, thereby moving from words to action. By using a structured method in combination with analog and digital tools, the project will take stock, visualize, design, plan and mediate negotiations about departmental and individual CO2 emissions and the results will be followed up regularly. The project aims to give flight-intensive organizations greater opportunities to reach or exceed climate targets, thereby contributing to an energy-efficient and sustainable future.

Paper Accepted: Vitiden: Transforming a policy-orienting scenario to a practice- oriented energy fiction

This summer we got a paper accepted in the journal Futures, based on our MID4S (and Green Leap) project  Empowering Energy Futures, financed by the Swedish Energy Agency. The paper is available, open access, until September 7, 2019 at the Futures webpage.

Vitiden: Transforming a policy-orienting scenario to a practice- oriented energy fiction

Josefin Wangel, Mia Hesselgren, Elina Eriksson, Loove Broms, Gabriel Kanulf, Andrejs Ljunggren

 

Abstract
There is a lack of futures studies addressing consumption and lifestyles at the level of everyday life. This article reports on the transformation of the policy-orienting scenario “Legato”, developed by the Swedish Energy Agency in 2016, to a practice-oriented design speculation. The article describes the process of transformation and the resulting energy fiction “Vitiden”. The transformation involved three acts of translation. First, the scope of the transition was explored in-depth, both quantitatively and qualitatively, providing a more detailed understanding of the gap between the ‘sustainable’ 2050 and today. Second, the scenario Legato was analysed for practices and elements of practices that could be elaborated to descriptions of how everyday life could play out in this future. The third step involved re-presenting the practice-oriented scenario as a design speculation. The design speculation was given the form of a book named “Vitiden – an energy fiction” in which the re-formulated version of Legato is presented through text and images, combining a forward-looking manifesto and a backward-looking future archaeology. Besides the written content and the pictures and illustrations of Vitiden, the design of the book is also part of the speculation as it embodies an exploration of how publications, including form, graphic design and choice of materials, could look like in a future such as Legato.

 

ICT4S2019 and LIMITS 2019 – some short reflections

Several of the MID4S team members attended the ICT4S 2019 conference (and related workshops) in Lappeenranta 10-15 June 2019. Below are some very short reflections, please talk to us if you want to have any further elaborations.

Lappeenranta is situated by the shore of the lake Saima. Hard to imagine a city with 100 000+ inhabitants just behind the my back. (Photo: Elina Eriksson)

The ICT4S 2019 conference was fairly small, around 60 attendees, but the general feeling was that the conference was engaging and fulfilling. The conference was sandwiched between workshops, which made the stay longer. Next ICT4S conference will be next year in Bristol!

Some top 5’s by Miriam, Elina and Daniel:

Miriam’s Top 5:

  • Meeting up with all the people that make up the LIMITS/ICT4S community; an overall great crowd and great conversations.
  • The overall feeling that there is so much relevant and exciting research going on!
  • The keynote presentation by Mara Balestrini, which was very inspiring and super interesting.
  • Sauna by the lake (because when in Finland).
  •  Learning how to neutralize an attacking dog (!)

Elina’s Top 5:

  • Hanging out with the community.
  • The LIMITS keynote presentation by David Abson.
  • The ICT4S keynote presentation by Mara Balestrini.
  • Sauna!
  • The default vegan food.

Daniel’s Top 5:

  • Networking and catching up with the other participants.
  • Getting updated on research in the presentations.
  • Getting new ideas for future papers and collaborations.
  •  Sliding into the conference by arriving in time for the social event.
  • Starting to plan the second ICT4S Summer School for 2020 together with Patricia Lago.

A particularly fun surprise was meeting two of our students who were student volunteers!

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The keynote by David Abson on models and leverage points, as interpreted through Elina’s doodling.

Climate and energy in popular culture and geopolitics

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I attended two very different seminars yesterday and today

Yesterday Studiefrämjandet together with Sverok (The Swedish Gaming Federation) organised an evening seminar about climate change, climate angst and climate apocalypse in role playing games, in game culture and in other media (science fiction literature, television etc.). The evening consisted of an invited talk by Leo Calandrella Rudberg, environmental activist and vice chairman at Fältbiologerna (Nature and Youth Sweden/the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation) and a panel about how environmental catastrophes are depicted and processed in gaming culture.

While it was really interesting to listen to an environmental activist who advocated civil disobedience, Leo’s talk was unfortunately not adapted to the theme of the evening so it felt a bit like I attended two separate events. It was however certainly very entertaining to hear about:

  • The role playing game ”Werewolf: The Apocalpyse” where werewolfs (players) hunt down and tear up corporate leaders who  actively pursue environmental apocalypse or who unwittingly contribute to it.
  • The roleplaying game ”Ur varselklotet” and the expansion ”Flodskörden” that builds on Simon Stålenhags retrofuturistic art.
  • The consumerist perspective of many role-playing games (and computer games) where you start with little and then work your way up by acquiring LOOT and better GEAR. How do you plant or propagate sustainability tropes when game mechanics seldom go beyond rewarding individual profit in most role-playing games?
  • The priceless comment that role-playing is a low-carbon hobby since you just sit around a table and talk.

 

Today Utrikespolitiska Institutet (The Swedish Institute for International Affairs) together with the Norwegian embassy organised a breakfast seminar about ”The geopolitics of the energy transformation” (to renewable energy sources). I bumped in to my colleague Leif Dahlberg at the seminar and my CESC ex-colleague Dag Lundén from TeliaSonera was also there.

The topic of the seminar was the just-released 2019 report ”A New World. The Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation” by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation (in cooperation with IRENA, The International Renewable Energy Agency.

I picked up a printed copy of the report and it looks really really interesting, but I also learned that some things were left out of the report (like the fact we are not on track to fulfil the Paris agreement, global population growth, the dilemma of phasing out fossil fuels for exporters like Saudi Arabia or who will bear the costs of closing down coal-fired power stations early (before their economic expiration date)). It’s unclear to me if such topics are untouchable for political reasons or if they were just outside of scope of the commission and the report. Some other things I learned at the seminar was:

  • One of the speakers, André Månberger, (Lund University) seemed like an interesting person to keep track of.
  • There is a Mistra Geopolitics research program (André is part of it). I’m sure that the research output from that program is of interest to me.
  • US president and environmentalist(?) Jimmy Carter said (in response to the oil crises of the 1970’s) that ”you can’t embargo the sun”.

This was not a Great Thunberg-approved event. The basic set-up was ”with the Paris agreement as a backdrop, here are some thoughts about the geopolitical consequences of a global transition from non-renewable to renewable energy”. While those thoughts were in fact really interesting, the elephant in the room is that we aren’t really on track to transition to renewables nor to fulfil the Paris agreement. According to Johan Rockström and colleagues and their ”Global Carbon Law”, we need to reduce global CO2 emissions by 50% per decade between 2020 and 2050 to fulfil the Paris agreement. That is equivalent to annual reductions of 7% per year for the next 30 years. So what currently actually happens (besides verbal promises) is very far away from what needs to happen.

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