(Phys.org) -- Myths circulating online about climate change cause misplaced apathy or alarm. A website built to be the antidote has won a major global award for a team from the University of Southampton.
Globe-Town.org won third prize in the first international 'Apps for Climate' competition (#Apps4Climate) held by the World Bank, presented at a ceremony in Washington DC. By opening up the facts of climate change in different countries, Globe-Town shows how no one is isolated from the consequences in an interdependent world. The site also reveals how responding to climate change presents a world of opportunities to inspire individuals and entrepreneurs.
The application was conceived by web science and sustainability researcher Jack Townsend and developed with a team including four other PhD students from the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre in Southampton's prestigious department of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS).
It was funded by the Research Councils UK Digital Economy Theme which is led by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
Jack says: "The World Health Organisation has estimated that climate change is killing 150,000 people a year. In order to tackle this challenge, we all need to know how it affects us personally and what we can do about it. Globe-Town does this by connecting the global with the local, so we can explore the risks, responsibilities and opportunities of climate change in an increasingly interconnected world."
Globe-Town is an easy-to-use web application where people can learn about each country's environment, society and economy, so they can understand the challenges and opportunities that it faces in a changing world.
Moreover, they can explore the connections between countries through relationships such as trade, migration or air travel. Stories can then emerge of how climate risks can be transmitted between distant countries, for instance the impact of the 2011 Thai floods on the Japanese economy. Similarly, the user can learn about shared responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions through the things we import, or opportunities to act to mitigate and to adapt, such as investing in renewable energy projects abroad.
Jack continues: "I'm fascinated by the potential of web technologies and openness to tackle global challenges and advance sustainable development for all. "Globe-Town is just one example of how they can contribute."
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