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Celebrating Earth Day

Earth Day is a yearly reminder about environmental and climate change challenges. It is a day to raise awareness amongst all of us about the unique and diverse needs and risks faced by millions. It draws our attention back to the interconnected and interwoven nature of ecosystems, human activity, lived spaces, and well-being. It is also a day to take serious stock of the opportunities at hand to address environmental futures and look at how we can each do our part. It is a chance to inspire (and re-inspire) individuals, communities, and governments to keep these issues in the foreground and to act. It is a significant moment for global action for the environment.

At Trilateral, we directly acknowledge the broad spectrum of issues Earth Day elicits and take these challenges at the core of our work. Any action on climate change, clean energy, green deals, and just transitions require deep, interdisciplinary, and collaborative engagement that stands between society, technology, and the environment. Emerging technologies and societal practices can shape a better future, but only if we work across innovation, public policy, and meaningful citizens involvement, paired with a critical assessment of the potential impacts of the choices we make.

One approach is to engage how the challenges are framed in ways that helps to re-envision the complexities of the puzzle. This can involve pushing the boundaries of what parts need to be known to appropriately represent the whole environmental picture. This is at the core of the work of the TRIM project, where we are working to develop a novel sociotech approach to air quality data analysis that is not just about measuring what pollutants are in the air but also about how those pollutants interact with the data representing the social lives that breathe that air. Similarly, EERAdata and Data-Cellar explore how energy efficiency and energy-use data for lived environments can offer insight into how different forms of energy savings offer benefits to different ways of living and working in those environments.

Another is to explore the impacts of innovation on how we frame the environmental problems and needs. Within the project aqua3S, Trilateral has explored how innovative sensors within water utility infrastructures to identify pollutants more effectively, also impact what kinds of environmental risks and needs are highlighted, from the geopolitical to the household tap. PestNu translates these challenges into agriculture, where we explore how innovative sensors can improve awareness of crop health, while also impacting the ways that pests are understood and how crops can best be planted.

Equally important are offering the people impacted the means to speak about how they are affected, providing fair access to resources for mitigation and adaptation, and ensuring that distribution of benefits and burdens do not unintentionally help or hinder some groups over others. RealDeal maps out what meaningful participatory processes can look like around climate challenges, and how these processes can inform effective and just policy change. Firelogue approaches the challenge from the risk management side, looking at how practices around wildfires can be improved in ways that support a just transition.

Through the projects we execute, the research we conduct, and the products we develop, Trilateral has developed a deep understanding and appreciation for the effort needed to stop and reverse the damage done to our planet. Trilateral will continue to do all it can do ensure we leave a safe, habitable, and healthy planet for future generations.

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