Imagining 2050: The Ireland of the futureThis piece in the Irish Times authored Sylvia Thompson looking at the work of Imagining2050. Published: 30/01/2020
A cross-disciplinary research team from University College Cork (UCC) and Queens University Belfast (QUB) is working with communities already impacted by extreme weather events on how they imagine Ireland will be in 2050.
Although public awareness about climate change has grown hugely in the past 12 to 18 months, there is still a lot of confusion in communities about what actions are the most important to tackle greenhouse gas emissions and how towns, villages and cities across Ireland can best adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Now, this innovative UCC and QUB research project, Imagining 2050: engaging, envisioning and co-producing pathways to a low carbon resilient Ireland seeks to clarify issues and explore with local communities how they can have a sustainable and socially inclusive future.
“The research project is an example of how social sciences can be integrated into the science domain,” explains Dr Ger Mullally, sociology lecturer at UCC and lead coordinator of the EPA-funded project.
Researchers suggest social scientific research of this nature can ultimately be the bridge between scientific knowledge of the problem and the local lived experience.
“Some of the most challenging problems relating to climate change are social in nature. And quite often, the biggest challenge is to create a link between the scale of climate change and its implications for the day-to-day reality of people living, working and caring in their communities,” says Alexandra Revez, senior postdoctoral researcher on Imagining 2050.