Sensing for Justice
Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation and as a tool to foster environmental mediation
Safecast premises. Tokyo. Japan - April 2019
CITIZEN SENSING AS A SOURCE OF EVIDENCE IN COURTS
Early results of the research on these questions: 'The Formosa Case: A Step Forward on the Acceptance of Citizen-Collected Evidence in Environmental Litigation?'
TOWARDS A RIGHT TO CONTRIBUTE TO ENVIRONMENTAL INFORMATION
How can the use of civic evidence in environmental litigation be legitimized on the basis of existing and new rights?
Early results of the research on these questions:
Citizen Sensing from a Legal Standpoint: Legitimizing the Practice under the Aarhus Framework
AVOIDING THE COURT USING CITIZEN SCIENCE IN MEDIATION
Could Citizen Sensing be conceived also as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) promoting environmental mediation and avoiding the conflict's escalation to courts?
Early results of the research on these questions: Striving for Good Environmental Information: Civic Sentinels of Oil Pollution in the South of the North
The envisaged opportunities of our idea are many, ranging from a closer connection of the affected people to environmental litigation, to a wider, more diverse and inclusive availability of evidence on critical environmental issues, to the possibility of even mitigating the conflict.
Open access resources
I - Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in courts.
II - Towards a right to contribute to environmental information.
III - Mediating environmental conflicts through Citizen Sensing.
The project output for 2020 is showcased on the #CitizenSData Community page of the European Commission JRC Science Hub.
The project is developed thanks to the support of the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant n. 891513, under H2020-EU, and to the concluded research grant of the Dutch Research Council NWO, the Rubicon fellowship n. 66202117.
Drawing lessons for Europe, through comparison and
lesson-learning from successful and failed cases from all over the world, starting from the landmark Formosa case of 2019, Texas. We are also looking at cases in Latin America, Africa and Asia to bring insights back to Europe.
1 - The Formosa case of citizen scientists that brought to court a petrochemical company based in part on civic evidence (U.S)
2 - The AnalyzeBasilicata case of civic monitoring environmental health issues associated with oil extraction (Italy)
Several more under the radar, such as the civic water monitoring around the Lambro river, Lombardy (Italy); the air and noise monitoring around Malpensa Airport and the city of Milan (Italy); the civic observatory on flood risk on the Brenta Bacchiglione river basin, Veneto (Italy); the spill of plastic matter from a water treatment plant from Capaccio (Italy) to the Mediterranean; the case from Greenpeace Belgium and CurieuzeNeuzen (BE) on air quality data used in courts. More recently, we are turning to Latin America, Africa and Asia as civic actors and peer researchers are informing us on relevant cases.
SensJus funding ended on 31 August 2023. Ideas for creative ways to bring the project forward are very welcome! Please reach us with your suggestions and ideas.
Key take-aways in illustrated briefs
Most of the content of this website is in English, but if you are searching for an Italian outline of the project's methods and results, you can access it here.
SensJus science for policy briefs series
These are briefs that take stock of lessons learned and analyses performed on more generalizable topics which intersect and intertwine with SensJus core focus. You can download the main briefs below:
- Berti Suman, A. (2023) "Civic monitoring for environmental enforcement. Exploring the potential and use of evidence gathered by lay people". European Commission, JRC132206. Download it here.
- Beck, P., Berti Suman, A., Bouraoui, F., Devos, W. and Martini, G. (2022) "An exploration of science in courts - How science supports the enforcement of EU law". European Commission, JRC132401. Download it here.
- Berti Suman, A. et al. (2022) "Doing Science with Art and Art with Science. Supporting art contamination and cross-fertilization with science". European Commission, JRC130525. Download it here.
A useful resource for researchers and practitioners: SensJus with other two Marie Curie projects joined forces to describe how we performed research with shared sensitivity towards our participants. With the support of the Horizon Results Booster, we produced a factsheet (below) and video (left and here).
Art & Science resources
Get our free, open access graphic novel, now available in four languages:
The graphic novel tells in an approachable way the story of an ordinary girl that turns to civic environmental monitoring moved by concern.
Are you interested in translating this or any other SensJus resource in your own language? Feel free to reach us!
For an overview of SensJus graphic resources, visit our dedicated page.
We are also exploring performative art as a research elicitation and dissemination technique. Below you can watch a theatre performance on oil extraction impacts and civic responses through civic monitoring, titled "Terramara"
what's going on
Do you wish to be updated regularly on SensJus progresses? Get our quarterly bulletins below or register through our contact page to our mailing list to receive updates.
Where environmental citizen science meets the law? Just out a co-curated special issue on the scientific journal Citizen Science: Theory and Practice, available in open access at https://theoryandpractice.citizenscienceassociation.org/collections/special/citizen-science-and-law/. This contribution will trigger a needed debate on the legal...
On 1 Dec 2022, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the news section featured an interview where Anna shared in an interview how her career evolved, bringing her to shape the research project SensJus, supported by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual fellowship. The interview is titled:
A collective reflection to explore citizen science to support public services provision under crises at ECSA 2022
SensJus with two co-conveners - Marisa Ponti, University of Gothenburg; Nils Heyen, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research ISI; and live illustrator Alice Toietta - organised a session titled "Rethinking public services provision: citizen science to support public and environmental health services" at the European Citizen Science...
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For questions on the SensJus project, invitations and ideas please get in touch from the button below
SensJus chosen is the 2022 Science Engagement Breakthrough of the Year!
In November 2022, SensJus won the 'Falling Walls' Award in the Science Engagement category. The project was judged as the best Science Engagement initiative among projects from all around the world. We have been invited to pitch the project during the Falling Walls Science Summit 2022, Berlin. Video below.
SensJus was shortlisted at the the EU Ombudsman Award of Good Public Administration and received the JRC Excellence Award
SensJus was the first shortlisted project for the European Ombudsman Award for Good Administration 2023, for "Excellence in Citizen-oriented delivery" (see press release and video), featuring among other impressive projects such as on fighting wildfires and combating international crimes. Thank you all that supported the project with the public vote! Our scientific contribution was recognized by the awarding of the JRC Young Scientist Excellence Award 2023 for "Spearheading (environmental) sensing for justice" (see award ceremony).
SensJus receives Honorary Mention at the EU Prize for Citizen Science
.SensJus features among the top projects selected for the EU Prize for Citizen Science, 2023 edition. SensJus was praised by the jury for "combining art-based research with ethnography and for bringing together grassroots citizens to policy makers". The Grand Prize goes to "Isala: Citizen-science map of the vaginal microbiome", a project on which we wrote an article - "Reimagining health services provision for neglected groups", Frontiers. SensJus also receveide an Honorary Mention at the S+T+ARTS Prize (Science, Technology and the Arts). The jury of the prize noted: "Remarkable is the exploration and research carried out together with the communities and practitioners, which through a special empathy mediated by performative, visual, and narrative approaches, come very close to the ideas and interests of the citizens. It is striking how this project uses creativity and research creation as forms of caring and empathy toward the research subject." SensJus as featuring in the two prizes will be showcased at Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, in September 2023.