Sensing for Justice 

Citizen Sensing as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation and as a tool for environmental mediation

Safecast premises. Tokyo. Japan - April 2019

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. 

       Project's aims 

CITIZEN SENSING AS A SOURCE OF EVIDENCE IN COURTS

What is the potential of introducing citizen-sensed evidence for environmental litigation in European courts? Which barriers need to be removed? 

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

SensJus vision

The Sensing for Justice (SensJus) project researches the potential of grassroots-driven environmental monitoring, i.e. Citizen Sensing, as a source of evidence in environmental justice litigation, and as a tool for environmental mediation in extra-judicial setting. Our research addresses an urgent need for multi- and interdisciplinary research to understand emerging possibilities of the practice.

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

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RESEARCH OBJECTIVES 

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.

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CONTINENTS

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.

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CASE STUDIES

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 will end on 31 August 2023. Ideas for creative ways to bring the project forward are very welcome! Please reach us with your suggestions and ideas.

SensJus policy series

The SensJus policy perspectives 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:

We believe in the synergy of Art and Science. For a selection of SensJus drawings visit our dedicated page.

Get our free, open access graphic novel, now available in four languages:

- English - Italian - Spanish - French

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!

what's going on

Project news 

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