Citizen Observatories can trigger various changes. Most typically, Citizen Observatories aim to help make improvements in the physical environment. However, impacts can also range from changes in public awareness and understanding to changes in individual people’s behaviour or changes in policy. Although many Citizen Observatories aim for one or more of these changes, each type of change requires deliberate actions to be attainable.
There are different ways that Citizen Observatories can improve the environment and trigger social and institutional changes: they can help raise awareness among the wider public about the specific environmental issues; they can help foster behavioural changes in individuals, groups and entire communities related to the causes of the environmental concern at the heart of the Citizen Observatory; and they can contribute to policy changes.
There is no single formula for achieving these impacts. Rather, it is important to think about the type of change you envisage, what has to change in the present and the steps you can take towards long-term impact and change. Often this is done at the start of setting up the Citizen Observatory, especially if it is being co-designed (more on co-designing a Citizen Observatory here). Moreover, while it is possible to trigger some specific changes, it is also important to realise that many changes are actually beyond the immediate control of your Citizen Observatory. Finally, when the members of your Citizen Observatory co-create the change they want to see, solutions are more democratic and include a wider variety of perspectives.