Welcome to Globe-Town

Modern life is making us next-door neighbours with far-away places. We share major risks, responsibilities & opportunities with countries around the world, something that is never more applicable than to climate change which connects us all through the environment we share. Globe-Town is a way of viewing information about the countries of the world and exploring how they are connected together. With Globe-Town we can learn about the places we depend upon most and discover what connects them to us. With greater awareness we are better placed to take more responsibility, to mitigate our impacts, reduce risks at home & abroad, and rise to opportunities.

Team Globe-Town

Climate change in Globe-Town

In Globe-Town we can learn about our responsibilities for greenhouse gas emissions at home and also abroad, and hence our shared responsibility for mitigating climate change. We can use it to identify countries with strong potential for mitigation through changes such as renewable energy & energy efficiency. With it we can learn how helping other countries adapt to the challenges of a changing climate is both a responsibility we share, as well as being within our own interests to reduce risks closer to home. We can use it to identify countries with major opportunities to adapt to the changes of global warming through measures such as flood protection, biodiversity & water conservation. It’s a tool for raising awareness of the many points where climate change & globalization intersect; a tool for educating and for connecting with leading data resources such as those at the World Bank. It places global warming & other environmental problems in coordination with social & economic objectives, as an integral part of the broader challenge of sustainable development.

A rough guide to Globe-Town

Globe-Town is a way of viewing information about the countries of the world and exploring how they are connected together. It integrates these two perspectives of country & relationship, so the user can surf links from country-to-country around the world, like surfing the Web itself. When you select your home country at the top of the main page, and then a relationship (e.g. trade), Globe-Town will display the countries which connect via that relationship to your country. These “neighbouring” countries are represented as houses along a street, with the size & proximity to your country’s house indicating the intensity of the relationship. Most of the relationships available offer insights into climate change mitigation (air travel, trade in fossil fuels, electricity, wood, meat or concrete) or the sharing of climate change risk & adaptation (aid, overall trade, or investments). Moving down the page, you can learn much more about the country you’ve selected and the biggest challenges & opportunities that it faces in a changing world. Through these indicators (such as life expectancy) you can explore the three interdependent components of sustainable development in that country: the environment, society & the economy. The careful labelling, sorting, colouring & imagery of the indicators are designed to maximise the clarity of where this country sits relative to others. Clicking on a country indicator opens up an indicator panel, where you can compare this country to others for this particular indicator (e.g. a comparison of life expectancy to other countries). A range of interactive visualisations illustrate how the indicators vary around the world and how they have changed over time. You can observe this indicator in the context of the relationship you’ve selected (e.g. biggest trade partners) with your closest “neighbouring” countries.

A story of climate change mitigation

In the following example, we can see how different Globe-Town features (mentioned in brackets) can work together to build our understanding of how globalization is diffusing responsibilities across borders and around the planet. UK total carbon emissions have been dropping since the 1970s (timeline) as the country has moved from manufacturing to a service economy (indicator), and has recently moved strongly into renewable energy (timeline) to exploit it’s strong wind energy potential (indicator). The UK now imports many goods from China (trade relationship), and China’s carbon dioxide emissions have risen dramatically (timeline) to become the largest in the world (bar graph, map). The implication is that the UK’s apparent emissions reductions at home give a false picture without considering the trade relationships to the world’s greatest polluter, and the embodied emissions of the goods we import (relationships such as trade in fossil fuels, wood, electricity, meat & concrete).

Globe-Town & the future

The aim of Globe-Town is to open up our world of connections to exploration, whilst bringing home what the things we discover might mean to us personally. We hope to bring more transparency to the rich network of our connections, or more succinctly, to introduce people to their far-away next-door neighbours. We are exploring a wide range of possibilities for the future, such as enabling people to act directly through contributing content, e-activism, or crowd-funding projects, in order to take action about what they discover about the challenges of climate mitigation or adaptation. With ideas like these - that build upon the discussions with other users that are already available - Globe-Town can go beyond exploring our existing links to forging new ones around the world. After all, we all live in the same Globe-Town.

Appendix: Globe-Town theory

Globe-Town originated with Jack’s research into the significance of web technologies to responding to climate change (sometimes called the "#cleanweb”). Jack is looking to publish a review which organises the area into five domains. Globe-Town qualifies to four of these: public engagement; innovation & coordination; global development; and adaptation. A major theme emerging from Jack’s research linking Internet & climate has been globalization, and it was from this seed that Globe-Town developed. Transparency and engaging with “collective intelligence” are other themes of relevance from his research. Globe-Town also builds upon the following: