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Learning from HOME, can the Internet change our behaviour?

Publication date: Mar 21, 2006 5:10:58 PM

On April 1st, 2002, University College London in collaboration with Earth Centre, the UK's centre for sustainable development will launch HOME (Helping Ourselves Manage the Environment), an innovative research project aimed at investigating the ways in which people use the internet to learn about environmental issues.

Led by Jacqueline McGlade, Professor of Mathematics at University College London, the project will examine the way in which internet-based information affects people's lifestyles, in particular use of electricity, food, transport and waste.

The HOME project provides participants with access to information about environmental issues. By using an environmental calculator, the 'Ecological Footprint', participants are informed of the resources needed to support their current lifestyles. Each month participants are given suggestions about different aspects of their life. At the end of the month, participants report back on their success at adopting them and the effect on the 'Ecological Footprint' is calculated.

Information about the Internet interactions will be analysed and will provide valuable insights into how people use the Internet to get information and how that information can influence changes in people's daily behaviour.

To register for the HOME project go online at or via Earth Centre's web site

Notes to Editors:

Professor Jacqueline McGlade is one of the UK's leading environmental scientists specialising in mathematical ecology and marine sciences. She is currently a NERC Professorial Fellow at UCL doing research in the field of environmental informatics.

EARTH CENTRE is the UK's demonstration and exhibition centre for sustainable development, based on a 400-acre ex-colliery site in Conisbrough, South Yorkshire. Open all-year, this £50m publicly funded Millennium project is a popular venue for visitors, conferences and residential activity-based school visits. Visitors can see stunning examples of sustainable buildings, explore a landscape of different ecosystems, visit the organic restaurant as well as exhibitions in the Planet Earth Galleries, and interact with the real world in NatureWorks and WaterWorks.

HOME is part of an large-scale European project called VIRTU@LIS which is looking at learning based key forms of Information Technology, including games, virtual realities and web-based information sites. The HOME project is funded in part by the Natural Environment Research Council, under a project on environmental informatics.