The Anthropocene Household

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The Anthropocene Household Project explores the Anthropocene at the local level by focusing on the household as a way to better understand lived experiences, knowledges, and practices associated with environmental change.

Phase 1: 2018-2019

In its first phase, The Anthropocene Household focuses on Indiana households–specifically consumption of and knowledge about water in four neighborhoods in Indianapolis: Riverside/Crown Hill, Christian Park, Irvington, and Sunshine Gardens.

The Anthropocene Household uses a “citizen science” approach, working with residents, community organizations, neighborhood groups, schools etc. to collect water samples from households throughout the study area. These water samples will be tested for a number of pollutants, including heavy metals, arsenic, atrazine, and more.

Using the findings, the researchers will create a GIS-based, open access data set that provides a much more comprehensive understanding of water quality in Indianapolis. Those households who participate in data collection will each receive a report of the testing done at their residences.

Data on water quality will be supplemented with a mixed methods approach that includes surveys, focus groups, interviews, and oral histories. The purpose of this will be to capture and better understand local narratives and understanding about water specifically, and the environment more generally.

Data collection will be supplemented by educational programming, as well as community-based art projects, focused on understanding environmental histories and legacies in each neighborhood and expanding knowledge about the environment. The project team will also work with residents to develop workshops and an exhibition around the issue of water, sustainability, and environmental change in their neighborhoods.

This project is funded by the IU Grand Challenges: Prepared for Environmental Change initiative and is affiliated with the Memory, Place and Community in Global Water Systems Working Group of the Sustainable Water Future Programme, a project of Future Earth.

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