Summary of individual-level impacts and factors that contribute to them

Key impacts

Collective intelligence design features that support these impacts

Improved understanding of specific environmental issues and adoption of pro-environmental behaviors

  • Gamification to make learning about climate action fun and memorable
  • Tailored information provision about the issue

Increase in perceived self-efficacy of climate action

  • Tailored information mapping the link between individual contributions and collective impact

Skills development

  • Project wikis to share standardized protocols and resources to support new volunteers with tasks
  • Regular in-person onboarding and skills training
  • Communication and advocacy training for participants


As mentioned, collective intelligence projects breed greater awareness, interest and understanding of climate issues for participants. For example, interest in the climate crisis rose by 15 percent among participants in the Global Climate Assembly, convened for the Conference of Parties in 2020. There is also evidence that participating in data gathering or more experiential initiatives like simulations can help sensitize people to the importance and urgency of climate change and in some cases, leads to adoption of more pro-environmental behaviors. These impacts are typically reported by citizen science initiatives that work with young people where there is a big emphasis on learning.

Gamification helps young people learn links between individual actions and climate change

Bumi Kita is a mobile app aimed at helping children learn about climate-related disasters that affect Indonesia, primarily tsunamis and earthquakes. Young people can build their understanding and resilience through the interactive game, “How if,” which teaches them how to prevent and face impending disaster events. Users can both report and track hazards on the app’s crowdsourced map, helping them to better plan their response as hazards unfold.

Participating in data collection and analysis can also help individuals develop useful digital skills and build a critical understanding of how to use data as evidence for action. Beyond these technical competencies, collective intelligence initiatives often offer additional opportunities for skill development, for example in communication or advocacy. For example, the Plant-for-the-Planet project has trained over 95,000 young people worldwide in advocacy skills through a combination of online and in person workshops. The COLLECT project, which focuses on tracking marine litter, has also supported young people to develop new skills through tailored resources such as step-by-step manuals and YouTube tutorials.

Finally, although relatively few collective intelligence initiatives measure it consistently, a few have reported that involving people in monitoring biodiversity increases their belief in the efficacy of climate action at individual level. Research suggests that this is an important prerequisite to pro-environmental behavior change.