Awareness Sheet

Some events in the environment cannot be sensed without scientific equipment, and even with it, are hard to understand without specialist training. Developing an understanding can also be challenging when people have strong views on an issue. It is important to understand the measurements you have collected and how these relate to impacts: for example, if you measure a high level of air pollution at a certain place for half an hour, what does that mean in terms of health impact? How does that relate to the legal limits on air quality, which might be designated in 24-hour or annual averages? ‘Relating measurements to action’ is a technique aimed at helping community members understand the broader implications of their measurements, and their options for action as a result.

Format Method, WorkshopTimeframe < 1hGroup Size AllFacilitation Level MediumRequired Materials Pen and paper, Post its


  • Divide everyone into small groups of 4 or 5 people, giving each an A3 print of the Awareness Sheet, and offer clear instructions before starting.
  • The tool has two important elements: the ‘action’ layers and the scale.
  • There are four ‘action’ layers: community, industry, government, academia. They represent different stakeholders that play a role in the situation.
  • The scale at the bottom illustrates a potential value that is measured. The example shows radiation, but this can be replaced by any measurement scale.
  • Groups can determine together which action they can take, and which action they expect of others at different measured values. For instance, at a low level of radiation you might stop eating lettuce from your garden. At higher levels you might expect Government to supply iodine pills.
  • Have groups present their findings to each other at the end of the session.


In order to act on information, you have to be able to understand it. Often, things we physically cannot sense by ourselves are more difficult to grasp. By relating measurements to tangible impacts, these become actionable, which helps to make sense of these complexities, like the relationship between actors and expectations about responsibilities.


Keep in mind the following guiding question while implementing this method: what are the implications for you and your community of changes in the environment you cannot see?