In uncertain times, citizen science can empower individuals
March 31, 2020
Leaders aren’t incorporating science into policy action. For years, that’s slowed climate action. Now, it’s hurting our response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Scientists have long been sounding the alarm on environmental issues, from climate change to plastic pollution. But those who benefit from the status quo have downplayed the concerns of the scientific community, undermining public trust and letting crises like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic reach a breaking point.
To reverse this trend, and to encourage participation and trust in the scientific community, Earth Day Network, along with the U.S. State Department and The Wilson Center, has created a citizen science platform to unite people around the world under one collective action: collecting meaningful, useful data on the environment.
The platform, called Earth Challenge, will bring people into the scientific community while collecting valuable information about our environment. And just as important, it will bring people together in a time when many feel most disconnected.
For example, a person stuck at home in Kolkata can still contribute to the same dataset as a scientist taking a remote reading in the Andes of South America.
Through the Earth Challenge app, anyone with a smartphone can contribute to a global database of information on air quality and plastic pollution. This data will improve our response to a changing planet and guide future environmental policies.
In the coming months, the platform will continue to expand to include data on other environmental issues, including water quality, insect populations, climate change and food security.
Understanding science improves our lives as a species. In a time when we feel disconnected, it is more important than ever to work together to fight for our planet. Earth Challenge will help us protect our environment through this health emergency.
As we’ve seen with the coronavirus response, delaying action can lead to catastrophic outcomes. We need to learn our lesson once and for all: We cannot afford to waste one more day in responding to global crises. Download the Earth Challenge app today, and on April 22 — the 50th anniversary of Earth Day — join us as we build the largest online mobilization in history.