In Times Of Isolation, Become A Citizen Scientist
Fifty years ago, Earth Day became the largest people's protest in the history of the world.
And we changed the world for the better, by creating clean air and clean water laws—with the help of scientists, policy leaders, and a movement that couldn't be stopped.
Today's environmental threats of extreme climate change, pollution to our air and water can feel overwhelming.
Fortunately, the Earth Day Network, the U.S Department of State’s Eco-Capitals Forum, and The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars are launching Earth Challenge 2020, the world's most accessible and transparent citizen science database portal ever created.
"Science really created the first Earth Day, because it came at a time when scientists started to understand the impacts of industrial development on our planet. Now, with growing environmental concerns science provides evidence-based policy decisions and upholds the common good." — Kathleen Rogers, Earth Day Network
The initiative will combine data from existing citizen science projects with information from a new mobile app to shed light on key environmental issues and grow citizen science worldwide. And we need your help.
Everyone has a role to play
Students, researchers, and organizations large and small will be working together on this citizen science initiative to help advance environmental research.
In 2017, we launched a global crowdsourcing call for people to tell us “The most important questions in human and environmental health.” Based on results from all 7 continents, we identified six initial research areas to focus on:
Earth Day should not be seen as a deadline but rather a spark that inspires future action.
This is why we're launching the project on Earth Day with two research areas—plastics and air quality—and building out additional opportunities for data collection and data sharing for other key milestones, like World Environment Day.
Throughout 2020, we will roll out additional data collection widgets until we have supported all six of the Earth Challenge 2020 research areas. After 2020, we will work with new partners to identify even more areas to explore.
These data will contribute to existing environmental data to help promote better environmental policies, ranging from single use plastic bans in local communities to monitoring progress against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
All you need is a mobile device to get started. Engaging the world...
Start collecting data on air quality and plastics pollution, and submit!
It's that easy!
The data you submit will be validated by machine learning algorithms or expert reviewers.
The resulting database—of over one billion data points—will be displayed on a public map and made available as open data for researchers to use.
Check the Earth Challenge website for updates and more information.
Together we can collect data to answer the hard questions.
Citizen science projects have been active around the world for hundreds of years. This project recognizes, elevates, and builds upon their work. The value we bring is helping develop and implement data and metadata standards and other tools to help these projects share their open data, and help break down disciplinary silos.
This adds to the narrative that the earth’s most pressing challenges must be solved in a networked approach rather than in a vacuum. Citizen science is a critical source of data that can complement other types of information, like from satellite Earth Observations (EO).
With our partners, we are working to not only integrate citizen science data sets but also create an Open Data Catalogue for the community to find and access open and interoperable information. Citizen science is already used to help understand and solve problems in local communities. Through this project, we hope to enable that data to be re-used by other researchers and policy makers on local to global scales.