How Citizen Science Will Save the Planet!

Here’s a powerful guest post, currently featured on SciCheer’s sister-site, ScienceForCitizens.net. Check it out!

Ponder for a moment this quote written by Aldo Leopold in the late 1940s:

“We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, or otherwise have faith in.”

Food for thought, especially if you are a citizen scientist like I am. And even more so if you are a citizen scientist who cares about the environment and believes deep down that citizen science just may save the planet. But who am I to come up with such crazy theories? Hmm, I suppose this calls for an introduction…

My name is Anne, La Señorita Toomey, citizen science aficionado and lover of all things natural. I’m so into citizen science that I’m actually embarking upon a Ph.D. program in the fall to study citizen science as a tool for conservation in one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, Madidi National Park in Bolivia. In the meantime, I’m spending my days – and some insomnia-ridden nights – thinking about how and why citizen science is likely to become the most important discovery for the environmental movement in the 21st century.

With the promise of solar energy, hydrogen-powered cars, and molecule transporters (okay, so that last one is on my fantasy wish list), citizen science may sound like a hokey solution to the incredible array of environmental challenges we are currently facing. But if we look deeper into the meanings of science and citizenship, we realize that encouraging non-experts to participate in the building of knowledge about how our world works may have profound implications for the way we, as a global community, will relate to our natural environment. Read the rest of this awesome post.