by Robert Barossi
As noted in this article from Grist.org, citizen science in some form or another, has been around for a long time. The Audubon Christmas Bird Count is cited as just one example, and that’s been happening for a century. But, as this fascinating story describes, there is at least one kind of citizen science that may have a potentially huge impact: air quality testing. Water quality testing by volunteers has also been around for a quite a while. There are numerous stories of volunteers, all over the world, testing the quality of their local waterways. The volunteers in this story, though, are testing the quality of the air we all breathe. In some places, this is the first regular air quality monitoring that has ever happened. In other places, testing the quality of the air has become more and more important, as fracking and drilling sites have multiplied. There are some interesting points of view offered in the story regarding citizen science, it’s importance, potential and even controversy.