Public Lab Research note

Organizing and Advocacy Happenings at Public Lab!

by julia_e_masters | May 11, 2022 23:43 11 May 23:43 | #30715 | #30715

Over the last few months, we've had some great events and work highlighting advocacy and organizing efforts among our community. Check them out here!

We hosted a virtual event on Environmental Storytelling - Stories from the Field on April 14, 2022 (see notes here), facilitated by @fongvania, the Air Quality Research Curation Fellow. This event introduced the role of storytelling in community science and environmental advocacy, and three guest speakers presented examples of projects that integrate the power of narrative and with community environmental science. Topics explored in this event included storytelling's relationship with quantitative data, storytelling as a form of data, narrative as a means for sensemaking, and the social nature of research and data collection. See the recording here.

  • -><-Dr. Bethany Wiggin presented on Futures Beyond Refining, a campus-community partnership that used stories and oral histories to address environmental data poverty in South Philadelphia, the site of a catastrophic explosion of a petroleum refinery.
    Presentation: Futures Beyond Refining
  • Hanna Mesraty (@lichenscitisci) showcased the Lichens CitiSci project, a Forest Service initiative that engages citizens to collect lichens to support air quality monitoring, which enables them to build an embodied connection with these marvelous life forms and directly contribute to research.
  • Maru García presented on Pb (Prospering backyards) and illuminated the power of art, science, and community to expose and address a severe case of lead contamination in Los Angeles.
    Presentation: Pb. Lead in South East LA

In Louisiana, the burden of regulating our air and water quality repeatedly falls to the citizens. The Game Over Formosa Plastics Fellowship team has been working to capture the impact of air pollution on community members by matching ambient air quality data to first-hand reports from people on the ground. Yet, even when data is collected and reported alongside accounts of rancid odors, garnering a meaningful response from the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) remains difficult.

That's why, in the coming months, this team will be collaborating with colleagues at EarthJustice to create a Reporting Guide. The guide will include a list of the names, AI numbers, and exact locations, of every plant in St. James parish, to help residents identify which plant may be causing a particular odor and provide as much information as possible to DEQ. It will use insights from the Louisiana Environmental Action Network's Citizen's Guide and Tulane Environmental Law Clinic's Citizen's Guide to streamline explanations of different reporting mechanisms. Learn more about the origins of the project here, and to follow the project's ongoing work, follow the tag #formosaplastics.

Stay tuned for other upcoming advocacy and organizing happenings within our Public Lab community!


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