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Advocacy means taking action to effect change in an issue that personally matters to you. Advocacy makes up a large portion of activity undertaken in community science projects. These projects often produce much-needed data about an environmental issue, and that data needs someone to speak for it [1] to different audiences:

  • Your neighbors
  • Elected representatives
  • The press
  • Regulatory agencies
  • In court

This page is a place to collect and organize resources on advocacy. Visit the advocacy tag page to see the latest community posts about advocacy on Public Lab, and get updates on this topic by following:

Follow Advocacy

Also visit related pages on organizing, community science, and law and policy.

Sources: [1] @kgradow1’s presentation about the bucket air monitor.

Lead image: Peter Blanchard, CC BY

On this page you can:

Learn about different advocacy methods and do or add an activity

Join the conversation
  • Ask a question, answer a question, or follow future questions on advocacy
  • Post an issue brief that describes your advocacy work

Read stories on community science advocacy

Find further reading and resources on advocacy

Advocacy methods

Within the five main types of advocacy efforts (communicating with your neighbors, the press, elected representatives, regulators at government agencies, and through litigation in court), here are some particular processes that projects may seek to generate or contribute to:

Connecting with peers

Increasing your reach

Bumping it up a level

  • Power mapping to know where to focus your efforts
  • Pressuring elected officials to act on an issue
  • Making an issue a focus of an upcoming electoral campaign season

Engaging with environmental governance processes and political realities

  • Providing public input to established regulatory processes such as permitting for land uses that are continuing, changing, or new.
  • Documenting exceedances or violations to trigger agency investigation, administrative action, and/or enforcement action
  • Identifying gaps in regulatory coverage and designing new regulations
  • Providing political cover to regulators so they can stand up to corrupt political/economic influence (Example: showing proof of valid grounds to sue the government agency for not acting)
  • Litigation against government agencies for not meeting legal standards for environmental protection

Interacting with more powerful corporate neighbors

Additional methods published on Public Lab and tagged with advocacy will appear on the advocacy methods page:

More on the types of audiences projects may seek to reach

2017 barnraising

Image: from this post by @a1ahna

  • Others who are affected
  • Neighbors who are also constituents
  • Community leaders in churches, schools, civic associations, care businesses
  • Landowners making private land use decisions
  • Elected representatives
  • Agency civil servants
  • Industry employees, management, ownership, or board of directors
  • Journalists
  • Environmental lawyers


Activities on Public Lab that have been tagged with activity:advocacy will appear here

Research notes

You can find all research notes on Public Lab that have been tagged with advocacy here:

Join the conversation

Questions from the community

  • See if other community members are asking questions like yours
  • Ask a question so other community members can offer support
  • Sign up below to be notified when someone asks an advocacy-related question

Questions tagged with question:advocacy will appear here

Title Author Updated Likes Comments
What strategies have been implemented to use citizen science successfully in litigation? @julia_e_masters over 1 year ago 1
Enforcement on inactive permits? @ekpeterman almost 2 years ago 3
How do you turn results about environmental pollution into personal actions that people can take? @bhamster over 2 years ago 2
How do you make results from environmental monitoring personally meaningful to people? @bhamster over 2 years ago 2
What methods have you used to raise initial public awareness of a local issue? @bhamster over 2 years ago 8
Are there examples where environmental concerns were addressed as a result of people filing complaints (or suspected permit violations)? @stevie over 3 years ago 7
What actions can residents take to use environmental data to make an impact in their community? @jessicac almost 4 years ago 4
How can DIY/community-collected environmental data be used? @wmacfarl about 4 years ago 4
Why do individuals/organizations want to collect water quality data? @wmacfarl over 3 years ago 3
Has odor ever been used against an industry in court? @stevie almost 5 years ago 4
How could the new basic microscope project be used in building towards advocacy outcomes? @stevie about 5 years ago 0
How is a Technical Advisory Committee formed (for a Citizen Science Project)? @jjcreedon almost 6 years ago 4
Looking for open data resources to track public permitting processes. @kgradow1 almost 6 years ago 1
What do you do if your environmental concern is linked to your neighbor's paycheck? @gretchengehrke about 6 years ago 2
How do I know which key points to push when making a public comment against an industry? @stevie over 6 years ago 1

Post an Issue Brief

Share information about a local environmental health concern and get support from the Public Lab community by writing and posting an Issue Brief. Visit “Write an Issue Brief” to find information on what an issue brief is, see examples, and learn how to write one.

Stories in community science advocacy


Image: by @mlamadrid, from this story about using balloon mapping to temporarily stall eviction proceedings in Kampala, Uganda

Further reading and resources

Wikis on advocacy

Title Updated Version Views Likes
Law and Policy over 1 year ago by bhamster 7 266 1
Advocacy almost 2 years ago by bhamster 2 379 0
Topics almost 2 years ago by bhamster 22 16,202 3
Advocacy with Maps over 2 years ago by bhamster 5 353 1
Action-Oriented Resources over 4 years ago by stevie 40 353 0
Study design over 4 years ago by warren 3 398 0
Frac Sand Advocacy Leverage Points about 5 years ago by stevie 35 529 0
Blog Drafting almost 6 years ago by gilbert 15 250 0
Creating a Media Campaign over 6 years ago by xose 23 901 3
Choosing advocacy pathways over 6 years ago by stevie 9 491 1
Enviro Guide Resources almost 7 years ago by eustatic 9 323 0
wetlands-advocacy about 8 years ago by gretchengehrke 13 305 1