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Communities in Action
New England-wide: Technology for Grassroots Action: A partnership with Toxics Action Center and the Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
Community organizing goes a long way to shine a spotlight on pollution problems, but in some cases community organizing alone is not enough to clean up pollution. Often, fighting pollution in your own community requires scientific data to demonstrate the problem and push for the appropriate cleanup. However, scientific technical assistance can pften be one of the most expensive pieces of your grassroots campaign. That’s why we are working to connect you with grassroots technology that builds the capacity of citizen groups to assess their own pollution problems!
What is grassroots technology?
Grassroots technology consists of inexpensive, accurate, “do-it-yourself” scientific tools for community activists to use to collect and develop the data they need to advance their effort to clean up pollution locally. The goal of using grassroots technology is to increase a community’s ability to identify, redress, remediate, and create awareness and accountability around environmental concerns. "DIY" technology and science seeks to close the gap between professional technical expertise and local grassroots organizing that seeks to tackle environmental problems.
Toxics Action Center has teamed up with the nonprofit Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science (Public Lab). Public Lab specializes in creating open-source tools for environmental exploration and investigation, including aerial mapping, near-infrared cameras, thermal photography, indoor air quality mapping and hydrogen sulfide sensing.
How can we help?
Is your community faced with a serious environmental problem but you don’t have access to technical assistance? We can work with you to identify an application for grassroots technology and monitoring on problems such as landfill pollution, illegally-operating junkyards or poorly-sited industry. We can then work to train you on the tool to document the problem and use the data and information to make your case to neighbors, the media, and elected officials.
Toxics Action Center can work with you to use the following tools:
- Kite Aerial Mapping: Using a kite and camera combination to take aerial images of the current or emerging pollution threat in your community. Click here to learn more about the tool and how it can be applied.
- Spectrometer: Using a smart phone and low cost material to analyze solid or liquid samples in order to identify contamination in water and soil. Learn more here.
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