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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

“Citizens Monitor Gulf Coast After Oil Spill”

May 6th, 2010 · No Comments

There’s an excellent roundup of some of the civilian-driven initiatives responding to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The article, “Citizens Monitor Gulf Coast After Oil Spill,” describes the efforts of groups such as the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Grassroots Mapping, Crisis Mappers Net and CrisisCommons to engage citizens to assist in the response:

Here is what MIT student Jeffrey Warren plans to do Thursday: Walk up and down the Louisiana coast holding a kite string that’s tethered to a helium-filled trash bag and a point-and-shoot camera. The set-up may sound goofy. But Warren’s aim is serious. The 26-year-old is trying to monitor the effects of the oil spill that threatens to wreak environmental and economic havoc on the Gulf Coast of the United States…

Warren, who has been working on these “grassroots mapping” efforts for several months, is among a number of people and organizations trying to empower ordinary citizens to document the effects of the massive oil slick, which, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, has released more than 1.6 million gallons of crude into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

As that pollution heads toward the coast, it becomes all the more important that local people help monitor its effects on people, the environment and wildlife, local workers said. They also aim to involve local people in the disaster response, both to keep them from feeling helpless in the wake of the incident and to collect useful data about the extent of the damage.

The volunteers are using a number of new and newly improvised technologies to accomplish these goals, which generally fall within the trend of “crowdsourcing,” or using the skills of many people, in response to a disaster or conflict…

The full article can be found here.

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Tags: Volunteering

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