The UCRSEA project recognizes the important role that civil society and citizen knowledge development plays in climate change adaptation. That is why we created opportunities for civil society actors to learn about climate change and resilience in ways that work to empower them in the hopes that raising consciousness about the need for climate resilience might provide a springboard into other forms of political action. In addition to the participatory approach our partners took to their research and vulnerability assessments, many UCRSEA partners engaged in citizen science activities with their communities using air quality measurement technology.
The AirBeam, a palm-sized instrument developed by Habitatmap which allows users to measure air quality, including temperature, humidity and particulate matter. The units are remarkably accurate and cost a few hundred US dollars apiece. Local data can be uploaded immediately to an open website and compared with other AirBeam users worldwide, providing a real-time opportunity to learn with other citizen scientists. UCRSEA distributed eight AirBeams to our research partners so that they could engage citizens in urban climate and environmental research, and create new platforms for their voices to be heard.
In Hanoi, Vietnam, AirBeams were used in primary and secondary schools to teach schoolchildren and teachers about local urban air quality. UCRSEA partner CECR also experimented with sharing the AirBeam technology as part of Earth Day 2017 celebrations in a major park in Hanoi.
UCRSEA partners in Myanmar travelled to various cities where they trained university faculty and secondary school teachers in collecting data with the AirBeam, measuring Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) to highlight the dangers of air pollution.
In Maha Sarakham, Thailand, UCRSEA partners worked with collages from the Faculty of Public Health to dramatize AirBeam findings through theatre to help communicate the health risks of poor air quality and rising temperatures.
In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, UCRSEA researchers used the device to warn the public about rising PM 2.5 pollution through the media, identifying parts of the city that had exceptionally high rates of pollution.
Learn more about the AirBeam and how you can use it for your own citizen science projects!