Session 1: Citizen Science and Climate Action


Objective: Provide an overview of citizen science and other collaborative approaches to science-based climate action.

Session structure: Two hours in a classroom, consisting of several lecture segments with Q&A.

Part 1: Climate Action Meets Community Science

Review the goals and structure of the overall course, followed by two talks exploring the drivers of citizen science and community science, associated analytical methods and data collection.

Instructors: Rajesh Kasturirangan (ClimateX), Britta Voss (USGS fellow), Jeff Warren (Public Lab)


  • Community science: Why climate science needs a community approach (Britta Voss)
    • Public disconnect from research and researchers, need for sustained & geographically distributed environmental monitoring, practical need to address immediate challenges facing frontline communities.
    • Slides: Community Science (PDF - 1.2MB)
  • Renegotiating Expertise: Public Lab (Jeff Warren)
    • What are the objectives, how does it work, who participates, who sets the agenda, what types of questions can be answered, what are the challenges, how is it different from / complementary to “traditional” research.
    • Lecture slides and speaker notes

Part 2: Stories from the Field—Methane Leaks

Introduce and discuss a specific example of citizen science field work: methane leaks from the natural gas infrastructure.

Instructors: Nathan Phillips (Boston University), Audrey Schulman (HEET)


  • Why are methane leaks a problem for climate and the environment?
  • Why do leaks happen?
  • How are leaks detected, tracked, and repaired?
  • How can citizens get engaged?

Slides: Methane Gas Leaks (PDF - 4.5MB)

Further reading on gas leaks:

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