Climate Action Hands-On: Harnessing Science with Communities to Cut Carbon

Map image with red line showing the path of van, and some very high vertical spikes.

Participants in this class drove through some urban streets in a van equipped with a GPS-linked methane analyzer, producing data and visualizations like this. The height of the red spikes are proportional to measured methane concentrations. Lower left is near the MIT campus, with the so-called "Alps of Somerville" to the upper right. (Image courtesy of Audrey Schulman / HEET.)


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This course explores how citizen science can support community actions to combat climate change. Participants will learn about framing problems, design ways to gather data, gather some of their own field data, and consider how the results can enable action. Leaks in the natural gas system—a major source of methane emissions, and a powerful contributor to climate change—will be a particular focus.

The course was organized by ClimateX and Fossil Free MIT, with support from the National Science Foundation for the methane monitoring equipment. It was offered during the Independent Activities Period (IAP), which is a special 4-week January term at MIT.

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David Damm-Luhr, Rajesh Kasturirangan, Zeyneb Magavi, Chris Nidel, Nathan Phillips, Audrey Schulman, Britta Voss, Jeff Warren, and Ory Zik. RES.ENV-001 Climate Action Hands-On: Harnessing Science with Communities to Cut Carbon. January IAP 2017. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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