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Community science and the post-pandemic world

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Community science and the post-pandemic world

Thriving Earth wants your thoughts!

By Erin Gleeson, Thriving Earth Exchange staff

To say that COVID-19 has changed – IS changing – life as we know it is something of an understatement. Within a matter of a couple months, it has touched nearly every single person on this planet.

And yet, there will be a point when this is over. The question is, indeed, what will the world look like when it is over?

To kick off the conversation, we are asking you to take a moment to add your thoughts to our idea board:

Consider the communities you belong to and the changes you’re seeing/making in the wake of the pandemic. How can we use community science to leverage those changes (good and bad, geoscience-related and otherwise) for a more just, equitable and sustainable future?

When this is over, what will you do? Will you travel more? Hug your friends? Visit your family more often? Get back in shape? Change your job? Finally take up that hobby you’ve been meaning to start for years? “When this is over” is a phrase that is cropping up again and again as these weeks of corona caution stretch on. Yet, whenever I hear it or say it, I wonder. When this is over, what will the world be like?

On my part, I’m organizing my neighborhood to restore our green spaces and advocating for DC to follow Seattle’s lead in making the city a safer place to walk. I am also writing letters and signing petitions to encourage policymakers to pursue policies that don’t just get us “back to normal,” but move us forward to a new normal that’s greener, healthier and more just. We’re looking forward with similar goals in mind at Thriving Earth Exchange. Just two months after COVID-19 sent us home, we’re nearly ready to virtually engage a new generation of individuals and communities in developing projects that will build resilience for facing future challenges.

As we enter our tenth week of quarantine, I am wondering what should we, as both citizens and scientists, be doing now to ensure that the world we enter when this is over is the one we say we want. What role does community science play in shaping the post-COVID world? And how do we even begin?

The idea board is free, anonymous and no sign-in is needed. Please be thoughtful and respectful in your responses and as concrete as possible. We’ll use your responses as the basis for new discussions throughout the year. Let’s use this crowd-sourcing of ideas and actions to build a movement of science and community that ensures that when this is over we step into a world in which equity has advanced, resilience is being achieved and sustainability is at the front of everyone’s mind.

Kelly McCarthy editor

1 Comment

P. IwasakiMay 19, 2020 at 4:27 PM

Hopefully the return to “normal” will not include a) driving as much, b) flying as much, c) going out and eating in places where they give larger than normal meal amounts so food goes to waste, d) monitoring water use, while still maintaining hygiene, and e) seeing family time as “wasted.”

We have a chance to envision how the world could be if we all adhered to ecological standards as generations before us had lived. Expand implementation of climate action to beyond the walls of your home, include neighbors in saving as your family. Practice kindness and thoughtfulness beyond the walls of our home. It IS our larger home that is truly at risk.

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