Earth Challenge 2020

by Inga Yandell

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, Earth Day Network (EDN), the U.S. Department of State’s Eco-Capitals Forum, and the Wilson Center are launching Earth Challenge 2020 (EC2020)—a global citizen science initiative that will demonstrate how small digital acts of science can add up to global change.

Using mobile technology and an open source citizen science data infrastructure, EC2020 will get a pulse on our environment and empower people around the world to help monitor and improve environmental and human health. EC2020 mobilizes the existing citizen science community while building capacity for individuals around the globe to collaboratively address the world’s most pressing challenges.

As a global call to action, Earth Challenge 2020 can become a nexus for collecting and harmonizing one billion data points in any research areas that impact environmental and human health. At the same time, the “core” research questions identified through a public call offering practical opportunities for communities to collaborate on.

The dual objectives of the challenge support an integrated strategy for engagement and particpation.

  • Increase the amount of open and interoperable citizen science data to help answer more complex, global questions than any dataset could address alone.
  • Through a public call to action, volunteers will use the Earth Challenge 2020 application, mobile app framework, and hardware tools to collect new data. Information will be used to create a data catalogue and API-enabled data integration platform to facilitate discovery and access of existing citizen science information.

Taking a creative approach to discovery and engagement there will also be a series of videos by Wilson NOW available on the platform. Filmed in Washington the series features brief, incisive conversations with leading experts that make sense of today’s headlines and the forces behind them.

In the first Wilson NOW, John Milewski, speaks with Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, and The Wilson Center’s Alison Parker about; how the campaign will engage millions of global citizens to aggregate and collect more than one billion data points from areas including air quality, water quality, biodiversity, pollution, and human health. 

In the subsequent Wilson NOW, John Milewski discusses the potential of citizen science initiatives with Landon Van Dyke, Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of State, and Anne Bowser, The Wilson Center’s Director of Innovation.

Follow the Earth Challenge 2020 Community @EarthDayNetwork, @Earth_Challenge, and @WilsonsSTIP

BEJournal will be supporting EC2020 and you can contribute story ideas or follow us @EarthEndeavours

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Inga Yandell
Explorer and photo-journalist, passionate about nature, culture and travel. Combining science and conservation with investigative journalism to provide educational resources and a platform for science exploration.
Inga Yandell

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