How to Help Hurricane Victims by Mapping Toxic Spills #CitizenScience #hurricane #science #texas #florida #oil
Work continues as the weather brings another round of hurricanes, and efforts are now taking shape to identify pollution. Storms cause damage to coastline areas, home to many oil refineries, waste water treatment facilities, nuclear plants and other potential hazards. To make matters worse, flooding can cause pollutants from these sites to spread quickly. A post on Civicist offers details on Spill Tracker, a mapping tool that citizen scientists can use to upload reports of their own sightings. It was created by SkyTruth, a nonprofit that uses satellite imagery for all the right reasons—tracking environmental issues, engaging citizen science, sharing data for research and basically keeping the planet honest. The organization comes from a heroic start.
Founded by a geologist named John Amos in 2001, SkyTruth is best known as the organization that first challenged BP’s estimate of the oil spill after the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon exploded in 2010. Using satellite images, the SkyTruth team calculated that the rate of flow from the leak was five to 25 times more than BP was reporting.
Spill Tracker is easy to use, allowing a citizen to input a location, description of the problem, as well as a photo. Pins are starting to emerge in Texas as data is being collected from areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Some of those appear to be gas spills while others are reports of chemical vapors and plumes. Another great thing about SkyTruth is that you can request alerts for environmental incidents that occur at a location of interest. Consider it a warning system that you might not otherwise have. Of course right now the focus needs to be on those being hit the hardest, so spread the word about Spill Tracker and help others to have a voice in repairing their communities.
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.