Andy Revkin has a good post up today over at the fabulous Dot Earth blog about how citizens are creating tools to gather data about hydrofracturing efforts across the nation. In my mind, this is something akin to the "street science" efforts Corburn talks about in his book Street Science: Community Knowledge and Environmental Health Justice (though the focus is not always on public health, and the "community" is writ large in this case). Regardless of how you feel about shale gas exploration and extraction, I think we can agree that, in a democracy, it's pretty neat to see citizens involved in the production of scientific and technical data, engaged in important debates about environmental health and safety, and raising the stakes in terms of improving discourse on this controversial subject. This can only be good for democracy.
Such efforts, argues Revkin, are proving increasingly important:
"Given that government resources for environmental regulation (and just about everything else) will be constrained for a long time to come, I’ve been enthusiastic about efforts by the public to take a D.I.Y. (do it yourself) role in tracking pollution or resource issues, whether on the ground or online."