Citizen science matters: theorizing citizen science and exploring its promises for addressing Mekong environmental problems
Keywords:citizen science, environmental governance, Mekong environmental problems, sustainable development
Starting with the view that the emergence of citizen science initiatives proves the fullest potential to address environmental problems and promote sustainability from the ground up, this conceptual paper aims to explore why citizen science matters for a low-carbon future in the Mekong region. Based on a literature review and semi-structured expert interviews, this paper highlights the importance and unique impacts of citizen science in science, policy, and sustainability education spheres. These impacts are reflected in case studies of United States and Belgium. Results from empirical data also reveal that citizen science is transforming research, educating and informing the public, and decentralizing and informing policy. The results further provide promises for addressing environmental problems in Mekong countries where environmental degradation seems to be getting murkier. The paper concludes with a discussion as to how citizen science should be embedded in local environmental governance as it revolutionizes our understanding of the environmental challenges and promotes evidence-informed policy making.
Received 6 october 2021; accepted 4 January 2022
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