Max Liboiron, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador

Denver 2015: Visual and Sensory Approaches

Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) engages in action-oriented research through grassroots environmental monitoring, including citizen science projects that create feminist technologies to monitor marine plastics. Politics and values of feminism– accessibility, equity, inclusion, and justice–are built into how the devices are designed, into the hardware itself, and into how they are used. They are open source, affordable, hackable, do-it-with-others (DIWO) devices built by the people who use them, most of whom are not accredited scientists or engineers.

This is particularly important in Newfoundland, where most scientific protocols for marine plastics don’t work because of the extreme environment. Yet local cultures and livelihoods depend on fishing. As microplastics are ingested by marine life, their associated chemicals bioaccumulate in animals and biomagnify up the food chain, making marine plastics an environmental justice issue. Our tools are designed to make this problem visible and actionable.