Earthwatch in major new freshwater research push
Earthwatch has announced a new five-year learning and research partnership with global financial services provider HSBC. Part of the HSBC Water Programme, the partnership will see up to 100,000 HSBC employees engaged in online learning, 'hands-on' research days, and ongoing self-directed data collection.
Working with local conservation partners, Earthwatch will develop research projects in more than 20 of the world’s biggest cities, located near to major HSBC employment hubs.
HSBC employees will participate directly in these projects, learning about, and collecting data on, their own local communities’ freshwater quality, quantity and biodiversity. The data collected will help to support, inform and transform policymakers’ water resource management plans.
Research subjects will vary, depending on the location and the local issues, but will focus on:
- The links between climate change and freshwater quality and quantity
- The effects of changes in water supply on urban, and near-urban, freshwater ecosystems
- Identifying the types of intervention that can best protect ecosystems downstream from major conurbations.
The common theme running through all of these potential research areas is the involvement of ‘citizen scientists’, initially HSBC volunteers, to capture huge quantities of data. As the programme develops, private citizens and, ideally, staff from other corporate partners will also be involved in monitoring and collating data.
The research sites will all use the same protocols to provide comparable data across the globe. Using a Smartphone data app, individuals will input their own research data into a global database, allowing direct comparison between sites and data sets. The resulting online database will be freely available to academics throughout the world.
Earthwatch has already worked in close partnership with HSBC for over ten years – five in the Investing in Nature programme and a further five as part of the HSBC Climate Partnership. These programmes have engaged and motivated thousands of HSBC staff worldwide, helping them to value their environment and take action to manage impacts in their workplace and in their communities.
“Earthwatch is delighted to be working with HSBC on another global citizen science programme” said Earthwatch Chairman, Professor David Macdonald CBE. “This is testament to Earthwatch’s unique approach to engaging the employees of major companies in pressing environmental issues. By working alongside scientists and community NGOs, Earthwatch and HSBC employees will increase scientific understanding of urban water challenges and develop a community of informed citizens, empowered to take action.”
For more information on the programme, visit thewaterhub.org
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