This August, in the hottest day of Santiago de Chile’s winter, under a sunny sky and during an air pollution alert, Nerea Calvillo of Citizen Sense participated in the roundtable “Atmospheric Pollution: Citizen Experiments and Urban Sustainability,” organised by Manuel Tironi at the Universidad Catolica de Chile, under the framework of the Center of Sustainable Urban Development (CEDEUS). Our presentation on citizen-monitoring practices of air quality triggered an intense conversation about the conditions of Chile’s pollution, regulations, and democratic system, which tended to limit possibilities for citizen participation in atmospheric monitoring (according to members of the panel, which included an activist, a policy maker and a researcher). The following day, the conversation continued at the Sociology Institute of the Universidad Catolica de Chile, revolving around issues of governmentality and normativity.
Continuing through the heatwave, Citizen Sense participated in the international conference 4S/ESCOCITE that took place in Buenos Aires, including organising and chairing the panel “Materializing, Practicing and Contesting Environmental Data.“ In this panel, a wide range of insightful presentations dealt with environmental justice, meteorology, climate change, radiation, and air-quality indexes, among other topics. The papers discussed how, when and why environmental data is acquired, displayed and mobilised, by whom and in which conditions, as well as the effects of a lack of data or misinterpretations in the use of data. During the Q&A, questions about the ethics involved in gathering, releasing and activating environmental data were shared among participants. We hope to put together a collection on environmental data drawing on these and related papers, so stay tuned for more material on this topic.