Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) is a feminist marine science and technology lab. Our main goal is to conduct science and build technology that foregrounds values of equity and justice, particularly for populations that are negatively affected by plastic pollution. We engage in action-oriented research through grassroots environmental monitoring that emphasis that the process of research, as well as research findings, impacts the world. We focus on do-it-yourself, feminist, participatory, Land-based, and activist methodologies so research contributes to positive change to the environments in which we work and live.
Increasing ecological problems paired with diminishing federal resources and powers designed to protect our environments means that many people are faced with changes that are harming their bodies, communities, and environments. CLEAR specializes in creating low-cost, open-source methods for monitoring environments as a first step in creating change, whether that change is designed for policy, industry, or community forums.
Our techniques include:
Place-based and Land-based Science: Many of the techniques and tools developed in the south do not work in Newfoundland or Labrador. Our tools and protocols are designed to work in and for the place they are used, and to emerge from local issues, landscapes, and contexts. Sometimes this means our findings are not generalizable, but they strive to always be accountable to our locale. This also means that our field work observes Indigenous protocols for removing plants, animals, and other beings from Land.
Action Research: Research is designed from the beginning to be transformative and bring about social or cultural change. It is not enough just to study something; we must impact it. Often this means working with communities impacted by pollution, but also includes the creation of policy white papers, and joining in public discussions about pollution.
Citizen Science: Citizen science is when people who are not conventionally trained scientists systematically collect and analyze data to develop a deeper understanding of their world, with or without accredited scientists. Most of our instruments and protocols are designed with citizen scientists in mind, and non-scientist researchers play key roles in our collaborations, including leading research.
Participatory Research: When research subjects become research participants; members of a community work with researchers to collaboratively create a research question, design a research protocol, collect and analyze data, and validate results. They design the technologies they use. Participants ought to include those most impacted by the issue.
Feminist Science & Technology: We aim to instil the values of equity and justice in everything we do, from asking research questions that matter, to choosing author order on articles, to building technologies that work, in design and/or function, to reduce inequities for women, people of colour, low socioeconomic status, and others that often do not usually get to design or build the technologies they use and need.
Do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-with-others (DIWO): An ethos of design where materials and protocols are accessible, cheap, and shared, so that people can do it themselves or can work in groups to do it together, taking control over the technologies that help them monitor their communities, homes, and environments.
Current members: Dr. Max Liboiron, Justine Ammendolia, Hillary Bradshaw, Natalya Dawe, Elise Earle, Bojan Furst, France Liboiron, Dr. Charles Mather, Jessica Melvin, Melissa Novacefski, Natalie Richard, Jackie Sartuno, Taylor Stocks, Emily Wells, Kate Winsor, Sam Westscott, and Alex Zahara.
Former members and affiliated researchers: Caitlin Adams, Grace Akese, Heather Alexander, Sylvia Amedior, Sheena Blanchard, Nicolas Brouard-Ayres, Juls Budau, Krista Byrne-Puumala, Simbarashe Chiripanhura, Andrea Cnudde, Eilish Cowan,Coco Coyle, Nathan Devenne, Holly Efford, Megan Forsey,William Glatt, Stephanie Greeley, Colin Grenning, Clement Gonondo, Abby Hann, Rebecca Hollett, Cian Kavanagh, Catherine Kenny, David Mandville, Matt McWilliams, Claudine Metcalf, Kristen Milley, Judyannet Muchiri, Maire Nic Niocaill, Adrienne O’Connor, Alicia Poole, Andrea Quigley, Kyra Rees, Rebecca Robbins, Kora Liegh Russell, Patrick Squires, Kaitlind Spurrell, Krysta Tobin, Dr.Yolanda Wiersma, Dr. Sara Wylie, and M. Kelly Young.
Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research
C/O Max Liboiron
SN2006, Department of Geography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s, NL A1C 5S7