SOURCE: The Scientist

August 28, 2007 14:00 ET

Can YouTube Save the Planet?

Crowdsourcing Video Experiment Aims to Create the Most Compelling Snapshot of Global Environmental Damage

PHILADELPHIA, PA--(Marketwire - August 28, 2007) - Calling all scientists: We want your YouTube videos. The Scientist magazine in partnership with the University of Singapore is calling for submissions of videos documenting global environmental damage.

Despite growing evidence, the public remains largely unaware of the extent of the planet's environmental problems, and government policy makers are still refusing to commit to measures that would help create real change.

The video social networking site YouTube, with over 70 million videos viewed by around 20 million people monthly, was identified by The Scientist to be an effective tool for exposing the extent of environmental damage worldwide. Pooling videos -- proposed in an opinion piece in the September issue of the magazine -- could provide instant evidence of these problems.

The magazine editors and a group of scientists from the National University of Singapore are holding a crowdsourcing experiment to prove this. They are calling on scientists around the globe to post one or more short video clips on a dedicated YouTube environmental damage channel documenting the effects of damage in their local area, such as species and habitat loss, regional effects of climate change, or environmentally unfriendly activities.

Building up a collection of local videos will help create a compelling snapshot of environmental effects worldwide. "The visual image has always been a catalyst for awareness. The problem with global environmental damage is the effects are often far away from the source, making it easy to avoid the problem," says Richard Gallagher, editor of The Scientist. "The more videos posted, the more the public can learn about the problems at hand, and the more that governments will find it difficult to ignore the need to act any longer."

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