Eco-Ethnography and Citizen Science: Lessons From Within

Citizen science is the participation of non-scientists in the collection of scientific data and other aspects of the scientific process. In this manuscript, we explore what it means to participate in citizen science from two perspectives—that of a researcher designing and facilitating a citizen science project, and that of a citizen scientist volunteering the time and energy required for participation. We examine the methods and goals of the projects, describing the challenges faced by researchers and science volunteers alike as they participate in research processes aimed to increase community involvement in science and, by extension, environmental management issues. We describe how the constraints of citizen science models and methods underscore the importance of incorporating alternative anthropological and ethnographic approaches in coastal research, and offer eco-ethnography as a way for scientists to extend their citizen science projects to better reflect the needs and concerns of local communities impacted by climate change and sea-level rise.
Key words: Coastal management, citizen science, eco-ethnography, increasing diversity in science, public engagement.
Please contact the author for a full copy of the article.

Urban Tides Gives Rise to Community Resilience

LA JOLLA — At its peak, the king tide swallowed the entire beach, pushed past a low seawall, spilled across the bike path, and flooded the parking lot. Just past sunrise, heavy mist still lingers in the air as a group of volunteers walk along this stretch of beach in San Diego, CA. About 20 people – mostly coastal residents along with a handful of scientists and graduate students – have gathered to photograph evidence of flooding and erosion due to the extreme high tide.
See U.S. Southern California Sea Grant’s 2016 report “Urban Tides Gives Rise to Community Resilience” for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Citizen Scientists Learn to Document El Niño’s Impacts

SAN DIEGO — On a morning this week at La Jolla Shores, the tide was high and so was the enthusiasm of 20 citizen scientists who were training to help document the impact of El Niño along the coast. The group of volunteers was learning to capture images of beach erosion and coastal flooding in a way that would be useful to researchers. It’s part of what the real scientists are calling the Urban Tides Community Science Initiative.
“If we actually get folks taking pictures from the same locations, pointed in the same direction, repeatedly — so say, every day or every week — that’s actually the most valuable data for us,” said Sarah Giddings, a researcher and professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
See Susan Murphy’s Citizen Scientists Learn to Document El Niño

La Política del Surf: “Me Preocupa el Desarrollo Desmedido”

El SALVADOR — Una entrevista realizada hace cinco años ya reflejaba los desafíos que la costa salvadoreña enfrentaría por la falta de planificación. El turismo ligado al surf ha transformado la vida de miles de habitantes de las playas del país, pero estos sufren las tensiones entre los surfistas locales y los turistas, la privatización de las playas y el temor al deterioro ambiental.
Read: La Política del Surf – Me Preocupa el Desarrollo Desmedido

¿Por Qué Peligra El Turismo? Surfistas y La Privatización del Acceso a Las Playas

EL SALVADOR — Las excelentes olas para el surf son un recurso natural de El Salvador y un atractivo, desde hace décadas, para el turismo. Pero una investigación etnográfica sobre la explotación de la costa muestra que la privatización del acceso a la playa puede matar la gallina de los huevos de oro. Cuando los funcionarios del gobierno salvadoreño firmaron los Acuerdos de Paz en 1992, la comunidad mundial de surfistas prestó atención. Durante 12 años, mientras la guerra civil asolaba El Salvador, el turismo de surf se estancó. Las grandes extensiones de playas de olas vacantes, que atraían a pequeños grupos de surfistas extranjeros en la década de 1960, generalmente estaban ubicadas en zonas que durante la guerra eran consideradas volátiles.
Read: Por Qué Peligra El Turismo – Surfistas y la Privatización del Acceso a Las Playas

Surf Tourism: Social Spatiality in El Tunco and El Sunzal, El Salvador

When Salvadoran government officials signed the Peace Accords in 1992, the global surf community took note. For twelve years, civil war had ravaged the Central American country, leaving nearly 80,000 civilians dead or missing. Once the republic re-emerged as a popular surfing destination, miles of pristine beaches and near-vacant waves were no longer accessible only to the fearless. By the turn of the century, a beach town nicknamed El Tunco became a refuge where waves beckoned the war-weary. Between 1993 and 2009, El Salvador attracted an estimated 12.5 million tourists, many of them in search of surf El Tunco’s evolution into a wavetopia raises several issues that warrant attention. This paper examines how the global surf industry affects EI Tunco’s economic and cultural landscape. Grounds for the study concern tourism, property rights, capital investment, and the aftermath of neoliberal reforms. Ethnographic and field research conducted in August 2010 indicates property values in El Tunco have nearly tripled since 2005. Matters pertaining to land ownership and beach access also have aggravated social tensions. One central argument emerges: Surf tourism serves as a key sector in a depressed Salvadoran economy wherever waves are in demand. Published scholarly analyses dissecting the influence of the global surf industry on specific Central American countries are either undeveloped or nonexistent. The qualitative data presented should fuel discussions and promote more awareness among individuals who recognize surfing as a globalized lifestyle, sport and business.
Keywords: EI Salvador, EI Tunco, El Sunzal, Surf, Tourism, Neoliberalism, Property Rights, Civil War, Travel, Waves, Spatiality
Please see: Surf Tourism – Social Spatiality in El Tunco and El Sunzal, El Salvador.