Sean Bonner - fellowship review

by SF Team, 1 September 2017

Featured Image
Created by Guido van Nispen (CC BY 2.0)

The magic of Safecast is that it truly puts the power back into the hands of citizens.

Sean Bonner leads Safecast, an initiative focused on enabling anyone to measure and share environmental data. Born out of the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011, they started by monitoring radiation levels in the affected areas, but the specific domain is not the point. Nor do they have any political agenda. Their priority has always been the data - gathering it first-hand and sharing it openly.

The Safecast data has been used at policy level and has fundamentally changed how some agencies approach environmental monitoring. Both sides of the nuclear debate reference Safecast’s data as the most comprehensive radiation data set available. But the most significant impact remains at the level of the individual. Residents have been moved out and back into areas based on the data, and felt safe with that decision because they could take the readings for themselves and even see the readings their neighbours took.

The magic of Safecast is that it truly puts the power back into the hands of citizens. The Safecast monitoring devices, and more importantly the resulting openly available data, enables anyone to measure the environment they live and work in, and make informed decisions about how to remain safe in that context.

Safecast now has more than 70 million radiation data points and counting. In April 2017 they launched Solarcast, adding air monitoring to the device capabilities and thus to their data set.

Sean’s leadership of Safecast as well as on the Fellowship has been inspiring. Sean does not get bogged down in problems, but rather seeks solutions in collaboration with others. This attitude not only keeps his team motivated, but also the volunteers who contribute data to Safecast. Safecast has achieved tremendous impact over its short life so far. We look forward to remaining engaged with this organisation and its leader.

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