In the previous post, My “Why”, or, Flipping Healthcare & Research Upside Down, I went into this explanation of why I’m doing this. The “why” was probably too long.
Yesterday I was looking at a blog and saw an explanation from someone else who evidently gets it, gets this idea and explained it perhaps a little more simply.
Wrenaissance is talking about a citizen science effort to collect and gather data from birders, hobbyists who specialize in bird watching, but who don’t just look at the birds but also keep some data about what they see, where, when, all that. Wren points out that this is a lot of work, and that what you need to satisfy your own personal wants in this area might be very different from what is collected for science initiatives, even citizen science. It’s work. Why would you want to do this, when it means more work?
Then Wren points out a New York Times article in which they noted that without the “yardstick” of data from earlier people who kept their logs and shared their data (ie. Thoreau?) we wouldn’t realize now how much things have changed. For herself, Wren puts it this way:
“I’m honored that eBird wants my data. In addition to not being a poet or essayist, I’m neither scientist nor expert birder. The memory of what I’ve seen and loved in the natural world would vanish without a trace. However, even if I can’t preserve the poetry, I can do this small thing to preserve the world.”
For me, participating in PGen is not so much about preserving the past and present as paving a path to a more personalized and responsive future in healthcare. But really, citizen science, all of it, is many people who are not poets or essayists or scientists or experts saying, “I can do this small thing to help.”