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Green Archives

Helping People Obtain, Understand & Use Environmental Information

Background

The U.S. lacks an efficient process for disseminating environmental information. People need information to make environmental decisions. The public is left depending on corporations and government entities to make environmental decisions for them. U.S. citizens rely on a combination of FOIA and some environmental law provisions to obtain environmental information which is problematic because information is hard to find and understand, FOIA exemptions block access and create delays, and agencies use outdated technology. The U.S. part of the Rio Convention, which requires parties to give people access to environmental information, but U.S. currently fails to do so effectively.

Description

Right now, environmental information is hard to get, and even harder to understand and use. Green Archives will be a well-established source for environmental information. It will also go beyond basic information access, connecting people with individuals and organizations that can help them ¨translate” the complex jargon of environmental information and link them to others interested in environmental advocacy and action related to the information they seek. Through environmental information access and online connection opportunities, Green Archives will connect localized communities with wider networks that may help facilitate legislative, judicial, or regulatory community work to face the environmental issue at hand.

Impact

This project helps information seekers to obtain and decode environmental information as both a functional tool and a vision of what government information access in the U.S. could be by providing environmental information gathered from proactive FOIA disclosures and FOIA request responses from federal agencies, and creating a space for experts to assist information seekers in understanding the information contained in the FOIA records. Finally, environmental advocates can use the space to find others sharing interests in the same environmental issues.