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Section 143
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Free Pint guide to sources of Environmental information


Keywords :- The Free Pint guide to sources of Environmental information on the Internet.

The ICE age | The 'new' value chain model | Genetically modified whales | Sorry no genes allowed | My 486 is better than your ISDN | Organisations Societies and Communities | Publishers | Gateways | Medical research | The DETR | National Grid for Learning | Other interesting sites | Kyoto Fizz |

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The ICE age

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Apparently we are now in the grip of an ICE age (information, communication, entertainment) hence every business nowadays is an information business. The key attributes of the information age are

(a) digital resources - which are paradoxically abundant and
(b) workers who can operate with knowledge rather than with machines - who are somewhat rarer.

The old value chain model in the physical world consisted of starting with some raw material (such as iron-ore), then transforming it with labour and machinery (into steel sheets) and finally selling it onto someone else to perform a transformation act again (into a tin can perhaps), who would then sell it onto the end user (the baked bean factory)

 

The 'new' value chain model

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The key process sequences in the information age are:-

    Gather => Organise => Select => Synthesise => Distribute

This 'new' value chain model sounds suspiciously like a well-run website! However the bit that is missing is how you persuade someone to pay for your output, which is the major problem one has running an environmental website.

This admittedly is a problem for most websites, but at least it can be partially solved by taking the 'evil advertising dollar'. However if you are supposed to be an 'independent non-biased' source of vital information for the future of the planet... (and you put in the ''s where you want to, depending on how cynical your view of the world is !) then adverts are out.

 

Genetically modified whales

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A large number of environmental websites tend to be Government or NGO based, as afterall they are the ones involved in passing the laws that require enforcement.

For example at Kyoto various agreements were made about reducing Carbon Dioxide emmissions. In the short-term this will mean a cost to business, with no real incentive to implement environmental measures. Obviously in the long-term, if there was to be a rise in sea-level due to global warming, then not doing anything would prove to be far more costly !

Having said that the sources of environmental information on the internet are many and varied, with often, the website pushing a particular agenda or emotive issue (whether it is logging ancient forests, killing whales or growing genetically modified food). Hence the 'surfer' has to be especially on the lookout for bias in the information that is available.

 

Sorry no genes allowed

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All too often there is a missmatch between the designer of the site (using the latest browser version with plug-ins) and the surfer (who may be browsing from home on a dial-in connection). The latter is after a quick download of hard facts, whilst the former is more interested in a 'kewl' design - such as red text on a blue background.

The problem is that the main audience for environmental information is usually an individual, who quite often has a perfectly workable 486 running Windows 3.1 (or the Mac equivalent). Horror of horrors they may even still be running a browser without plug-ins that doesn't do frames !

Most of the environmental sites in the USA realise this and offer a choice of 'framed OR non-framed' sites. However over here in the UK some 'enlightened' sites even tell you you must also have Javascript, Shockwave, frames and a password to pass between their hallowed portals.

 

My 486 is better than your ISDN

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It is afterall just common sense - if you are presented with a choice of upgrading to a browser (involving downloading, configuring etc) the easy option is to just vote with your mouse, and leave the site, never to return !

Whilst researching this article I checked the 70 odd links listed below, with Netscape version 4 running on a Sun workstation with ISDN and images on - the process took nearly an hour. I then rechecked them from home (486, 14.4 modem, images off, Netscape version 1.2) the same process took around 20 minutes. Only 15 sites were inaccessible, either because of frames, javascript or lack of 'alt-tags' - hence no prizes for guessing how most people who use dial-up access prefer to view a website !

 

Organisations Societies and Communities

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Organisations Societies and Communities worth a view include :-

  1. Biomednet (a community for biologists) www.BioMedNet.com
  2. Chemweb (a community for chemists) www.chemweb.com
  3. Edinburgh Engineering Virtual Library www.eevl.ac.uk
  4. Engineering Information (a community for engineers) www.Ei.org
  5. Environmental Routenet www.csa.com
  6. Laboratory methods www.methodsfinder.com
  7. Laboratory Supply Industry Association www.martex.co.uk/blwa
  8. Mining information www.infomine.com
  9. Physicsweb (a community for physicists)www.physicsweb.org
  10. World Wide Web Virtual Library www.earthsystems.org/Environment.shtml

 

Publishers

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Various publishers have environmental publications on their websites :-

  1. American Chemical Society www.elsevier.nl
  2. ENDS magazine www.ends.co.uk
  3. Environmental Business Magazine www.ifi.co.uk
  4. Faversham House www.edie.net
  5. Stanford University Library Scientific Journals www.highwire.stanford.edu
  6. Wiley Interscience www.interscience.wiley.com

 

Gateways

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There are also an ever inceasing number of gateways such as :-

  1. Chemical Database Service www.dl.ac.uk/CDS/
  2. Earth Sciences www.sub.uni-goettingen.de/ssgfi/geo/index.html
  3. Electronic Library www.ukoln.ac.uk/services/elib
  4. General www.niss.ac.uk/subject/index.html
  5. Grateful Med scout.cs.wisc.edu/scout/indextxt.html
  6. Medicine omni.ac.uk

 

Medical research

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If you are looking for specific medical research with an environmental focus try the following:-

  1. British Lung Federation www.lunguk.org/blf_foundation.htm
  2. British Occupational Health Research Foundation www.bohrf.org.uk
  3. International Agency for Research on Cancer www.iarc.fr
  4. US National Institute of Health www.nih.org
  5. World Health Organisation www.who.org

 

The DETR

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The Department of the Environment Transport and the Regions (the departments formerly known as 'Department of Environment' and 'Department of Transport') have amalgamated their sites into one www.detr.gov.uk, which is divided off into around 20 subsites including:-

 

National Grid for Learning

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With the emphasis in the UK on the National Grid for learning there are a wide variety of resources aimed at schools such as :-

  1. Further Education Resources for Learning www.ngfl.gov.uk
  2. Science Museum www.nmsi.ac.uk
  3. Virtual Teacher Centre www.wwf-uk.org/education

 

Other interesting sites

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Finally there are a lot of other interesting sites such as :-

  1. Amazing Environmental Organization Directory www.webdirectory.com
  2. British Library http://pan.cedar.univie.ac.at
  3. Envirolink www.doe.ca/envhome.html
  4. Environmental law www.law.indiana.edu
  5. Environmental Resources Information Network www.eea.dk
  6. Friends of the Earth www.foe.co.uk
  7. Greenpeace www.greenpeace.org
  8. INFOTERRA www.ice.org.uk
  9. International Society of Exposure Analysis www.isea.rutgers.edu/isea/isea.html
  10. Journal of Ecotoxicology www.bdt.org.br/bdt/english
  11. National Environmental Research Council www.nerc.ac.uk
  12. National History Museum www.nhm.ac.uk
  13. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration www.esdim.noaa.gov
  14. National Technical Information Service www.fedworld.gov/ntis/ntishome.html
  15. National Toxicology Program ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov
  16. Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe www.rec.org
  17. Royal Botanical Gardens Kew www.rbgkew.org.uk
  18. The EnviroWeb envirolink.org
  19. The US Environmental Protection Agency www.epa.gov/epahome/text.htm
  20. UK Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk
  21. UK Universities offering Environmental courses www.ucas.ac.uk
  22. UNDP www.undp.org
  23. University of East Anglia www.env.uae.ac.uk
  24. Yahoo's Index of Environmental Web Sites www.yahoo.com/Environment_and_Nature

 

Put the fizz back into your Kyoto

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If you fancy coming back and focussing on Kyoto and the contentious issue of Greenhouse gases look at:-

  1. Earth Science + Technology Organisation www.esto.or.jp/index.htm
  2. Greenhouse Gas Emmissions Reduction Trading Pilot gert.org
  3. IEA Greenhouse Gas R+D programme www.ieagreen.org.uk
  4. Laboratory for Oceanic + Atmospheric Sciences www.enrich.hi.is


Links for this Topic

  1. Environmental Links on the Web
  2. Freepint Guide to Information Sources


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