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Protecting the Data

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This post was posted under the former name ‘Saving Our Planet’

The Trump administration is already setting to work to roll back federal environmental policy. All signs point toward a wholesale attack on environmental governance. Scott Pruitt, chosen to head the Environmental Protection Agency, is a climate change skeptic who disagrees with the EPA’s mission and has called climate change a “religious belief.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ExxonMobil CEO. Etc…

The Trump Team lost no time in scrubbing Obama’s climate legacy from federal websites. On inauguration day, most mentions of climate change vanished from the White House website.

Other agencies threatened are NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration).

It was a NASA scientist, Dr. James Hansen, who first alerted the world to the dangers of global warming due to greenhouse gases emitted by human burning of fossil fuels. Trump’s advisors and Congressional Republicans now want to slash funding for Nasa’s Earth science program and restrict NASA to space exploration.

NOAA is an American scientific agency mandated to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, to share that knowledge and information, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources. It provides tools, and information to help people understand and prepare for climate variability and change. NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information preserve and provide public access to the Nation’s treasure of climate and weather data.


Concerned individuals are investing their own time, money, and other resources (software development, guidelines for projects, consulting, organizing meetings, creating web sites), and perhaps even their jobs, to safeguard this wealth of data.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) has formed an organized response to this rollback. Because access to and control over data is a key piece of effective regulation, the EDGI has taken action to systematically archive valuable environmental datasets, create usable nongovernmental data access, and preserve records of wide-ranging, ephemeral, web-based policy and program information.

Even everyday people are involved in this task.

We can hope that these actions will serve as a model for resistance to retrograde government actions in other domains as well.

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