Environmental Information Sources on the Net

Article excerpt

The Internet has become a primary resource for environmental information. With governments drafting and imposing new environmental regulations on a daily basis, nothing short of an online computer network seems adequate to keep us informed.

If you have a professional responsibility to advise, guide, or facilitate environmental regulation compliance, then the Internet is the resource to use to keep your staff and clients on top of fast-paced changes. If you function as an environmental activist, with strongly held views and a specific agenda, then the Internet becomes a resource to provide the latest information, maintain communications with scattered members, and help organize a campaign to achieve your goals.

I rate this segment of the Internet devoted to environmental topics as MATURE. It is very rich in current relevant information with well-linked, well-maintained sites. Environmental sites need constant maintenance because environmental developments are driven by fast moving global events and political decisions.

Interconnected Globe

Whether we like it or not, most of us realize that we live on one interconnected globe. One person's waste products may impact another's survival. Developments in industrialized countries impinge on Third World enterprises. Third World efforts to consume or remove forest resources result in global climate and resource changes these countries may not now envision.

Business Concerns

Environmental awareness has arrived for the business community. Even industrialists who decry environmental regulations and strive for minimization of governmental oversight cannot ignore the environmental impact of their productivity. They have become aware that they output wastes into the air, ground, and water, and must learn ways to reduce these wastes. They need to find methods to remove waste contaminants dumped into the soil and groundwater during an earlier, carefree era. They must look for the possibility of contaminated soil at sites they plan to purchase for industrial expansion. Businesses now strive to find ways to recycle or exchange their surplus raw materials, since regulations restrict or prohibit dumping, and limit or tightly regulate onsite storage.

For all this morass of problems, a company requires accurate Information on what restrictions apply to their business, what loopholes may exist, and which governnental agency controls what. They also need practical, reliable information to perform clean-up tasks and make sure that their current and future operations behave in an environmentally responsible -- and legally defensible -- manner.

Environmental Experts

Add to the business picture a cadre of attorneys, environmental consultants, and environmental engineers. These experts also need the latest information. Their professional reputations are on the line in providing correct, informed advice to customers. Environmental engineers and attorneys offer some of the most useful and complete Internet sites. They know the importance of accessing the latest current regulations and decisions in order to advise their clients.

Environment on the Internet

All the ferment and concern about world environmental problems air on the Net. Every quarter can be heard, and environmental education for everyone proceeds rapidly, aided by the Internet's amazing communication and dissemination capabilities. Soon enough we shall find out if we earthlings can learn in time to stop fouling our nest. The Internet has become a tool toward this learning.

Site List

My compilation of environmental sites selects a few from the hundreds on the Web, chosen on the basis of the greatest usefulness and relevance to my readers. As information professionals we may need to locate environmental regulations from another state or country. We may need the exact text of the Clean Water Act, or innumerable other governmental pronouncements. …