All Answers are Here in One Big Climate Web of Knowledge
Information about climate change has increased exponentially over the past 20 years, yet this has not helped to solve the global warming crisis. In fact, too much information may actually be impeding progress. A comprehensive resource called the Climate Web is trying to resolve this issue by turning mountains of information into “actionable knowledge.”
Climatographers Mark Trexler and Laura Kosloff have combined their expertise from more than 20 years working on climate change to develop this amazing resource and make it available free to the public. Together they’ve spent some 16,000 hours compiling more than 10,000 documents and 15,000 URLs.
A recent story published at Yale Climate Connections explains that the Climate web organizes these thousands of documents, links, reports, news stories, and videos into more than 65,000 useful “thoughts” and 100,000 relevant links.
Trexler asserts that we are flooded with much more information about climate change then we can possibly absorb. The goal of the Climate Web is to pull the best information about climate change from all of the different topic areas and organize it into actionable knowledge. This knowledge database can help individuals, business leaders, policy and decision makers to answer big or small questions about climate change and quickly get to the work of developing solutions now and for the future.
In his short video called the “Elevator Speech for the Climate Web” Trexler tells us: “The Climate Web is a knowledge management solution that has a goal of helping get the right information to the right person at the right time to facilitate climate change decision making.” The short video is worth watching to capture the essence of this monumental accomplishment.
After wandering aimlessly around the Climate Web database watching videos and clicking on topics of interest to me – mitigation, adaptation, carbon offsets, policy and risks – I called Trexler for a tutorial. He patiently walked me through explaining the how and why.
The Climatographers created the Climate Web because it was fascinating work and someone had to do it – to store this wealth of information floating about into a central knowledge bank accessible to all. The hope is for this knowledge to enable more informed decision making and accelerate climate change solutions.
To manage and navigate all of this information, the Climate Web is structured with an index, a quick search button, recent adds and news, short spotlights and dashboards (that can be customized and embedded into your website). For more comprehensive research, the Climate Web is organized five layers deep depending on the needs of anticipated users and decision makers.
For quick information organized by thought topics at your fingertips, check layer one for dashboards. Do you want to hear the good news on climate progress? There’s a dashboard for that. Do you want to know the facts about sea level rise? There’s a dashboard for that. Do you need help visualizing climate change? There’s a dashboard for that. Check out dashboards in layer one here or watch a short video.
Let’s say you need some quick facts to compile a workshop or conference presentation, teach a course, research for a report, or write a news story. The Climate Web is probably the quickest way to get a huge array of information curated at your fingertips.
Incidentally, the Climate Web has recorded 539 websites on climate news. After a couple months the current news is synthesized and moved to other areas of the database and tailored for specific circumstances, locations, industries, or different decision-making processes.
The Climate Web is much more than a truck-load of information in one location. “All of the answers we need for climate change are right here,” Trexler emphasized during our call. However, the biggest question remains unanswered: Who has the incentive to solve climate change? Perhaps the Climate Web will help to make a short list longer.
In one of his video tutorials, Trexler quoted Thomas Woodrow Wilson: “There’s not an idea in our heads that has not been worn shiny by someone else’s brain.” In other words, the Climate Web is not trying to create new information but instead hopes to turn all of our collective information into a vehicle for driving action and change.
For a complete Climate Web overview, check out Climatographer.com or feel free to dive right into the brain. If you’ve been wanting to check it out but not sure where to start you can reach out to Trexler for help finding a tutorial.
Meanwhile, if you need a good laugh to lighten your day, check out the hundreds of climate cartoons compiled for your enjoyment in the Climate Web. Try doing a quick search for cartoons or simply follow this link.
Author: Kathryn Thomsen
Founder of Hundredgivers, a nonprofit supporting and accelerating sustainability initiatives benefiting local and global communities. Kathryn is a social entrepreneur, consultant, researcher, writer and urban farmer. She collaborates with individuals, organizations, and businesses to develop climate change solutions, clean energy, and sustainability strategies and programs.