The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) documents, analyzes, and advocates for the federal provision of environmental data and governance, from policies and institutions, to public access to information, to environmental decision-making. We seek to improve environmental information stewardship, to promote environmental democracy, health, and justice, and to better adapt these all to the digital age.
We have five major program areas: 1) investigating and analyzing the inner workings of federal environmental policy, through interviewing of agency staff, as well as data and documentary collection and analysis, 2) monitoring changes to, and exploring standards for, web-based information about the environment, energy, and climate provided by the federal government, 3) developing new ways of making federal environmental data more accessible to the public, 4) imagining, conceptualizing, and moving toward Environmental Data Justice, and 5) prototyping new organizational structures and practices for distributed, collective, effective work rooted in justice.
We publish white papers, academic papers, technical reports, public comments, blogs, and op eds. We also develop participatory civic technologies and infrastructures to make data and information more accessible and accountable to the public.
We are a network of more than 50 members from multiple academic institutions, non-profit and grassroots organizations, and professionals from a broad spectrum of work and life backgrounds. We work in collaboration with other organizations and communities concerned about climate change, science policy, good governance, and environmental and data justice.
EDGI formed in November 2016 to document and analyze changes to environmental governance that would transpire under the Trump Administration. EDGI subsequently became the preeminent watchdog group for material on federal environmental data issues on government websites, and a national leader in highlighting President Trump’s impacts such as declines in EPA enforcement. Our work is widely acknowledged, including hundreds of mentions in leading national and international media such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, and CNN. For more about our accomplishments, read our most recent annual report. To learn about about EDGI’s historical data archiving work, check out the page of our former data archiving working group.
With an incoming Biden Administration, EDGI’s work has become more vital than ever. Actions by the Trump Administration laid bare many inadequacies in our federal environmental and information policies. Our damage assessments of what needs repair after the last four years have also pointed the way toward the many additional systemic improvements that are sorely needed. Federal environmental data, information, and management practices require major adaptations to our modern digital age. Only then can they also be made more accessible and more just. We look forward to pressing the new administration, Congress, and the larger public on how to advance our nation’s environmental data and governance.