Researchers at the University of Toronto fear that publicly accessible environmental data could disappear under a Trump presidency, and so are taking the time to preserve them.
On Saturday, University of Toronto, is hosting an archiving event called “guerilla archiving” in order to find and save publically accessible data posted by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Trump and the Environment
Michelle Murphy, director of U of T’s Technoscience Research Unit and one of the organizers of the guerilla archive said: “The Trump transition team has been very explicit in its desire to cut particular environmental governance programs and have taken anti-science or non-evidence based approaches to their vision of environmental and climate regulation. We’re taking seriously those statements.”
“We know that climate change is one of the things that they have been explicit about but they also are very explicit about wanting to make less regulation…for things like fracking, for things like pipelines,” she continued. “So we expect that there will be not only moves to collect less data relative to those kinds of projects but also to make it more difficult for communities to access the data that would help them organize around the environmental effects of those kinds of projects.”
Trump, who has famously called global warming “a hoax created by the Chinese,” has recently appointed Scott Pruitt, a fossil fuel industry ally, as head of the APA, who has said during the campaign that he would “dismantle the EPA in almost every form.” Although Trump never claimed he would remove public information proving otherwise, researchers think it’s still important to take necessary measures to be sure of that anyway, given the surprises during this election.
This event supports the “End of Term 2016” project by the Internet Archive, which is a non-profit digital library that saves US government websites at the end of each presidential administration.
“Many of the people who have been involved in the transition team or have been appointed to prominent posts in the new administration have either attacked climate scientists or have been hostile to climate scientists,” said Michael Halpern, the deputy director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.