Global environmental issues receive more media attention. But what about finding pollution in your neighborhood? In the U.S. you could go to Scorecard and enter your zip code and see what came up. You could also download Google Earth maps and find all the Superfund sites and see how close you might be and look up what was left behind by some great corporate citizen.
Canada was a little bit behind in providing this information in one place. Environment Canada has recently released a Google Earth map for the National Pollution Release Inventory. You can enter your postal code and it will show locations on the map and outline what the emitter has reported. For example, a factory would report that it emits so much carbon dioxide into the air on an annual basis.
The impact of technology on sharing information is well known. It is applying this technology to share information that was previously unknown or unavailable to the public. With tools like these citizens can make decisions and question what is happening in their neighborhoods.