Web 2.0

On Change

Marcus Peacock is EPA’s Deputy Administrator.

My mother was born two weeks before Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. She has witnessed amazing changes in her life: the advent of air transportation, the proliferation of television, the near eradication of scourges like small pox and polio, men walking on the moon, the internet. Yet when I asked her how she felt about these changes, I did not get the response I expected. She shrugged. “Yes, things have improved a lot.” That was it.

Deep in middle age, I now understand that answer. The time scale our brains work with is easily swamped by the broader march of technology. After a dash of initial wonder, we just assimilate advances and move on. A few decades ago, every Christmas Day my family would crowd around a phone in our house and have hurried static-filled ‘long distance’ conversations with relatives in other lands. Two weeks ago one of my kids got a call from a friend. My daughter was walking in the woods. Her friend was sitting in a cafe in Florence, Italy. This does not amaze them. It no longer amazes me. In fact, I can’t really remember how we got to this place. It just happened.

Today the Administrator signed a proposed rule modifying how EPA determines the Air Quality Index for fine particle pollution. As proposals go, it is not terribly notable. And yet . . . this will be the first proposed rule issued by a federal agency that will allow the public to comment on the rule using a blog. The blog will be open from March 2 to March 11 which corresponds to public hearings on the proposal. Stay tuned to Greenversations for more information on how to participate. Mark it as a small step on the way to what I believe will be a dramatic change in the way the federal government crafts rules and regulations. A small step, but one that, with others, will accumulate to the point where the government will be able to produce better quality rules much more quickly than in the past.

We live in the Information Age. It is sweeping over us like advancing waves on a beach. Federal agencies can either seize the tools that are coming from this change or just let the tide pick us up and deposit us in a new place. EPA is choosing to seize the day. We are not doing this because we want to amaze people with whiz-bang Web 2.0 technology. We do this because when someone in the future is asked about the changes they have seen in the environment, they will just shrug their shoulders and say, “Yes, things have improved a lot.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Question of the Week: How would you use blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other Web 2.0 tools to protect the environment?

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Wikis and widgets and blogs, oh my! “Web 2.0″ is about sharing content… your photos, opinions, links, and more. At EPA, we are trying to find ways to use Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogging, news feeds, podcasts, or social networking, to improve how we reach out to and communicate with the public.

How would you use blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other Web 2.0 tools to protect the environment?

On Monday, June 23, “Ask EPA” hosted an online discussion about using Web 2.0 to protect the environment – read the transcript.

.

En español: Cada semana hacemos una pregunta relacionada al medio ambiente. Por favor comparta con nosotros sus pensamientos y comentarios. Siéntase en libertad de responder a comentarios anteriores o plantear nuevas ideas. Preguntas previas.

¡Wikis y widgets y blogs, Dios mío! “Web 2.0″ se trata de compartir contenido…sus fotos, opiniones, enlaces, y más. En EPA, estamos tratando de encontrar maneras de utilizar tecnologías de Web 2.0 como wikis, blogs, “feeds” noticiosos, podcasts, o reds sociales, para mejorar la manera en la cual nos comunicamos con el público.

¿Cómo utiliza blogs, wikis, podcasts, y otras herramientas de Web 2.0 para proteger el medio ambiente?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

“2.0” What’s In It for You?

About the author: Molly O’Neill, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for the Office of Environmental Information and Chief Information Officer.

It is no secret that I believe Web 2.0 technology has a place in government. This new generation of technology (e.g. wikis, blogs, etc.) is not all that technically complex, but it’s web-based which means it can be used to build communities easily over the Internet. It is an amazing leap forward in how all of us interact with information.

Go to the National Dialogue Web siteHowever, I would hazard that most people are more interested in the quality and product of the experience with their government and with each other rather than with the enabling technology. So, we need to think about how best wikis, blogs, and discussion boards can be used to interact inside of government or with citizens. When we roll these new technologies out, we need to do so understanding we are learning and evolving. The transformation of Marcus Peacock’s blog “Flow of the River” into this Agency-wide blog “Greenversations” is a prime example. I am not exactly sure where this technology will ultimately take us at EPA, but I can say we should not be paralyzed by it or chase the leading edge to the extreme. It does, however, allow us to truly invite and integrate citizen, community, scientific, and regulatory contributions in new ways.

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights how Web 2.0 is changing the way government does business “From Wikinomics to Government 2.0Exit EPA Disclaimer. The Federal CIO Community is working together on establishing Best Practices in Government 2.0 (Gov 2.0). And, understanding that these new collaborative tools might have in impact on policy, many of us in the federal government are addressing these issues together as well with help from the National Academy of Public Administration.

At EPA, our mission requires an intense level of collaboration with partners in our shared mission. I can see the future as not too far off where Gov 2.0 tools are used to share vast amounts of information between levels of government from all over the world and for government to engage citizens in new ways. This is a critical step in evolving government services to become more agile, responsive, and inclusive.

Please let me know your thoughts on how Gov 2.0 tools can be effective in enhancing access to environmental information by visiting our National Dialogue on Access to Environmental Information website.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.