Mining for Gold Nuggets in the US Geological Services Online LibraryOctober 24, 2012
In last week’s blog, I wrote about the US Geological Services agency and some of the resources available on its website. This week, I want to expand on the information services that can provide green team staffers with the latest news and studies you can use to augment your knowledge about the environment and the effects of climate change. I believe that information is power, and the more you know the better job you can do presenting your proposals for adopting sustainable business practices with confidence and documentation.
The USGS website is a truly great resource, and I was displeased with myself that I was not previously acquainted with it, not to mention the fact the agency is a key player in the effort to understand and solve environmental change and associated problems. Happily, my failing has been rectified. And if the website information isn’t the environmental equivalent of winning the gold ticket visit to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, you’ll be convinced when you discover the USGS Library, the largest science library in the world with books and maps dating to the 16th century. Read about the invasion impact of Burmese pythons in Florida, infectious diseases in bats, ferrets in Wyoming, drivers of change in San Francisco Bay, view images of Alaska’s early frontier and the Hope Diamond when it was called the Tavernier Blue Diamond. The main library is in Reston, VA with branches in Menlo Park, Denver, and Flagstaff.
The library has served as a valuable resource throughout its 130 year plus history. During WWII, civilian scientists studied the library’s collection of foreign maps and manuscripts about French terrain that aided in the planning and the invasion of Normandy. Library maps have provided aid in international disaster areas. Topographic maps have been used for genealogy research to pinpoint where ancestors lived, to locate forgotten cemeteries, to provide information on boundary changes, and to research natural and man-made changes to areas over time.
I am willing to admit my ignorance about the USGS and the wealth of knowledge to be learned from its website and library to spare other people repeating the same mistake, a mistake I suspect we all make sometimes. We know what we know, and what we don’t know we don’t reach beyond our comfort zones to learn. I think that many Green team staffers can feel ill equipped to take on “sustainability”, because we don’t bring to the task of greening our offices more than a rudimentary grounding in science. We can make up for that by taking advantage of the resources available to us right at our fingertips. The USGS Library is one to bookmark.
Note: The Resources pages have been updated through September 2012 to include blog links published in the past quarter.