The truth will set you free. John 8.32
So will the facts. But first you have to make them understandable. Organize and present data so it's easy to grasp at a glance and share with others. Data is most useful when:
- Presented visually so its easier to grasp at a glance
- Accessed from any device - phone, tablet or laptop
- Can be quickly searched
- The data is up to date
- Provided in their language
- Easily shared on social media
The text of the Build Back Better Plan is over 1,600 pages long. It's important information and more people should know how the plan will help them. Ben Beachy with A Living Economy, Sierra Club prepared a Google Sheet of the proposed investments in climate and environmental justice programs. We took a portion of the spreadsheet and presented it with two free apps:
Mobile App created with Glide
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Glide is a free web based app that converts information in a Google Sheet into an app that can be used on a phone, tablet or laptop. Glide works in a web browser and does not require the user to instal any software. The data in the Google Sheet can be updated and the latest information is shown in the app. So the app would show the latest information automatically when (say) the budget allocations change negotiations, and are entered in the Google Sheet. Glide Apps can be shared with a link like this https://environmental-invest.glideapp.io/ or by scanning the QR Code.
Charts created with DataWrapper
DataWrapper is a free app to create graphs, infographics and maps. They can be shared by email, social media or embedded in websites. Information can be uploaded into DataWrapper or referenced from an external Google Sheet. The app provides many options on how to present the data.
Bar Chart link: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/4I8ws/3/
Pie Chart link: https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/xE8fz/2/
A Living Economy / Sierra Club
The Sierra Club seeks a new approach to trade that replaces protections for corporate polluters with protections for people and planet. We seek bold policies aligned with the Green New Deal that create good jobs, cut pollution, and build climate resilience for those hardest hit by the fossil fuel economy. For too long, economic policies have prioritized corporate polluters, not people and planet. Corporate trade deals and status-quo spending policies pad the pockets of CEOs while exposing communities of color, immigrants, and working-class families to toxic pollutants, climate disasters, and low wages.
“A vast majority of voters — including 96% of Democrats, two-thirds of independents, and half of all Republicans — want Congress to seal a deal that fulfills President Biden’s promise to cut climate pollution in half by 2030. A strong majority particularly supports specific new climate investments, including investments to retrofit homes and schools to lower energy costs, expand access to rooftop solar panels, increase connections to wind power, cut industrial pollution, and boost manufacturing of clean energy goods. We call on Congress to pass the Build Back Better Act in concert with the bipartisan deal in order to support a livable climate, healthy and safe communities, and a more just future.” — Ben Beachy, Director, Living Economy Program, Sierra Club
Use data to help others
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ICE deported hundreds of parents during the Trump administration without regard for how their American born children would be taken care of. Often the deportations took place from work sites and children in school wouldn't know why their parents hadn't come to pick them up. Parents would find themselves in a foreign country with few options to get in touch with their children or arrange for care.
Several immigrant rights group provide helpful services, but the information was scattered across the internet and not easy to find in a hurry. Parents also needed to find information quickly in their language. Regulations would change suddenly so the information had to be updated regularly. DemLabs designed Immigrant Country, a free web app with Glide that is still working. It consolidates information from different sources and offers it through a simple interface. The Immigrant Country app also has details on the different organizations providing services. Read more about the solution here.
TakeAway: Make data easier to understand and share with free apps like Glide and DataWrapper.
Image credit: The Simpsons
Code to embed the above two charts in a website