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Science stripped down to the bare facts - GreenFacts celebrates five years of innovative science communication

This month marks the fifth anniversary of the creation of GreenFacts and its innovative approach to bringing complex scientific consensus reports to the reach of non-experts.

In the past five years, GreenFacts has reached out to millions of Internet users across the world, attracting nearly two million visitors in 2006 alone. The website is now a well established source of reliable scientific information on topics ranging from climate change and the state of ecosystems to the health effects of chemical substances or lifestyle choices.

"Your summaries of important documents on environment and health perform a very useful service in making such information accessible to a wider public” said Mogens Peter Carl, Director General of the European Commission DG Environment. “Communicating the facts to the broadest possible audience is clearly vital for the success of our policy-making, and GreenFacts performs an important role in this regard."

GreenFacts was created in December 2001. It is a unique concept of popularising science, translating into layman’s language what scientists have agreed upon. Since then, GreenFacts is increasingly requested by international organisations such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) to summarise their scientific consensus documents. Furthermore, GreenFacts has been contracted by the FAO, the WHO, the European Commission, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

The website currently provides 30 GreenFacts Studies available in several languages (English, Spanish, French, German, and Dutch). To complement its online publications and reach an even broader audience, GreenFacts has started publishing attractive print versions of several summaries. More than 100 000 foldouts on Biodiversity and Desertification have already been distributed on four continents and used in many schools as teaching materials.

Five successful years of reliable and faithful science communication on health and the environment show that GreenFacts is responding to a need in society. GreenFacts Studies are a useful instrument in making scientific information easily accessible to, among others, decision-makers, journalists, and the educational world.

Sandra Nebe | alfa
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