How Earth Works

Earth 911 History

The late Chris J. Warner created Earth 911 in 1991 as a recycling information Web site for Arizona residents. He combined Internet technology with geographic information systems technology, which was a rather new concept at that time. Before his death in 2007, Warner stated, "The whole mission of these networks is to empower and engage the public to think globally and act locally. We started from scratch and kept on scratching" [source: ESRI].

Earth 911's mission is to deliver information that enables people to actively contribute to sustainability, a concept the United Nations defined in 1987 as "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Earth 911 calls its operation a public-private partnership. A public-private partnership is an agreement between a public agency (like your state recycling facility) and a private sector agency (like Earth 911) to pool their services or resources for the use of the general public [source: NCPPP]. Earth 911 not only teams up with many public sector entities, including the EPA, but it also teams up with private sector corporations. These corporate sponsorships allow Earth 911 to operate at no cost to the user or taxpayer. Industry organizations and local agencies also support the site [source: Granger]. Earth 911 is non-political and non-activist.

Earth 911 winds up reaching a wide audience largely through the media. Local and national news outlets often call on the organization to provide expert commentary for reports on environmental topics. When you read an article about recycling or environmental concerns, you are likely reading statistics that Earth 911 provided.

Another way Earth 911 reaches out to the public is to ask corporate partners to display the Earth 911 logo and earth-friendly messages (like a message about recycling) on product labels. Earth 911 also works with government and nonprofit agencies to deliver content. All 50 states and Canada use Earth 911 to distribute local information, as well as promote it as a credible source for environmental knowledge. Trade associations also collaborate with Earth 911 to educate their members on best practices and to reach out to the public on green topics.

Now that you know how this organization operates and shouts out its message to the public, read the next page to learn how you can peruse the Web site's contents.