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Informing your right to know about the environment where you live

Josh Artus

Centric Lab

The Centric team has launched a new digital tool, which is a postcode analysis of environmental pollutants and deprivation data.

Right to Know is a health justice tool connecting citizens with environmental information to help identify what factors could be posing health risks to their communities.

Did you know that those of us who are exposed to high levels of noise are more at risk for cardiovascular diseases or that too much light at night prevents us from accessing deep nourishing sleep cycles, which is a risk factor for obesity?

Most of us do not know if the places we live could be making us sick. We have the Right to Know if there are environmental factors in our neighbourhood that could be affecting our health.

​​By using Right to Know, people in Scotland, England, and Wales will be able to enter their postcode and receive environmental trends and information on their area and how it relates to health. The digital platform is also a place where citizens and communities can access further information about planning systems, community initiatives around the UK, and learn from a health justice lexicon.

Right to Know helps communities provide data based evidence on environmental justice issues. Communities have historically been the crucial element in achieving environmental rights. Their work always goes beyond the boundaries of their community - driving health justice and improvement for everyone. For example, the work of Clean Air for Southall and Hayes, a community group seeking to end the emission of pollutants from a local gasworks site has sparked various other communities to take similar action. As a result, communities in London now have the chance to avoid the same fate of Southall.

Right to Know democratises health information, helping citizens become more aware of environmental conditions that could be affecting their health. Citizens and communities need access to tools that make it simple to access the environmental data and information that is required to influence health campaigns. This new digital platform can be used to advance personal awareness, support health communication campaigns and spark change within a community.

Right to Know is a project by Centric Lab who have been working with global environmental science company CGG. Together we have analysed large environmental datasets from a variety of established sources and structured the Right to Know web-app in a person-first approach.

As our climate continues to change and urbanisation shows no signs of slowing it’s important that authorities, governments and private companies protect our health through place. Not by telling us how to eat but by stopping the insidious conveniently invisible pollutants impacting our biology. The 3 pathways are:

1. to create legislation and policy that reflect environmental trends and health science;

2. to ensure that communities are listened to and be acknowledged in their experience with data, not all experiences are the same;

3. to ensure that when dealing with data and communities that Community Sovereignty is in place; methods of practice for organisations and scientific researchers to establish equitable engagement with communities. Every community has the right to conserve governance over their Knowledges and Practices that determine their health and wellbeing.

You have the right to a clean environment. You have the Right to Know about the trends of your local area.


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