In the past decade we’ve seen an incredible rise in the availability of information, from open-access journals to freely accessible high-resolution satellite imagery to high-quality investigative journalism. But we’ve also seen the proliferation of misinformation — accelerated by social media and questionable internet sources — which has enabled authoritarian regimes, anti-democratic movements, and corporate actors to erode the people’s ability to discern fact from fiction, erode public trust in science, and erect new knowledge barriers. These trends have important implications for efforts to stave off environmental catastrophes like climate change, ecosystem degradation, and loss of species: knowledge about the dangers environmental problems pose to humanity’s quality of life creates an imperative to address them. Recognizing the enabling power of knowledge, the Arcadia Fund has for the past 20 years made access to information one of the guiding principles of its philanthropic strategy, which extends across the U.K. charity’s three priority areas: preserving endangered culture, protecting endangered nature, and promoting open access. Arcadia, founded in 2001 by Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin, supports these priorities in geographies around the world through grants to institutions ranging from universities to NGOs. “Arcadia serves humanity by preserving endangered ecosystems and cultural heritage and by promoting knowledge sharing through open access,” Arcadia says on its website. “We protect complexity and work against the entropy that leads to barren lands, depleted seas and homogenous cultures.” Rausing, whose work spans disciplines as a science historian, entrepreneur and philanthropist, says this approach arose out of her observation that…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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