Data Is Plural

... is a weekly newsletter of useful/curious datasets.

2021.11.17 edition

Carbon credits, foodborne pathogens, violence against environmental defenders, mineral production, and Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours.

Carbon credits. The Voluntary Registry Offsets Database, a collaboration between the Berkeley Carbon Trading Project and Carbon Direct, “contains all carbon offset projects, credit issuances, and credit retirements listed globally by four major voluntary offset project registries,” accounting for “almost all of the world’s voluntary market offsets.” Updated in September with data through early May 2021, the database covers 5,000+ projects and 1.2 billion credits issued. Each credit purportedly offsets a metric tonne of CO2 emissions, but the Berkeley team is skeptical: “Research performed by us and others has found that many, if not most, offset credits traded on the market today do not represent real emissions reductions.” Related: The World Bank’s database of carbon pricing initiatives.

Foodborne pathogens. In an explainer article accompanying a recent food-safety investigation, ProPublica reporter Irena Hwang describes using her training in bioinformatics to analyze salmonella DNA data collected by the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Pathogen Detection initiative, which aggregates genomic sequences from bacteria “originating in food, environmental sources, and patients.” The initiative has published such data for nearly 1 million samples of dozens of species. Related: ProPublica’s Chicken Checker lookup tool, based on the results of Department of Agriculture microbiological sampling conducted at processing plants.

Violence against environmental defenders. Tierra de Resistentes is a “crossborder journalistic effort to investigate episodes of violence against leaders and communities in Latin America who have devoted their lives to defending the environment.” The collaboration’s database details 2,400+ such attacks, mostly focusing on the years 2009–2019. For each attack, it provides information about the person, organization, or community attacked, the type of violence, the resource defended, case status, and more. [h/t Juan Pablo Marín Díaz]

Mineral production. The US Geological Survey’s National Minerals Information Center keeps tabs on “minerals and materials essential to the U.S. economy, the national security, and protection of the environment.” Its published datasets include annual statistics on mineral production by state, by country, and by commodity. [h/t Brian C. Keegan]

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours. Data artist Nicholas Rougeux has digitally recreated Scottish painter Patrick Syme’s 1821 guidebook to German mineralogist Abraham Werner’s color system. For each of the 110 colors, such as Saffron Yellow and Veinous Blood Red, a corresponding spreadsheet contains its name, hex code, description, and more. [h/t Giuseppe Sollazzo]