by Stephen Wolfson & Rachel Evans

Every year in October, we take a moment to appreciate the importance and value of the free flow of ideas and information when we celebrate International Open Access Week. During open access week, groups around the world advocate for the benefits that there are to making all kinds of information freely available online, free of rights restrictions. This year, the theme and focus of Open Access Week is Open for Climate Justice

Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and it requires a tremendous amount of work and collaboration by governments, NGOs, scientists, and everyday citizens to overcome. To this end, many people have recognized that we can enable more innovation and break-through research by sharing climate change research data than we can if these data are held in isolation. By freeing climate datasets and the research that flows from them from any potential intellectual property, we can enable many more break-though than if these data are held in isolation.


As such, there are several places online where you can find climate and climate change datasets that are freely available to use and build from. These include:

  • is the U.S. resource that provides access to some of the data the government collects, including climate data. 
  • NOAA Climate data online: is a portal provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on climate data you can find online. 
  • Climate Watch enables users to create data visualizations and analyses based on open climate data. 

These are just a few of the many climate change related resources that are freely available online. 


Beyond data, there are also several great open documentaries on climate change. 

  • Lowland Kids short open access documentary film about a Louisiana Island disappearing: 

“Isle de Jean Charles, a sinking island on the coast of Louisiana, is set to completely disappear one day in the near future thanks to rising sea levels. Lowland Kids, a 20-minute short documentary that premiered at SXSW in 2019, introduces you to Howard and Juliette, teen siblings who have grown up on the island and are soon to become America’s first climate refugees. With poignant direction from Sandra Winther, stunning cinematography, and frank, incredibly sad interviews, the film presents an intimate portrait of a family at the precipice of involuntary upheaval, exploring the idea of home and displacement due to climate change.”

“Michael Moore presents Planet of the Humans, a documentary that dares to say what no one else will  — that we are losing the battle to stop climate change on planet earth because we are following leaders who have taken us down the wrong road — selling out the green movement to wealthy interests and corporate America. This film is the wake-up call to the reality we are afraid to face: that in the midst of a human-caused extinction event, the environmental movement’s answer is to push for techno-fixes and band-aids. It’s too little, too late.”

  • Climate Town: Led by Rollie Williams, Climate Town takes a humorous, but still serious, look at climate change and advocacy. 

UGA also has access to other climate change documentaries that are not open, but are available the UGA community at no cost. 

A few other climate-related documentaries are available with UGA’s access to Kanopy – “An Inconvenient Truth” is streaming there. Perhaps several other good ones:


If you are interested in these resources or have any other questions about Open Access or Climate Justice, we encourage you to stop by the library’s tabling event between 11 am and 12 noon on Wednesday October 26th for more information. Chat with librarians and pick up “movie tickets” for many of the documentary film links listed above as a reminder to yourself to check them out or as a way to share these resources with other people you know.