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A global medium with limitless, almost free access and very low environmental impact: in theory, the World Wide Web would seem the ideal channel for disseminating ideas and information about the environment. In practice, the Web does not disappoint. The major pressure groups - Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, WWF - all have impressive sites and changing content, even if they don't aspire to 'zine status.

The main environmental 'zines are actually quite news-oriented, with daily updated editions. One of the most immediately impressive is the daily spin-off from The Earth Times - "the leading independent international non-partisan newspaper on the environment and sustainable development, published by the not-for-profit Earth Times Foundation".

The Earth Times has features accessible directly from the contents page, but also sub-sections devoted to Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. I found interesting stuff in all of these - why the Tibetan plateau is flat, Swiss debunking of the idea that mountain forests inhibit flooding at lower altitudes. Past features are archived, and searchable.

Elsewhere there are news stories, grouped into fortnightly sets, with a month's worth of old stories kept on view, book reviews, Web site reviews, editorials, columns - and an opportunity to submit your own essays for publication. All in all, a very satisfying site.

Environment Today also sounds promising, at least for professionals - "The Web's Daily Environment News and Jobs Source". It's run by the London- based Society of Chemical Industry, and is doubtless a great place to look for chemistry-related jobs. It's a less great place to look for environmental news.

Planet ENN is a weekly 'zine which "provides an in-depth look at important issues facing our planet through columns and features from some of the leading writers and thinkers on environmental topics". It contains half a dozen features - when I visited, subjects of wide interest (the eco- systems of estuaries, the problem of lead poisoning our children).

Planet ENN is part of ENN Online, a slick site (produced by Idaho-based Environmental News Network) which calls itself "your one stop on the Internet for timely news, information and resources on the environment", which seems an exaggeration - the only news-like stuff I could find was a free e-mail service and an opportunity to subscribe to ENN's productsn

Chris Gill The Earth Times Environment Today Planet ENN