Global warming is a concern of most of the brilliant minds around the world at this time. On October 8th last year, The UN published a report stating that failing to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade over the next 12 years would significantly increase the risk of drought, floods, and poverty for millions of people.
“There are two conclusions you can take from the report,” he says. “One is we are finished, but I’m not a fatalist, so I try not to take that route. ” We need to do something radical and we need to do it right now”. Lucas Joppa Microsoft’s chief environmental officer and the man behind the project AI for Earth said.
We are all well aware of the fact that wildlife and plant life is disappearing from the earth. A lot of species are now placed in the endangered list, due to the climate changes and a lot more are on the edge of extinction. From a financial perspective, economic losses in the US alone from extreme weather and the health costs of air pollution will hit $360 billion annually in the coming decade, according to a report by the Universal Ecological Fund.
Joppa says “It requires everybody to lean in, and some will have to play almost disproportionate roles” With a lot to do and not much time to do it, Joppa feels the need of deploying technology to assist humans in this battle for the protection of our home planet.
Joppa is not the only one concerned about the climate in Microsoft. The company has made and met a series of commitments to reduce the companies carbon footprints. In 2012, Microsoft started the tax on their carbon emissions, which not only ensures environmental benefits but also provides funds for the tech first approach to the environmental changes.
Joppa’s ais are clear. He aims to make sure that all these questions are answered with a yes.
Are we doing what is needed to address the defining environmental issues of our time?
Are we using our buying power and partnerships and technology to accelerate positive environmental change outside of our four walls?
Driving down emissions and our negative environmental impacts
AI for Earth
It’s a programme offering cloud and AI computing resources, training, and grants to researchers across the world who are trying to create a more sustainable future. This program helps environmentalists tackle problems by using machine learning, AI, etc. Response to this program can be understood by the results and the rise in funding it received till now.
It is our responsibility to solve these problems. Technology simply assists us in solving these problems.
More than 230 grantees in over 60 countries have received grants so far, covering every continent – a feat Joppa calls “truly extraordinary”.
“Just because you give people technology, it does not mean they know how to use it… if we want them to be able to use our technology as effectively as possible, we need to help them get those skills,” Joppa adds.
This crisis is not just upon the million dollar companies or people with PhDs. This is not the duty of a single man. We can start small as observers, enthusiasts and help the world n whatever the way we can.
Inaturalist is one of the very intial grantees of Microsoft. You simply take a snap whenever you see a species and post it in the app. Researchers and professional will take a look at the species and records the patterns. The readings taken so in every country makes up to a huge database minimizing the margin of error.