We are in a biodiversity crisis. The WWF estimates that we have globally lost over half of our wildlife in the last forty years. Our best conservationists are struggling to stem this tide of destruction. We need a radical new way of doing things.
Simon Hodgkinson, an ex-Deloitte partner, and Sarah Labrasca have set up the Smart Earth Network (SEN) to bring together a dynamic global community of conservationists, experts and technologists to help open up a new era of innovation in conservation technology solutions.
Why is technology an important part of the answer? The founders have seen that conservationists often do not have nearly adequate tools to truly understand what is happening, why, and how to control the problem. A new technology revolution is happening that can help these problems. The Internet of things, fuelled by greatly reduced price and dramatic advances in miniaturisation, connectivity, and battery life, enables us to do things now, unthinkable just a few years ago. As Peter Hartwell of Cisco has said:
’The IOT will make it possible to hear the heartbeat of the Earth, impacting human interaction with the globe as profoundly as the internet has revolutionised communication’.
Yet this future will not just happen. It has to be imagined and created through collaboration between conservationists and technologists.
The founders say that conservationists time and again that they think the technology is out there but they don’t know who to talk to. Often when collaborations do arise, budget constraints prevent projects from fulfilling their potential. That is why the initiative is so important.
Fisherman in the Philippines using SEN App to log rare sightings of dugongs
SEN is working individuals in universities, government, NGOS and business who share the belief that advances in technology now have the power to transform the conservation problem and that collaboration can release that potential. Together they are doing four things:
- Creating SEN Meetup groups in key cities to foster understanding and learning .
- Building an online platform that will allow conservationists to advertise their challenges to technologists who can solve them.
- Holding hackathons where conservationists and technologists can work together on challenges to build solutions.
- Helping projects to launch their own crowdfunding campaigns.
You can help us this make all this happen by getting involved and contributing to this campaign whether you are simply concerned, a conservationist with a challenge to resolve, a company that believes your skills and technology can help, or a developer who wants to do something more socially useful. You can become a Member of SEN and participate in its events. You can also contribute to some of the Networks first projects developing technology for sustainable fisheries through the Global Giving campaign.
We thank you for your support.