Using Data to Combat Climate ChangeJuly 28, 2021
The statistics on climate change are sobering. Despite all the progress we’ve made as a civilization, there’s one thing we’ve failed to account for: the future of our planet.
If we can’t use data and other methods to switch to renewable energy quickly, this dystopian future is right around the corner. In fact, according to the World Bank on Climate Change and Health, “climate change could see more than 100 million people return to extreme poverty by 2030 unless concerted action is taken.”
As an advanced technological society, the power is in our hands to take charge and reverse the damage humans inflict upon our planet. One way of doing so is by using data to combat climate change.
Current Alternative Energy Efforts
The first role of data is diagnostic; it aids in mapping current alternative energy efforts. Researchers at the University of Southampton have been trailblazers in this regard, publishing the first global maps of solar and wind energy sites.
Mapping is an excellent tool when it comes to measuring the infrastructure of a region and estimating power output. It also allows for practical expansion of renewable resources, whose impacts are usually determined in large part by the site on which they’re installed. With the help of maps, governments, private companies, and homeowners looking to contribute to renewable energy efforts are better able to site, distribute, and measure the positive and negative impacts of their initiatives.
It’s also important to use data as a prediction tool. Data can help researchers determine which areas will be hardest hit with which energy issues, whether these problems are a lack of clean water or a flawed food distribution system. Tools like this truly highlight the inequalities in our world, which is the first step to correcting climate inconsistencies.
Mitigating Climate Change Through Data
As the health of the planet gradually declines, underprivileged and underrepresented communities will be the first impacted. Already, small islands are disappearing. The world’s smallest country, Tuvalu, is expected to become uninhabitable in the next 50-100 years, and that’s not the only area facing the prospect of climate migration. However, climate migration is an imperfect solution to a pervasive global problem, a patch-up that is likely to end in disaster.
If we’re to have any chance of overcoming the climate crisis, environmental remediation is necessary, especially on the part of big businesses. It’s not enough to merely reduce our outputs at this point — we must actively remove contaminants. Businesses can use environmental remediation to correct past environmental harm and go green. This is often accomplished through techniques such as soil vapor extraction and nanoremediation.
Eco-friendly businesses can use environmental equipment to obtain the data and projections necessary to carry out undertakings like environmental remediation. Using the highest-quality equipment will ensure the most accurate results possible, whether you need monitoring, increased water quality, sampling, or remediation. Your company can stay on track financially and environmentally with correct, well-maintained environmental equipment.
Solving Specific Problems: The Clean Water Case Study
The problem of climate change can sound so overwhelming, most people don’t even know where to begin. We hear reports every day of water shortages in South Africa and increased ocean acidification that bleaches coral reefs and purges the ocean of its diversity. We’re vaguely aware of the negative implications these issues pose for our global society but are often too distanced from their realities to fully comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Besides wanting to heal the environment, there’s another reason we should focus our efforts on resolving climate change — it benefits us humans. And the problems posed by global warming, at least as of now, are still fixable.
Water scarcity is a crisis that hits close to home for many in this world. The instant water that flows freely from your tap seems to contradict the facts, which, according to the World Wildlife Federation, state that by 2025, “two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages.” Even in America, areas like Flint, Michigan, don’t have access to clean, drinkable water. Water shortages also impede education, as children spend their days gathering drinking water rather than attending school.
That’s where data comes in. Data allows people to monitor water quality and track its flow patterns to predict and therefore anticipate any shortages. It can also help conserve water. In fields like agriculture, technology can calculate the exact amount of water needed, minimizing excess water waste. In conjunction with residential utility companies, similar reductions in water consumption can be made based on the laws of supply and demand.
Other groundbreaking innovations that use data to combat the clean water crisis include India’s EQWATER, an intelligent water supply network that makes use of the Internet of Things to equitably distribute water in the country’s crowded megacities. Another solution is called the Omni Processor, a system that transforms human waste into electricity and drinking water for communities without access to adequate sanitation services or clean water.
Application in Other Industries
The clean water crisis is just one of the many problems posed by climate change. However, the data-driven techniques detailed above apply to a variety of issues caused by the climate crisis. As these technologies continue to evolve, they are one of our best chances of defeating climate change and reclaiming our planet.