Announcing WildTech.Mongabay.com: A New Online Hub for Innovation to Save Earth’s Biodiversity

Jul 22, 2015

RESOLVE’s Biodiversity and Wildlife Solutions program has joined forces with the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the environmental news website Mongabay.com to develop an online platform, wildtech.mongabay.com, to spark and share innovative, technology-driven solutions to address the alarming decline of Earth’s biodiversity.

The rapidly expanding human footprint, in the form of deforestation, illegal logging, habitat fragmentation, and the unsustainable hunting and harvesting of natural resources, is wiping out wildlife populations and their habitats worldwide. Resource managers and conservationists working against these threats must apply all tools possible, and they are eager to improve their capabilities. Many tech developers and engineers seek opportunities to apply their innovative skills and products. However, although technology is rapidly improving and more widely available, uptake in the field is stymied by infrequent communication, steep learning curves, and high development costs.

The new wildtech.mongabay.com site aims to accelerate the flow of information and communication. The site will serve as a meeting hub targeted at three audiences: (1) scientists and conservation managers in the field who would benefit from technology, (2) tech developers that want to help interesting conservation or research projects, and (3) potential funders interested in supporting novel collaborations that bring technology to the field.

The hub will highlight use of emerging and existing technologies around the world and facilitate the interaction of these groups to solve forest and wildlife conservation challenges through news, stories from the field, and a discussion area to interact and form collaborations. These features will be integrated with regular technology gatherings sponsored by the site.

We hope to create a dynamic and informed online community where stories can be shared about successes, failures, and areas of great potential—a place where conservationists and technologists can interact and learn about each other’s needs, skills, and products. These dialogues can catalyze rapid field-testing and adaptation of technologies, bringing the most promising solutions to scale. We invite you to engage in our effort to improve the status of global biodiversity by joining in this new initiative.

Sue Palminteri, Scientist and Program Manager

Media contact: Inquiries by the media can be directed to wild...@mongabay.com. Please mention Media in the subject line.

This image, taken with CAO lasers, shows a ground elevation map in dense tropical forest of western Amazon. The map uncovers a history of geologically old meanders in the Tambopata River in Peru. Today, only the main stem of the river persists, and all of the prehistoric meanders are now covered by forest. Images like these are essential to understanding how forest structures have changed and to inform conservation planning efforts. Caption and image courtesy of CAO.

 

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RESOLVE Volunteer: An Introduction

Nov 11, 2013

Since I’ll be posting blogs periodically on the RESOLVE website and elsewhere, I thought I should introduce myself. I recently became a RESOLVE volunteer after reading Amy Larkin’s book Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy (Macmillan, 2013). Amy has been a tireless environmental activist who, in this well-documented analysis, clearly and powerfully illuminates the destructive impacts of business-as-usual, not only on the environment, but on our economy and ultimately on our way of life. Unlike many other screeds cautioning about ecological devastation, however, Environmental Debt delineates market-based and pragmatic solutions to some of our problems, not just for the future but many that are being implemented right now. RESOLVE, with whom Amy is affiliated as a strategic partner, has been a part of some of these solutions.

As I devoured her book, my feelings of hopelessness and helplessness about the mess we have made here on planet earth morphed into stirrings of optimism and excitement. Perhaps we can’t solve all of our problems with perfectly crafted solutions on the global and comprehensive scale required, but there are things that can be done as business and government and environmental groups work together. For example, large multi-nationals like McDonalds, Puma, Tiffany and Company, and Unilever have already taken steps to become more responsible environmental stewards. So perhaps all is not lost; and if so, I definitely want to be a part of the effort to make a difference.

Sure, I’ve done the typical things — recycle, change out incandescent light bulbs for fluorescents, purchase fuel efficient vehicles, turn down the thermostat, garden organically, etc. And my farm even showcases some unusual environmental initiatives, like prairie grasses and solar panels. But so much more is needed to preserve this orb that sustains us all.  I can collect rain in recycled barrels, but that doesn’t begin to address the water challenges facing many parts of the globe. I can vote for candidates with a responsible environmental agenda, but the gridlock inWashingtoncan undermine the most committed legislators. Curtailing purchases, and buying from companies whose supply chains avoid workforce and environmental abuses, makes me feel better but leaves intact capitalism’s moral blinders.

As a psychologist, a profession from which I recently retired, when particularly intransigent situations arose, I would schedule extra sessions or seek a consultation or invite in family members to help move things forward. Failure was never an option I considered, even if on occasion results were not what I would have wished. We all need a sense of agency, of being able to make a difference, in our careers and in our personal and civic lives. With Mother Earth as the endangered client, thanks to Amy’s book I now recognize that here too despair does not have to play a role. With the exceptional promise of RESOLVE’s team operating in some of the most conflicted arenas of environmental decision-making, with their Solutions Network showcasing unusual and creative global initiatives to foster more responsible stewardship of human and natural resources, I have found a partnership that restores my hope that we can still avert disaster, and preserve the gifts of planet earth for our grandchildren and generations to come.

Stay tuned as I share more about RESOLVE’s work.

- Kathy Arcuri

Kathy Arcuri is a RESOLVE volunteer.  She writes blog posts about RESOLVE’s work from her own perspective.

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