Tech & Nature: Partnering for a Sustainable Future

Energy consumption of IT resources is responsible for 4% of global CO2 emissions. That is a huge number and efforts are underway within most tech companies to reduce this environmental burden. But can we also consider ways in which IT can actually help the environment?

In a recent project, we at Sogeti used AI with Geo-Satellite Imaging to predict the infestation of bark beetles in forests of Sweden. It was an interesting marriage between IT and human ingenuity to directly affect change in the environment. 

Sporadic efforts are making headway globally to enhance the use of IT to benefit nature. United Nations Development Program (UNDP) is creating a nation-wide multi-hazard early warning system (MHEWS) using AI to create a tool that predicts the probability of a hailstorms and windstorms under certain meteorological conditions. This can protect communities and infrastructure through early intervention during climate-driven natural hazards.

Even in terms of endangered species, there are multiple initiatives to equip endangered species with smart collars embedded with GPS and sensors to keep track of them. Conservation drones are also used to track and monitor natural disasters like forest fires that can harm animals.

These are just examples, but the possibilities are endless – at the grassroot levels of small communities or even on large global scales. Technology has changed our lives entirely in the last century. Can it also be a partner in human effort to correct the damage it has led to? Can all tech companies take the onus on themselves, to work with their governments to directly impact the world in a deep way? It will be no longer tech vs nature. It will be tech + human effort + nature to actually make this world a better planet.