About

ABOUT THE INITIATIVE

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies have the potential to help tackle some of the world’s most pressing societal problems, such as climate change, biodiversity, food insecurity, public health risks, and equity. The transformational capabilities of the digital age might even be a necessity to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, as set out by the United Nations (UN).

Yet, global sustainability is not an inevitable outcome of the digital revolution. In fact, the digital transformation has helped drive the exponential rise of the human imprint on the natural environment that now threatens the resilience of Earth systems, and there remains a significant risk that technological advancement will exacerbate inequalities and escalate social injustice. The digital revolution has the potential to help transform society to a more sustainable and equitable world – but only if there is a conscious effort to steer it in that direction.

Future Earth’s Sustainability in the Digital Age initiative explores the opportunities and challenges of leveraging the digital revolution to enhance global sustainability and equity and aims to forge multi-stakeholder partnerships and foster actions to make this vision a reality.

The underlying assumption of this initiative is that societal transformations to global sustainability will not be achieved through centralized, top-down planning. Rather, they will emerge through a diversity of bottom-up disruptions from a range of sectors and world regions. The challenge – and the opportunity – is to simultaneously create enabling conditions to unleash positive, bottom-up transformative change while also steering the multitude of disruptions toward a common goal: societal transformations to a sustainable, climate-safe, and equitable world.

PROJECT TEAM

Amy Luers

Amy Luers

Executive Director, Future Earth

Jennifer Garard

Jennifer Garard

Manager, Sustainability in the Digital Age

Paula Monroy

Paula Monroy

Communications Coordinator, Future Earth

Nilufar Sabet-Kassouf

Nilufar Sabet-Kassouf

Executive Assistant, Future Earth

EXPERT ADVISORY COMMITTEE

An international team of diverse experts convened to guide the development of the D^2S Agenda.

Valérie Bécaert

Valérie Bécaert

Director of Research and Scientific Programs, Element AI

Anik Bhaduri

Anik Bhaduri

Executive Director, Sustainable Water Future Program; Associate Professor, Griffith University

Nick Beglinger

Nick Beglinger

Co-Founder and CEO, Cleantech 21 Foundation

Mark De Blois

Mark De Blois

CEO and Founder, Upande

Owen Gaffney

Owen Gaffney

Global Sustainability Writer and Expert, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)

Dan Hammer

Dan Hammer

CTO, Earthrise Alliance

Tom Hassenboehler

Tom Hassenboehler

Partner, The Coefficient Group; Executive Director and Founder, EC-MAP

Ravi Jain

Ravi Jain

VP Search Science and AI, Amazon

Lucas Joppa

Lucas Joppa

Chief Environmental Officer, Microsoft

Lyse Langlois

Lyse Langlois

Professor, Université Laval; Director, International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of Artificial Intelligence and Digital Technologies (OBVIA)

Mats Linder

Mats Linder

Founder and CEO, MLSH Consulting

Kevin Mo

Kevin Mo

Managing Director, The Paulson Institute

Mathilde Mougeot

Mathilde Mougeot

Professor, École Nationale Supérieure d’Informatique pour l’Industrie et l’Entreprise (ENSIIE) & Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Per Olsson

Per Olsson

Researcher, Stockholm Resilience Centre

Renata Piazzon

Renata Piazzon

Executive Manager of Climate Change, Arapyau Institute

Valerie Pisano

Valerie Pisano

President and CEO, Mila

Asunción Lera St. Clair

Asunción Lera St. Clair

Senior Principal Scientist, DNV GL; Senior Advisor, Barcelona Supercomputing Center

Gina Ziervogel

Gina Ziervogel

Associate Professor, University of Cape Town

WITH SUPPORT FROM

ClimateWorks Foundation

Since October 2017, Valérie Bécaert has been the Director of the Research Group at Element AI, a Montreal-based provider of artificial intelligence solutions that delivers cutting edge technologies to make businesses stronger, safer and more agile. She was previously Director of Partnerships at the Institute for Data Valorisation (IVADO). Valérie holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Polytechnique Montréal in Environmental Modeling. She began her career in 2005 as a researcher in the field of life cycle analysis. In 2011, she became director of CIRAIG, Centre international de référence sur le cycle de vie des produits, procédés et services, and in 2013 she co-founded and directed CIRODD, centre interdisciplinaire de recherche en opérationalisation du développement durable. It is by working with researchers in optimization and mathematics to solve environmental problems that she became convinced that our ability to generate, analyze and develop data will change the world.

Anik Bhaduri is the Director of the Sustainable Water Future Programme (Water Future) of Future Earth. Water Future is a global platform facilitating international scientific collaboration to drive solutions to the world’s water security problems. Anik coordinates this large network of more than 400 researchers from Water Future’s 15 international and interdisciplinary working groups and facilitates integration and synthesis exercises in collaboration with working group members. He plays a key role in designing and developing key Water Future initiatives like COMPASS, a comprehensive assessment tool for near real-time assessment of global water security, Solutions Lab as well the capacity building activities related to water security like 2030WaterSecure. Anik is also an Associate Professor at the Australian River Institute, Griffith University, Australia and a senior fellow at the Centre of Development Research, University of Bonn, Germany where he works on several topics and projects, ranging from transboundary water sharing to adaptive water management under climate change.

Nick Beglinger is a Swiss economist (LSE). In 2008 he co-founded and currently runs the Cleantech21 foundation (C21). His focus area is sustainable development at the crossroads of finance, innovation, and regulation. From 2009 to 2016, Nick acted as president of Switzerland’s first green business association, swisscleantech, and thereby shaped the country’s climate, energy, and mobility policy. Following COP22 in Marrakesh (2016), Nick co-founded the government-financed Climate Ledger Initiative, bringing distributed ledger technologies (DLT, ‘blockchain’) to UNFCCC. At COP23, C21 organised #Hack4Climate, the first hackathon linked to a climate conference. Based on #Hack4Climate’s success, and its growing community of IoT, DLT and AI developers, C21 started the Hack4Climate innovation program in 2018 with the mission to accelerate exponential innovation for exponential decarbonisation. Nick is a board member of the Global Infrastructure Basel Foundation, and member of WWF’s Leaders for Nature. He started his career with McKinsey in Hamburg, and then founded the first software JV in Saigon/Vietnam. He worked in China, Korea, Singapore, Iran, Iraq, and United Arab Emirates for Maxmakers – where he headed a 3-year engagement with the Government of Abu Dhabi in the first development period of the Masdar Project.

Dan Hammer is the winner of the Pritzker Environmental Genius Award. He is a Fellow at National Geographic, a TEDx speaker, and founder of Earthrise Media. Hammer works to make satellite imagery of the Earth more accessible to journalists and educators. He was a senior advisor in the Obama White House, a Presidential Innovation Fellow at NASA, and an adjunct professor at both Georgetown University and the University of San Francisco. Hammer served as the chief data scientist at the World Resources Institute, and while there, co-founded Global Forest Watch to monitor deforestation from satellite imagery. He also founded Spaceknow, a satellite image analytics start-up. He received his Ph.D. in environmental economics at UC Berkeley, where he was a Fellow at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science. Hammer received his B.A. in mathematics and economics with high honors at Swarthmore College, where he was a Lang Opportunity Scholar. Hammer spent almost two years in the South Pacific as a Watson Fellow, building and racing outrigger canoes.