Generation Z: Clouds and Climate Change
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Generation Z: Clouds and Climate Change

The recent week-long Global Climate Strike woke up sleeping giants from comfortably making moves that didn’t include the millions of voices from Generation Z advocating for Mother Earth. Protesters marched, chanted and walked in literally every nation, major city and many smaller third-world communities that are most threatened by climate change.

There’s no silver bullet that explains why we have seen such horrific hurricanes, cyclones, mudslides, fires, and floods recently. We have a long list of opinions about the factors that contribute to these severe disasters, polluted water and air, and the extinction of animal species.

Global Climate Strike protests around the world

Courtesy of Fridays for the Future

What I can say is people contribute to many of these issues, which means people have the power to change it. If you think that one person can’t change the world, tell that to climate change activist Greta Thunberg. Last week, 16-year-old Greta stood in front of the United Nations and unapologetically delivered her message with sincere urgency and unwavering demand that our time is now. She reminded members of the U.N. that future generations are unafraid to express themselves as she clearly stated, “The eyes of future generations are upon you and we won’t let you get away with this!”

We cannot ignore the greatest resource to our human existence is in crisis. Although many of us do, since clean water and a healthy food supply is something we never imagine being without. As a privileged Earthling living in America, I assume I will wake up to clean water, air and food daily. I feel that way because that’s been my experience thus far (at least that’s what I believe — who knows what’s actually in the water, air and food we consume these days?). I would have a different outlook if I lived in places like Brady, Texas or Flint, Michigan, where your tap water looks more like your morning tea.

Greta Thunberg mural

Wikimedia Commons

The answers are in the clouds, though. Clouds traditionally hold rain, but nowadays they hold data. Rich information filled with years of weather catastrophes, polluted water, lead pipes, dying animals, food crises and other information that would help us to understand these problems and provide a clear picture of where these issues persist. As I watched the videos of the world-wide protest, I immediately thought of the undeniable truth floating in the clouds.

We have reached a time in history where the truth is difficult to hide. If you text it, email it, record it, or drop it in social media, the clouds have it. We don’t have to guess your location anymore; geospatial technology provides that information. All you need is a smartphone and a data collection app. Consumers purchased over 1.5 billion smartphones in 2016. That means that 1 billion-plus people have the ability to mark locations and expose any information we need to respond to Mother Earth’s cries.

We need more organization though, which is where companies like Spatial Networks fit in. We are committed to the communities that want to change the game through data technology. Using Fulcrum, our mobile data collection platform, scientists and community groups can collect critical information in real time and report that information any place in the world. Currently we have hundreds of universities, nonprofit organizations, and small community-focused groups volunteering their time to doing that work through Fulcrum Community.

Climate change protest

Courtesy of REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

We’re proud to support better-informed, data driven decisions regarding our planet, but more needs to happen. We have millions of concerned humans, technology and improved scientific processes that make it easier to approach these issues. So what’s stopping us? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s our habits and belief systems; our personal clouds are clouding the truth. We somehow believe that we can keep driving our cars and polluting the oceans and there will be no consequences — even if we see the changes happening right before our eyes.

The other issue is the separation of the clouds. We are certainly collecting more ground truth through technology, but that information isn’t always combined and shared as a collective response, which also keeps chaos in place. If we want change, that change will come from building open-source data communities that allow everyone to contribute and review. When we share our clouds and the power of the data contained within, we win.

Fulcrum is a data collection platform that enables organizations to reduce costs, access critical data in real time, and improve decision making at every level. With Fulcrum, you can create custom apps using our simple drag-and-drop builder to turn your paper documents into digital forms that your field teams can quickly complete on mobile devices. Our software is available at no cost to humanitarian and volunteer disaster-relief organizations via Fulcrum Community.

About the author

Donayle is the Fulcrum Community Advocate, providing leadership and direction of Spatial Networks’ philanthropic vision.

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