discussion / Community Base  / 27 June 2022

What are your biggest sustainability challenges and issues in your work?

Update: You can now find all of the discussions and twitter threads in one place here on WILDLABS! 

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We’re so excited to announce that our next Editorial Series will focus on sustainability in conservation tech! 

As the follow-up to our first Editorial Series Technical Difficulties, which focused on the value of sharing the lessons we learn from failure with others in the community, we think the big topics and themes of conservation tech sustainability are perfect choices to spark meaningful discussions within the WILDLABS community. 

And by creating spaces to keep these conversations growing and thriving, we hope this series can grow into something more than just thematic articles and case studies. Together, we’ll discuss the challenges of making sustainable choices in conservation tech, the promise of future sustainable technologies, and the ways we can all make our work more impactful with less negative impact on the environment and species we’re trying to protect.

While our Editorial Series will be released later this year, we’ll be thinking about sustainability challenges and issues throughout the rest of 2022, and we want to hear from you about your experiences and opinions on these topics! You’ll find many sustainability discussions spread throughout our forums and our Twitter this week, and we’ll keep this post updated with all those discussion threads so you won’t miss anything. 

To kick us off, I have a question for our entire community: What are your biggest sustainability challenges and issues in your work? 

Do you worry about what happens to all your batteries and obsolete technology after use? Have you struggled with repairing equipment or sourcing local tools because certain materials weren’t available in your work region? Do you stress about how limited capacity building leads to a bigger carbon footprint for your project? Have you searched for more environmentally-friendly tool options and come up short?

Whatever challenges you’ve faced, we’d love to learn from them! Looking forward to discussing these topics and much more!

I mentioned this on the twitter thread as well, but I'd love to do a proper life-cycle carbon analysis on some key monitoring technologies and compare them to in-person monitoring. With all the carbon embodied in sourcing sensors, SD cards, batteries, etc how long do you have to run your sensors to make them better in carbon terms than in-person surveys?

A paper just came out on this that could provide an interesting starting point. https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pan3.10333

I currently work on two sustainability challenges: 1. Sustainability of Remote Sensing & AI for Carbon Sequestration: There is great potential in combining remote sensing and ML to increase the quality of forestry carbon offsets and to play a key role in is scaling natural carbon sequestration at the speed that is required to mitigate climate change. However, we identified and highlighted the need to audit the algorithms and data used to avoid systematic wrong estimations by quantifying its current gap, as an overestimation would lead to bigger market offer and a lower carbon price. https://www.climatechange.ai/papers/icml2021/79 2. Sustainability of Blockchain for Carbon/Biodiversity Currently the voluntary carbon market for carbon and biodiversity is trending. A lot of new solutions and start-ups are coming up, which leverage blockchain technology. However these blockchain solutions consume a lot of energy (depending on their validation method), mostly in countries with a very negative energy mix (fossil energies). Therefore, we aim to create transparency on the real impact of blockchain solutions on the environment, so we do not establish unsustainable technology solutions

Paper Tackling Overestimation.pdf

Hey all! 

I mentioned that on Friday, we'd update this post with all the sustainability conversations happening across our platform, but I wanted to flag this great Twitter thread right now in case anyone wants to jump in! Lots of interesting conversation about challenges with transporting batteries to field sites on planes and using rechargeable batteries in the comments. 

Check it out here:

Battery Twitter Thread