Why we need to be responsible about data and the environment

Professor Tom Jackson and Professor Ian Hodgkinson have collaborated with the Open Data Institute on a blog that explores how the risk to environmental sustainability will only increase as data continues to proliferate.

Data and digital technologies play a pivotal role in tackling climate change, serving as catalysts towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Data-driven and AI technologies are already being used to tackle different impacts of climate change. This includes enhancing our capacities to monitor and analyse environmental variables, such as resource depletion, droughts, pollution and predicting deforestation patterns and temperature fluctuations in a more comprehensive manner.

Data stewardship is an important part of ensuring that data is available to support the fight against the climate crisis. Data enables more informed decision making and better targeted interventions, as well as improving and enriching scientific research. This was illustrated by the case of Nepal, where effective data sharing played a pivotal role after the 2015 earthquake. Collaborative data sharing between private, public and third sectors emerged from this tragic event, leading to a mitigation of the natural disaster aftermath. Given the current climate crisis, similar catastrophes may become more commonplace, and collaborative data sharing will play a key role in averting and mitigating these crises.