Hello, World-Changer! 

Are you fascinated by the quest of using real-time environmental data to drive change, like a game?  

Sign up for our free monthly "Fitbit for the Planet" video hangout on the first Tuesday of the month at:
USA 10am PST / 1pm EST,  UK 6pm BST
Australia 3pm AEST

What we'll be talking about
How to collect real-time environmental data from sensors and utilize data sets and APIs.
Processing of aerial and satellite images into data sets.
AI and machine learning applications for environmental data.
Behavioral psychology that gets people to take pro-environmental action.
Gamification theory and how to apply it to environmental and social impact causes.
User interface design for making change happen.
Digital displays of environmental data such as AR/AX, digital billboards and LED screens.
Why we need imagination, vision, and creativity to drive environmental innovation forward.

Next Video Hangout 

July 6st 10am PST / 1pm EST

Dates for 2021: July 6th, August 3rd, September 7th, October 5th, November 2nd, December 7th
Each video hangout is edited into an episode on the How to Save the World podcast, shared with 37,000+ environmental nerds/hackers  professionals
Subscribe to the podcast
Upcoming: Tuesday 6th July 2021
10am PST, 1pm EST, 6pm BST

Joshua D. Wright on the power of imagining a better planet

Joshua D. Wright PhD

Joshua is an assistant professor at St Joseph's College in New York. He'll be talking to us about his research on testing how environment imagination exercises (thinking about "solutions" instead of "problems") increases people's adoption of pro-environmental behavior.   

Upcoming: 10th August
10am PST, 1pm EST, 6pm BST

Joshua Carlson on the neuroscience and cognition of how people respond to scary images of climate change

Joshua Carlson PhD

Joshua Carlson is a professor of psychological science at North Michigan University and the director of the  | Cognitive x Affective Behavior & Integrated Neuroscience (CABIN) Lab.  

JOSHUA'S RESEARCH: What kind of images should we be using to capture people's attention to get them to take action on climate change? Environmental communications has often used "negative" images such as drought, fire, melting glaciers, pollution, or deforestation. However, we also use  "positive" images that show solutions such as solar panels, green roofs, or wind turbines. Joshua's research tested the effect that positive (solutions oriented) images and negative (problem orientated) images had on people's attention and cognition. He'll be sharing his insights on how negative climate images were found to slow attention and cause a "freezing" effect which has serous implications for how we should communicate about climate change.

See his research here
Upcoming: Tuesday 7th September
10am PST, 1pm EST, 6pm BST

Alice Gottesman and Kai Kresek on how the world's biggest satellite-driven forest mapping project drives change

Alice Gottesman and Kai Kresek, Global Forest Watch

Global Forest Watch (GFW) is a map-based platform that allows anyone to access near real-time information about where and how forests are changing around the world.

WHAT GLOBAL FOREST WATCH DOES: What would it take to make "A Fitbit of the world's forests"? As you could imagine, it would be a momentous task. Global Forest Watch is doing it. It's one of the world's most technically ambitious ecological monitoring projects that maps and monitors the entire Earth's forest cover, with high frequency updates, ecological health insights, and displays it on beautiful and easy-to-use browser interface. Global Forest Watch a partnership between the World Resources Institute and multiple philanthropic bodies, conversation NGOs, and universities. The technical intricacy of this project spans right from the satellites that collect the data through to processing the images, the algorithms that scan for tree cover and calculate changes, the depth of data in the electromagnetic spectrum and how it conveys ecological health, and how to get it all looking nice and loadable on a browser. And then there's the biggest question of all – how does all this data visualization actually help forests get protected off the computer?  How do we use complex environmental data to drive change in the real world?

See the Global Forest Watch platform here.
Upcoming: Tuesday 5th October
10am PST, 1pm EST, 6pm BST

Anais Vosksi on the emotional effect that seeing Earth from space has on astronauts (and the rest of us)

Anais Voski
Anais is a postgraduate researcher at Stanford University focusing on environmental psychology and the ecological significance of "the overview effect."

ANAIS'S RESEARCH: The first moon landing on 1969 was more than a momentous technical feat. It delivered something unexpected that wasn't about the rocket ships and astronaut suits we usually see. The moon landing delivered humanity's first ever images of the Earth photographed from space – "the blue dot." It's hard to believe that the images we have our our beautiful blue, green, and white speckled planet hadn't existed until a few decades ago.  Until then, no one really knew what the Earth looked like. These first images of the Earth from space are given credit for the sudden ecological awareness that grew rapidly through the 1970s and 1980s. Seeing the Earth from space is called "the overview effect" and Anais, a PhD candidate at Stanford University studies the effect it has on astronauts. From her insights she will share what this means for the environmental movement and how we can weave this deeply touching psychological phenomenon in to our work as on-the-ground sustainability practitioners.

See her research here.

Previous "Fitbit for the Planet"guests

Jaap Ham PhD on how colored lights and animatronic cats change our energy use.

Jaap is a professor at Eindhoven University and he studies how technology influences people's energy consumption behavior.

JAAP'S RESEARCH: What if a light indicated your energy use to you by changing color depending on how much electricity you were using? Jaap's research tests the effect that colored light gauges have on kWh use (red is high, orange is medium, and green is low) and how people change their energy use in response to the color. What is most fascinating about his research is how people start to saving energy in response to the lights even if they don't consciously notice the lighting feedback, and simply how the hue of regular white lights can effect people's perception of temperature. He's run a quirky experiment using an animatronic cat they refer to as a "persuasive robot" that communicates your energy use to you with happy and sad emotions that had impressive results.

See his publications here

John Peterson on how to design an environmental dashboard that works

Systems Ecologist, Paul Sears Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology, Oberlin College.

John and his team created the created of the delightful environmentaldashboard.org. He has published multiple papers on how feedback loops of environmental data influence human behavior. He has been developing real-time feedback display technology for buildings, organizations, and whole cities with the goal of engaging, educating, motivating and empowering resource conservation and pro-environmental and pro-community thought and action. Scroll through his published papers here

Hey, did you see Energy Lollipop, the real "Fitbit for the Planet" product we launched? It's a Chrome extension that shows California's grid CO2 emissions in real-time. Install and try it out!

Install Chrome extension

Jesse Schell on how to save the planet like a game designer  Distinguished Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University; CEO of Schell Games; Author of The Art of Game Design

Jesse Schell is the CEO of Schell Games, a team of one hundred twenty-five people in Pittsburgh, PA who strive to make the world’s greatest educational and entertainment games, including Yale Medical's PlayForward: Elm City Stories, Water Bears VR, HoloLAB Champions, the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood games, and Happy Atoms. Schell Games has long been committed to making "transformational games," or games that change players for the better. Using the Transformational Framework, the company develops these games with a detailed, practical pre-production process built around a set of exploratory questions that maximizes the potential for players to change in a specific way that transfers and persists beyond the play session.

Jesse also serves as Distinguished Professor of the Practice of Entertainment Technology at Carnegie Mellon University. Jesse has worked on a wide variety of innovative game and simulation projects for both entertainment and education, but he is best known for his award-winning book The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses and his predictions about the future of gaming technology. He is a previous chair of the International Game Developers Association and former Creative Director of the Disney Virtual Reality Studio.  

Naomi Augustine-Lee on using Magic Leap's augmented reality glasses to make a real-time digital twin on Los Angeles

Lead of Innovation, Spatial Computing, Magic Leap. Naomi is building a 3D virtual world that can be seen through Magic Leap glasses. It's not a fantasy world though, it's a real-time digital twin of Los Angeles that injects real-time environmental data. Naomi will show us her Magic Leap experience and talk about what it takes to build a real digital city.