Talking About Climate Change And What To Do About It

By Chris Powell

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was in Lisbon earlier this month for the Web Summit.  I was lucky to be a part of a fascinating discussion on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The report gives policymakers and practitioners the information they need to make decisions that tackle climate change, while considering local context and people’s needs. Last Friday, the U.S. government issued its report on climate change – which placed specific costs of projected climate impacts of a staggering $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise, and $32 billion from infrastructure damage. It’s pretty obvious: what companies, governments and individuals do in terms of addressing climate change will make the next few years the most important in our history.

Whether by brilliant planning – or happy coincidence – the members of the panel were diverse and unique in the ways they were driving change to protect the planet. The panel included: Davida Herzl, CEO and co-founder of Aclima; PlayMob COO Lou FawcettAnna Schoemakers, Executive Director of Greenpeace Netherlands; and Wall Street Journal energy reporter Neanda Slavaterra, who served as moderator.

Like many people, I was aware of the environmental work Greenpeace has been doing for years, including its recent work with Ecuador for rain forest preservation. I was not familiar with Aclima and PlayMob; both are doing some seriously cool things.

Aclima builds sensor networks that monitor environmental impacts on a hyper local scale. These sensors can be deployed on city streets, inside buildings – even on vehicles – to compile data on pollutants, carbon footprint and more. Davida Herzl’s ultimate goal is for sensor networks to create changes in behavior, both from large institutions, local governments and from individuals who can follow their lead. This includes a partnership with Google. Aclima has installed sensors into Google Street View cars to capture data including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulate matter.

PlayMob operates an online platform that integrates charity campaigns into games of digital content providers. Working under its “Gaming for Good” mission, PlayMob offers a unique tool with a socially-focused purpose – to connect the two massive industries of gaming and charities. It believes that by mobilizing the global gaming community, we can collectively tackle some of the world’s biggest issues.

So how did Commvault fit into this conversation? Like my fellow panelists, we are all looking to do things differently to drive change and take action in preserving the environment. The IT industry recently surpassed the airline industry in terms of carbon footprint – and that is a serious concern and an incredible opportunity.  It’s a chance to lead by example – by applying the innovation and technology we create for our customers to ourselves. In today’s business landscape, every business needs a data center – be it physical plant or in the cloud – and these centers need to be managed in an environmentally-conscious way.  The IT industry has to find new, intelligent solutions to be planet friendly. At Commvault, we are taking steps to drive efficiencies in data warehouses and are working with our partners and customers to find new ways of reducing the carbon footprint created by their data.

For me, it was interesting to see how this diverse group of people are each doing things differently to drive change. Greenpeace looks to work with governments and individuals to champion environmentally-responsible solutions.  Aclima harnesses data to change both institutional and individual decisions that impact the climate. PlayMob reaches out to individual gamers to link them to charitable causes to improve the world. Through these actions, each of these organizations is helping to change the collective mindset surrounding climate change. They are not waiting for someone else to drive change; they are taking responsibility for a multi-dimensional issue in ways they know will make an impact.

And for that, I thank them.