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Igniting Change Podcast Season 3: Episode 16

Dave Thau, Data and Technology Global Lead Scientist at WWF, joins us as we explore the role and impact that technology has in conservation and tackling biodiversity loss.


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According to the WWF’s Living Planet Report 2022, the global wildlife population has decreased by an average of 69% since 1970. This statistic undoubtedly illustrates the pressing issues our planet and humanity are facing. 

But there is still hope! Alongside various human efforts, technology also plays a key role in protecting the health of our planet.

Our hosts were thrilled to hear all about the ins and outs of the role of technology in conservation.

Tune in to the episode below!

Meet Dave

With over 25 years of experience, Dave Thau is a data scientist who has worked across the marketing, finance, and internet industries.

But what encouraged him to join the World Wildlife Fund?

Dave tells us how he had always been interested in nature, especially in biodiversity and conservation, so it felt right to focus on doing good for the world.

Conservation efforts are sociological and psychological. It’s about convincing people and governments of the importance of nature, to spark change.

But technological tools are key to the bigger picture! They enable organizations to analyze where we have been, and where we are now, predict where we are going, and understand what we need to do.

There are many examples of Tech for Good in this space, but one example that stands out to Dave is Google Earth Engine which he worked on for 8 years. The system analyses large sets of satellite data and is used by many projects, including our project with the World Resources Institute, to analyze and monitor the quality and state of nature.

Although utilizing technology has encouraged significant positive progress, Dave poses the question – if it wasn’t for the data we were collecting, would we be as aware of the issues we are facing?

Our understanding of our agricultural footprint, our human footprint, we wouldn’t understand all of those things if it wasn’t for the technology we have.

Dave Thau, Data and Technology Global Lead Scientist, WWF

About WWF

The World Wildlife Fund (also known as the World Wide Fund for Nature) is the world’s leading independent conservation organization dedicated to finding ways to transform the future.

With an overarching mission of creating a world where people and wildlife can live together, the main focus areas of WWF’s work are:

  • Encouraging measures to help people live sustainably
  • Protecting vulnerable species 
  • Tackling the climate crisis
  • Food system sustainability
  • Reducing carbon emissions
  • and protecting habitats

WWF aims to achieve its mission through education for all ages, collaboration with the private sector, and various publications and reports.

Listen to the full episode here

Use the links below to hear more of the incredible conversation with Dave!

For more things tech for good, stay tuned to our blog or shout us a holla to get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you 💚

Published on June 27, 2023, last updated on June 27, 2023

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