Single.Earth’s Saving the World Journey: 20 Scientists Take Action

Science & Tech
January 20, 2022
Rémy Poncet

Without the 20 scientists who rolled up their sleeves at Single.Earth to save the natural world, 2021 could’ve gone down in history as the year of “Blah Blah Blah”.

It was the year of COP26 in Glasgow: pledging to fight climate change and biodiversity loss. However, it was once again a year of all talk and no action.

Fortunately, 2021 is also the year that the Single.Earth science team came together with actionable solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss. That’s when the bravest carbon, climate, and data scientists formed a task force with interdisciplinary scientists, including ecologists and physicists.  

The science team at Single.Earth got together to build a digital twin of the world’s nature. Single.Earth’s digital twin is a live map representing how the natural world functions on a global scale. It’s based on information from ground observations, satellites, and databases that are processed using AI & Data Science methods!

We revealed nature’s value to our lives, including how much we owe and depend on it, and learned how ecosystem services stabilize the climate to keep it working properly.

Global Problem: The Unprecedented Decrease of Nature

For over 30 years, we’ve known that halting climate change is a crucial issue that needs to be dealt with. While the world has recognized the problems of climate change and biodiversity loss - and nature’s role in the solution - we’ve seen little real-world impact.

In 2020, the world lost 12.2 million hectares of tree cover in the tropics. Of this, about a third were untouched primary forests. Similar losses are expected in 2021.

We talk about the importance of protecting forests and other natural resources. We’ve even seen nature-based carbon offset solutions double in 2021 compared to the year before. Yet, nature continues to decrease at an unprecedented rate on a global scale, with irreversible damage for some local people and biodiversity.

“Healthy ecosystems and their biodiversity are at the foundation of human well-being and as such shall be highly valued and protected.” Donalda Karnauskaite, Researcher in the Natural Climate Solutions team.

Loss of nature has a devastating effect on the ecosystem around us: for the first time in history, 2021 saw the number of species at risk of extinction exceed 40,000.

Our scientists looked into the root cause of the problem to understand why current actions are not creating the desired impact. Despite all the initiatives, why are we still losing nature?

With decades of experience under their belts, Single.Earth scientists put words into action to start making a tangible impact on the natural world. They realized that the time to analyze and plan is over; it’s now time to start executing the advice of scientists around the world.

Unlearning and Rebuilding: Single.Earth’s Plan to Save Nature

Decades of warnings on the joint oncoming climate and biodiversity crisis haven’t allowed us to consider Earth as a global system. We can’t tackle the climate crisis without considering the biodiversity crisis, and vice versa.

Thousands of biodiversity conservation policies have been implemented with reasonable success. These include tackling local losses, opposing as-usual economy-based land use, correcting the view that nature and the economy are two opposing poles, and localizing biodiversity conservation.

“Single.Earth can completely change the forest management practices that have been unchanged for Millennia and beyond,” Kuno Kasak, Researcher (Natural Climate Solutions)

Trillions of dollars have been spent on unidirectional “solutions”. These view ecosystems as one-dimensional spaces providing carbon sequestration, species richness, or wood reserve. It doesn’t consider that nature is continuously changing. It also ignores the negative impact of spending resources to narrow the ocean of possibilities offered by nature.

This is what Single.Earth’s science team is disentangling. They’re working on explaining how the world is interconnected, how nature supports finance, and how finance can support the climate. This will support nature and, ultimately, help humanity.

Thanks to Single.Earth’s platform and digital twin, nature-based solutions consider ecosystems as a whole. They integrate more and more dimensions and refined information, designing a proteiform set of parameters mirroring the territories that people live in.

Eventually, we can consider nature, climate, and economy as parameters of the same equation, which evolves in a closed system.

“From their global scale to the complexity of the multiple interconnected factors, the climate and ecological crises are by far the greatest challenge facing humanity today. At the same time, we’ve never had so many technologies and tools available. We can now use remote sensing to monitor the health of ecosystems in real-time. We even have sophisticated models using AI to map and predict how these ecosystems will develop in the future.

Although we already have these sophisticated technologies, their ability to shift the economic system into a regenerative economy that supports nature has been hampered. This is because we do not have a framework that considers nature and all its contributions to people as our most valuable asset.

Single.Earth is tackling this challenge by designing a platform that leverages science, technology, and nature stewardship. Let’s revert the current trend of nature destruction and biodiversity loss by creating a system where people who have managed and protected nature, some of them for centuries, can be incentivized, so that people and nature can thrive together” - Arildo Dias, Senior Researcher (Natural Climate Solutions)

Single.Earth is building the positive retroactive feedback loops that humankind has been seeking for decades.

It’s now possible to design a world where:

🌿 the economy is backed by nature

🌿 conservation and restoration are synonyms of economic growth

🌿 each parcel of land, person, bird, and plant act on the same level, delivering the better for now and the future

Single.Earth is on a mission to help preserve and restore existing ecosystems.

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