People and technology collaborationsthat contribute towards SDG 17
You cannot deny the power of technology.
Tech development often seems unstoppable, especially when you explore industry-agnostic and specific trends featured within reports similar to the McKinsey 2021 Tech Trends Index.
From emerging clean technologies to digital twin software, the Index indicates a diverse range of trends that can benefit the mission of the UN SDGs in the coming years. Yet, what sometimes gets pushed aside is the power of people.
‘’It's not a faith in technology. It’s faith in people,” as Steve Jobs once answered when questioned if he still believed in the power of tech.
With incredible technology comes incredible people who sit behind the scenes tweaking their blueprints and watching their innovations play out. They are the creative problem-solvers who dare to dive into technical depths and surface with real-world solutions.
And it’s this collaborative superpower between people and tech that could ultimately help support the UN SDG 17 Partnership for the goals, which is to:
Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development
With global minds and technical solutions coming together, climate-saving technologies will emerge.
Here are three of those collaborations where people and technology are working towards a more sustainable world:
When you mix 3 founders, UAV technology, automation, and ecological science, what do you get?
A company named Flash Forest that automates reforestation.
This particular people and tech partnership has one clear goal- to plant 1+ billion trees by 2028 to heal the planet’s lungs. Through drone technology, they are doing this and are already making rapid seed-potting progress.
According to their blog, between April and June of this year, they completed the largest drone reforestation project in Canadian history by travelling 10,000 km and planting over 300,000 seed pods.
Not only is the collaboration between Flash Forest founders, team members and drones improving life on land (SDG 15), but they are well on their way to completing their goals.
Another key partnership for the goals named Climeworks currently uses carbon capture technology to help reverse climate change.
As the company explains, ‘’With our technology, we capture carbon dioxide directly from the air; removing unavoidable and historic CO₂ emissions. The air-captured carbon dioxide can either be recycled and used as a raw material, or completely removed from the air by safely storing it.’’
This partnership isn’t just between founders and their technology either. It is also shared with ‘Climate Pioneers’ around the world. This is a network of people who sign up for a carbon dioxide removal subscription service, a collaborative way to solidify global partnerships for the goals and a great example of climate action (SDG 13).
This year, scientific minds from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh merged together to create a squid-like robot.
Why? Well, since they are just as flexible as real-life squid, they have the incredible ability to observe, explore and restore our planet’s delicate coral reefs. Therefore, this partnership for the goals primarily benefits SDG 14 (Life below water).
As University of Southampton Associate Professor Dr Gabriel Weymouth said,‘’ The last decade has seen a surge in research into flexible and biologically-inspired robots, such as Boston Dynamic's "Big Dog", because they can be much more versatile than standard industry robots. This research demonstrates that these concepts can also be applied to underwater robotics.’’
Again, another climate-preserving contraption that complements both technical and human skill.
Message from Emily:
At KEVRI, we too are on the hunt for eco-conscious collaborations like those above. Specifically within the Higher Education sector, as we believe universities have a civic duty to play when supporting the UN SDGs and pledging net zero campuses.
So, if you’re ever anxious about climate change and feeling down, don’t forget the power of people who are out there right now utilising the power of tech to make great partnerships happen for the goals and the future of our planet.
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