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Exploring the Fourth Wave of Environmental Innovation
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July 14, 2020 
Lessons of the pandemic, part 1: Follow science, not opinion, to protect health and the environment
I hope this finds you safe and healthy since my last Innovation & the Environment newsletter in February. I’m resuming my usual cadence, because challenging times are often the catalyst for bold, enduring innovation.
 
As the COVID-19 crisis makes tragically clear, writes my colleague Steven Hamburg, “life-and-death decisions must be based on science, not politics.” Pulling from poignant examples past and present, EDF’s chief scientist makes the case that action guided by evidence can flatten the curve of the climate crisis in time. “When you’re fighting a crisis, having the right data — and elected officials who act upon it — can save lives. It’s true for COVID-19 and for the climate crisis, too.” I emphatically agree.
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Researchers collecting data in the Permian Basin
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Lessons of the pandemic, part 2: The case for a COVID-19 registry
Why it matters: The virus is killing Black Americans at higher rates than any other group. So EDF launched a collaborative effort to develop the dataset needed to help public officials understand the connection between COVID-19 and air quality, and why some people are more at risk.
 
Agriculture meets climate tech
Why it matters: Entrepreneurs in the agricultural space are bringing creative, practical solutions to the defining crisis of our time. From DNA mapping of soil microbes to blockchain for tracking climate-smart practices, better data, technology and market opportunities abound.

How the paradigm shift to open data is transforming environmental innovation
Why it matters: The amount of data worldwide is expected to more than triple by 2025. Four examples illustrate how we’re transforming what we can do with data, empowering businesses, communities, governments, universities and other institutions to take action in bold new ways.
 
Stripe picks $1 million in carbon-removal projects to spur industry (via Reuters)
Why it matters: To stabilize the total atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, the world will have to remove more carbon from the atmosphere than is being pumped into it. Others are taking note as well: Microsoft announced it will invest $1 billion in carbon removal.

I want to close with a few words on racial justice. For too long, conservation and environmental movements have not done enough to address environmental racism and other structural injustices that communities of color face. Environmental organizations must work to bring down the barriers that affect Black, people of color and Indigenous communities.
 
The murder of George Floyd, and countless other unarmed Black people, weighs heavily on the conscience of this nation. We all need to speak out against acts of brutality, big and small. It is especially important that white Americans do so. EDF demands not only justice, but reform and equity, to end the long train of abuse arising from racism.

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I look forward to sharing more news from the frontiers of environmental innovation. Please send me your thoughts and suggestions at innovation@edf.org.

Fred
 

Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn, and join the Fourth Wave of environmental innovation conversation on Medium.

 


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