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November 02, 2021

Mitigating the Risk with Public Purpose Technology

We find ourselves in an uncertain time: the world is still reeling from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ever-pressing need to address climate change continues to haunt us. For the world to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 3 degrees, we will need to cut our carbon emissions in half by 2030. For decades, experts and scientists have warned us of what will come if we don’t act—and their predictions are beginning to come true.

Throughout the world, communities are experiencing serious side effects to an increasing global temperature. More severe weather means extreme flooding, drought, more frequent forest fires, rising sea levels, etc. Coastal cities are racing against the clock to stop themselves from being swallowed by the tides; while the permafrost is melting in Russia and the Arctic, destabilizing infrastructure as well as spreading disease.

COP26 seeks to address these challenges and so much more by bringing about holistic collaboration across all countries and strategically fight against climate change. Mitigation is the primary objective, wherein all attendees have promised to prevent the global temperature from rising no more than 1.5 degrees by 2050. But to do so, countries of all sizes will need to use every tool in their arsenal: policy changes, domestic and foreign collaboration of governments and industry, and leverage technology to the fullest.

In an age where technology is developing at a rapid pace, while costs for utilizing it have fallen, digital solutions are more readily available than ever before—and with more capabilities. But what does that mean for public good?

Public purpose technologies (PPT) ensure that the technology that is created is utilized for the benefit of people and communities, rather than for industry gains alone. PPT allows for communities and industry to access the benefits of emerging solutions as a value-added layer that enhances public policy and initiatives to improve the quality of life and enhance public good. In this instance, PPT can be used to address a host of climate-related problems at a global scale through intelligent data collection, engaging with the customers and citizens, and streamlining burdensome processes.

Irys’ partnership with Scottish and Southern Electricity Network (SSEN) wildlife project is a prime example of PPT in action.

This pilot project centers around reducing carbon emissions the utility generates and the South-Central England. The sustainability pathways that SSEN has mapped out include enhancing biodiversity, increasing climate mitigation and adaptation, and improving quality of life for customers. Several of these pathways reflect the goals of COP26 and touch on many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including affordable and clean energy, life on land, climate action, and industry innovation and infrastructure, etc.

But how does PPT fit in?

As SSEN and Arcadis, the other partner participating in the pilot project, determined the parameters of how SSEN could address climate mitigation through wildlife restoration and habitat improvements, Irys stepped in to help engage the community in the whole process. Irys’ community engagement application gives customers the ability to communicate on several key areas:

  • What they currently value in their local area (habitats, green spaces, nature, etc.)
  • How they currently access nature/green spaces & for what purpose
  • How they would prioritize habitat improvements and environmental benefits

Providing a platform for customer input is critical for the overall success of re-establishing natural habitats and prioritizing biodiversity improvements within the participating counties. Industry cannot solve these challenges in a vacuum, and by creating communication channels that capture measurable, meaningful insights, SSEN will be able to make improvements to their service areas and continue to mitigate the effects of climate change more holistically.

So, what does this mean?

Irys will actually be presenting the results of the pilot study with SSEN and Arcadis at the Tech for Our Planet showcase event at COP26, November 11th in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26 is the perfect place to demonstrate the importance of PPT and how the only way forward is by uniting efforts across industry and community.

We are on The Road to Glasgow. Thanks for tagging along!