Advancing Environmental Justice with AI
The global tech community is uniquely positioned to provide disadvantaged communities with innovative, accessible solutions to address the effects of global warming. Tools powered by artificial intelligence, in particular, could have an outsize impact, enabling people to learn from and adapt to climate challenges in real time.
NEW YORK – Climate change is undoubtedly the defining challenge of our time, but its effects are not equally distributed. In both developed and developing countries, environmental degradation disproportionately affects communities marginalized because of race, ethnicity, religion, and poverty. More often than not, these communities are already confronting systemic inequalities such as water scarcity and greater exposure to pollution and extreme weather events – all of which are exacerbated by the climate crisis.
It is a reality with which I am intimately familiar. As a child, my family had a farm on Dominica, a small Caribbean island state that faces the threat of hurricanes each year. One tropical storm could knock out power grids and wipe out entire harvests, destroying local livelihoods.
According to the World Bank, climate-related disasters push 26 million people into poverty annually. And because the world’s poorest people often depend on agriculture – a sector highly dependent on favorable weather conditions – to support themselves, they urgently need access to technical, financial, and institutional resources to prepare for and respond to ever more frequent and intense extreme weather events.
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