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  • Writer's pictureDiana Mastracci Sanchez

Indigenous Hackathons & Earth Observation Data: Insights from Geo for Earth Podcast



The Geo for Earth podcast series, hosted by Innovate UK KTN, explores the potential of location data in supporting climate action and inclusive growth. With eight 40-minute episodes, the series covers topics such as geospatial innovation, financing, nature, the built environment, transport, and energy. In Episode 4, "Why is building resilience and adaptation essential to tackle global challenges?" hosts Andy Bennett and Luca Budello welcome two special guests, Titus Leetapo and Andrew Zolli, to discuss the critical role that data plays in supporting resilience and adaptation to climate change.


Titus Leetapo, co-founder of the GEO Indigenous Alliance, shares his organization's efforts to raise awareness of climate change in Indigenous communities and create connections between communities facing similar challenges. He emphasizes the importance of Indigenous data sovereignty, enabling them to access global Earth observation data and interpret it in ways that can help them build capacity and resilience. However, funding challenges and limited free access to Earth observation data still pose significant obstacles for the GEO Indigenous Alliance.


Andrew Zolli, chief impact officer at Planet, shares how his organization is using Earth observation data to reduce deforestation, improve information asymmetries, and bolster Indigenous communities guardianship of the world's most vital ecosystems. He highlights the essential role that Indigenous guardians play in slowing biodiversity loss and protecting vital ecosystems, and stresses the importance of improving access to Earth observation data and creating new partnerships to support organizations like the GEO Indigenous Alliance.


The podcast also explores the importance of translating scientific data into a language that everyone can understand, and Titus Letapo highlights the role of Space4Innovation Indigenous Hackathons, and explains how it has enabled his community, the Samburu tribe of northern Kenya, to develop innovative, culturally relevant solutions to the climate crisis. The discussion also highlights the interconnectedness of scientific data, climate and biodiversity, and human rights and sovereignty, making it clear that we cannot address global challenges without addressing all of these issues together.


In short, Episode 4 of Geo for Earth is a thought-provoking discussion that underscores the importance of data and collaboration in building resilience and adaptation to climate change and is essential listening for policymakers and scientists who want to make a difference in the fight against climate change. You can listen to the podcast here.

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