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Wilder Sensing: Inspiration of a Sustainable Green Future

News

Success story

During the Covid lockdown in 2020 and 2021 I read that in the UK we support more environmental related organisations per capita than any other country – yet we are one of the most environmentally degraded. A bit of a paradox to say the least.

We discussed the issue with a range of highly experienced people who are involved in many aspects of regenerating our natural environment, a number of systemic issues became apparent. One topic, however, which was mentioned a number of times was the need for better evidence and data as to what’s working and what’s not working when regenerative projects are being developed, or even understanding what a baseline might be.

Over the past 10 years, there has been significant academic research carried out around the world on using various types of sensors to identify species and overall biological activity amongst other topics, but this has tended to stay within the academic community.

Globally confidence in the market for carbon credits is being undermined by limited or poor quantity data resulting in significant investor concerns. In parallel the emergence of a biodiversity credit market, driven in the UK by the Biodiversity Net Gain offset obligations in the Environment Act 2021 will create the need for better data.

Evidence is often collected and processed by isolated individuals or small teams collecting information ad hoc for limited studies. The nature of these studies is often constrained both spatially and temporally. As a result there often is a strong bias in the overall results.

The lack of a uniform and consolidated approach have left us with only a partial understanding of long term effects of the overall environment of an entire country, and hence have hindered our ability to help it recover. In the words of Peter Druker:

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure”

The Idea

tawny owl 2

During the last decade, modern cloud technology and Artificial Intelligence have disrupted the way we live. From medical applications, global trade, and military use, to advertising and the way we communicate through social media, AI is having a sizable impact. The power to scale of cloud platforms such as AWS have enabled an unprecedented ability to process complex information and obtain actionable insights from millions of data sources. Wilder Sensing was launched as an attempt to bring the data revolution to biodiversity and ecological research.

We have an ambitious vision at Wilder Sensing: what if, by harnessing the power of modern technology, we were able to monitor birds and other animal population species across the entire UK, year on year. What sort of questions would we be able to ask this enormous dataset? What facinating new discoveries would we be able to uncover on animal behaviour and, most importantly, what would we be able to learn about the progressive degradation of our ecosystem?

This is Wilder Sensing in a nutshell: a web based Software as a Service solution, designed to streamline the aquisition and processing of bioacoustic data on a global scale. Empowered by modern ML and AI, we can generate real insights on how the ecosystem around us is changing. It is designed to enable anyone, from investors to land managers, ecologists, amateurs and scientists, to gain a birds eye view of an entire ecosystem, while still being able to drill down into the single daily bird call.

We believe that if we, our modern society, really want to learn how to live in harmony with nature, this is the right path forward: by an honest and open minded look at the facts and data driven decision making.

A special thanks to EthosVO

At the start of the project, EthosVO were instrumental in helping get this off the ground. EthosVO supported the project from the start, provided invaluable support throught their young leaders network, as well as making the launch of Wilder Sensing at Windsor Castle in March 2022 a real success.

Ethos is a social and environmental incubator set up some 12 years ago by the brilliant Rob PyeTony Clark and Annabelle Lambert. They have pulled together an incredibly diverse group of amazing people – just look at the website to get a sense of what they achieved.

Going from a very nascent idea to where Wilder Sensing is today wouldn’t have been possible without their support, encouragement and access to the brilliant network they introduced me to.