NEW YORK — This week, Fast Company announced National Audubon Society and Domino Data Lab as finalists in their 2020 ‘World Changing Ideas Awards,’ which elevate products and concepts that make the world better. Audubon’s Survival By Degrees: 389 Bird Species on the Brink climate change report and accompanying Birds and Climate Visualizer, a zip-code-based tool that localizes and personalizes the impact of climate change, earned the two organizations the accolade of finalists in Fast Company’s AI and Data category. Notable honorable mentions include Facebook, Intel and Google Creative Lab.
“How does a 115-year-old conservation nonprofit beat out Silicon Valley’s finest in a ‘World Changing Ideas’ contest? By embracing cutting-edge technology to create a personalized tool that takes a global threat like climate change and translates the impact down to the birds in your backyard—that’s how,” said David Yarnold (@david_yarnold), president and CEO of National Audubon Society.
“Anyone ranging from individual Audubon members to our nation’s leaders can easily see how climate change will impact the birds in their backyard thanks to partners like Domino Data Lab and Stamen Design.”
In Survival By Degrees, released in October 2019, Audubon scientists announced that two-thirds of North American bird species could go extinct this century if threats from climate change are not addressed. However, the report also shows that if we act quickly to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C, we can protect up to 76 percent of climate-vulnerable species.
“Audubon’s climate science is clear: Climate change is the greatest threat to birds. Fortunately, the science and birds tell us there is still time to get this right if we act now and demand action on climate change from our elected officials at every level of government,” said Chad Wilsey (@ChadBWilsey), interim chief scientist for National Audubon Society.
“Using Domino’s data science platform, we performed hundreds of thousands of large-scale analyses faster than ever that enabled Audubon to identify vital ways to protect birds and the places they need – that we all need – today and tomorrow.”
“It’s a privilege to be helping the National Audubon Society deliver breakthrough research that sheds new light on the impacts of climate change, an issue critical to all of us,” said Nick Elprin, CEO and founder of Domino Data Lab. “Domino helps hundreds of organizations accelerate their research, and we are always proud to see important results and discoveries come from data scientists’ hard work and creativity.”
Audubon scientists studied 604 North American bird species using 140 million bird records, including observational data from bird lovers and field biologists across the country. The report also surveyed climate-related impacts on birds across the lower 48 states, including sea level rise, Great Lakes level changes, urbanization, cropland expansion, drought, extreme spring heat, fire weather and heavy rain.
Audubon’s ZIP code-based tool, the Birds and Climate Visualizer, helps users understand the impacts to birds where they live, making climate change even more local, immediate and, for tens of millions of bird fans, deeply personal. The visualizer was developed by Stamen Design, which incorporated a massive dataset of 604 bird species, each with both winter and summer range maps under three different climate scenarios in the future. This totals more than 1000 layers of data in one visualization tool that can zoom out to the continent level and zoom in down to your ZIP code to make climate threats to birds all the more immediate and actionable.
Audubon has outlined key steps we can take to protect birds from climate change:
- Reduce your use of energy at home and ask your elected officials to support energy-saving policies that reduce the overall demand for electricity and that save consumers money.
- Ask your elected officials to build back better as part of the nation’s response to COVID-19 through job-creating investments in:
- consumer-driven clean energy development – like solar or wind power, and
- natural solutions, from restoring wetlands along coasts and rivers that absorb soaking rains to forests and grasslands that are homes to birds and serve as carbon storage banks, and planting native plants everywhere to help birds adapt to climate change.
Enter your ZIP code into Audubon’s Birds and Climate Visualizer to see how climate change will impact your birds, your community, and the ways you can help.
Audubon’s report is based on the 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report models for 1.5, 2.0 and 3.0 degrees C of global warming. At the highest warming scenario of 3.0 C, 305 bird species face three or more climate-related impacts.
Last year, Science published a study by a joint team of conservation biologists describing a grim picture: a steady decline of nearly three billion North American birds since 1970, primarily as a result of human activities. Climate change will further exacerbate the challenges birds are already facing from human activity.
In 2014, Audubon published its first Birds and Climate Change Report. The study showed that more than half of the bird species in North America could lose at least half of their current ranges by 2080 due to rising temperatures. Audubon’s new findings reflect an expanded and more precise data set, and indicate the dire situation for birds and the places they need will continue.
National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. Audubon works throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. State programs, nature centers, chapters, and partners give Audubon an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. A nonprofit conservation organization since 1905, Audubon believes in a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Learn more at www.audubon.org and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @audubonsociety.
Chandler Lennon, firstname.lastname@example.org, 804.832.0832