Curious Planeteer working to make the Earth's changes visible, accessible and actionable.

A Week in Davos


Last week I attended the World Economic Forum’s annual summit in Davos, Switzerland as a member of the Forum’s 2016 class of Young Global Leaders. At Planet we seek to use space to help life on Earth, and we’ve long been interested in space technology’s role in helping us better understand and care for our planet. I went to Davos with a few goals. Firstly, learning from (and contributing to) discussions on how technology such as Planet’s can be used by society to achieve the UN’s global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For this, I moderated a couple panels, including: “The future of space technology & how should business, government and civil society prepare for such a future?” with Airbus Defense and Space CEO, Dirk Hoke; and on the “Use of Satellites to Track Refugees” with the head of the International Organization on Migration, William Swing. I also brought up the technology and its implications in various other sessions.

Secondly, I went to meet with various government agencies, companies, NGOs, researchers and think tanks that can employ frequent satellite imagery data to achieve their humanitarian and commercial objectives. From meetings with the Canadian Minister of Environment to the head of Human Rights Watch, I sought to forge partnerships where satellite data could help the SDGs.

At the end of my week in the Alps, I am hopeful that—despite the sustainability challenges that we face on Earth—the wicked, new technologies that are coming down the pipe, like Planet’s, can usher in a level of global transparency that will be able to change how we care for the planet at a global scale.

I’ll leave you with a few time-lapses of imagery we put together in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, to share at Davos.

The white tents of displaced persons camps multiply over the course of a few months outside of Mosul, Iraq.

Sugarcane plantations rapidly expand in Northern Bolivia. Read more about the plantation.

The black smoke of burning oil wells changes direction with the wind over a 6-month period. Learn more about the wells.