Lucas Joppa is a deeply curious person, which he attributes to having been raised by a family that valued curiosity and debate. It is his sense of curiosity and willingness to explore the unknown that led him to join the Peace Corps after college. This experience ignited his passion to answer the question, “How do we help people understand the natural world?” which is his north star as Chief Environmental Officer at Microsoft.
This question is particularly pertinent to reflect on in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic, which many experts have said is a consequence of the human disruption of Earth’s natural systems. Despite all of the economic peril, there have been many benefits of coronavirus for the environment.
Lucas and his middle school sweetheart and now wife were about to graduate college when they decided to apply for the Peace Corps. They were placed in a country called Malawi, a small country in southeastern Africa, exactly where they requested NOT to be placed. But it ended up being the most transformative experience of his life.
What Lucas learned is that the way he views the world isn’t necessarily the only way someone can view the world. In his role at Microsoft, he knows that not everyone is living the same reality all over the world, and that environmental technology that would be effective and feasible in one country, may not be so in another.
His work with Microsoft involves running a program called AI For Earth, which is specifically dedicated to deploying Microsoft's over 35 years of research and engineering in the field of artificial intelligence in four areas: agriculture, water, biodiversity, and climate change. It’s an ambitious mandate to fundamentally change the way human society monitors models and then ultimately manages Earth's natural systems.
In this episode of Stories of Transformation, you’ll learn what you can do as an individual to contribute to solving the global issues we face today.
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