Dr Mukesh Kwatra, Founder, SmilingTree

Dr Mukesh Kwatra is an environmentalist. He is an alumnus of Sri Ram College of Commerce and a PhD in Environmental Entrepreneurship from Ecole Superieure Robert de Sorbon, France. He is the founder of the green initiative ‘SmilingTree’. He is also the author of a book titled ‘Awakening- Sailing through the Pandemic, 2020’. His writings and work, like his thoughts, are spontaneous and honest.


With Earth being in the middle of the climate crisis, there have been talks about the ways to save our planet over the past few years. Here a technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to achieve this.

AI was valued at USD $62.3 billion in 2020, growing with a CAGR of 40.2% it is expected to value USD $997.77 billion by 2028. This machine learning-driven platform aids in identifying patterns using huge chunks of data. The respondents involved in AI projects state that in the next 3 to 5 years AI-enabled medical devices are predicted to reduce average global emissions by 18.3%. As per reports AI-enabled use cases have the potential to reduce EEI (Economic Emissions Intensity) i.e., the total number of greenhouse gas emissions for every unit of GDP fr9m 11 to 45% by 2030.
AI applications are used for battling climate change, for conservation of freshwater bodies, for energy management, waste management, natural resource conservation, wildlife protection and a lot more. Following are some of the ways AI helps save our planet.

Fighting Climate Change

Climate change is the biggest threat to Earth. By 2100, rising sea levels are projected to wipe out $14t per year from the global economy, upending business and infrastructure while endangering the lives of humans, plants and animals.

Al is used to analyzing satellite data for mapping ice surfaces, tracking how they change over time. Satellites and drones are used to explore the cryosphere, and algorithms are trained to parse data to create a precise picture of each unique ice surface and determine its melting rate. Building monitoring tools and predicting melt into the future requires cutting edge technology and AI tools. Without it, there would be large uncertainty on future predictions of glacier and ice sheet melting and sea-level rise.

Conservation of Fresh Water Bodies

AI technology such as satellite remote sensing can help us to monitor, map and potentially predict when and where algae blooms will occur. The formation of harmful algae blooms is slowly decreasing the quality of freshwater bodies worldwide. These toxic overgrowths can have negative impacts on fisheries and tourism industries, and be harmful to people and animals.

Soil Conservation

Soil degradation is one of the rapidly growing issues causing a huge amount of stress to the farmers as it takes a longer period of time for generating just 3 centimetres of topsoil and the rapidly increasing soil degradation causes huge havoc.

The use of AI technology could help the problem of rapidly increasing soil degradation as it helps to marsh the land by using complex algorithms with the help of robots and drones to monitor the soil health as well as to detect erosion.

Forecasting natural disasters

Fire detectors built with AI technology help send warnings to the foresters by detecting smoke or by keeping an eye on infrared thermal data.
With the help of analysing real-time data and simulation of weather and climate events, AI helps in determining strategy, seeking solutions to vulnerable problems, providing response through emergency information capabilities and more.

Air Pollution Detection

AI-enabled technology helps the planet by measuring and identifying air quality and sources of pollution.

The use of AI will help air quality experts to identify and respond to accidental emissions quickly and more easily. Apart from this, predicting mortality rates, creating emission maps, and evaluating financial costs for emergency responses will become easier than ever.

Since automobile vehicles are a huge source of generating air pollution enabling AI-based vehicles will help to reduce oil consumption and decline greenhouse gas by 2% to 4 % annually. AI system-based vehicles are predicted to reduce travel time by 25% and idling time by 40%.

Smart agriculture and food systems

The global AI in the agriculture market was valued at around USD $1.1 billion in 2019 and is estimated to grow and value more than USD $3.8 billion by 2024. AI enables smart agriculture and creates smart food systems as the use of AI-augmented machines use robots for corrective actions like early detection of crop issues and diseases while it also helps in the decision-making process.
Field farming using AI itself has a market share of 60%. The use of AI will help in the protection of our planet as it provides the experts with timed nutrition to livestock also suggests returns and inputs monitoring the demand and supply of goods.

AI increases the capacity to hold climatic extremes while also increasing the resource efficiency of the agricultural industry as AI reduces the damage to the ecosystem by cutting down the use of fertilizers, water and pesticides.

Reducing food waste

Food wastage has a huge toll on the food chain market and creates environmental issues as these food wastes produce greenhouse gas and carbon dioxide which are harmful to the environment.

AI has the potential to enable environmental sustainability. AI techniques can change how the world works by optimizing efficiency, increasing productivity and helping in reducing carbon footprints. As with all complex global challenges, there is no silver bullet. AI technological revolution must work towards tackling the environmental issues and healthier green Earth.

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