- Issue: Summer 2018
You’ve made conservation your career. How did that happen?
I’ve worked in the tech industry ever since graduating from college. After spending years working on software and doing environmental projects on the side, I took a five-month sabbatical from Google in 2012. That’s when I decided to focus 100% of my energy on conservation issues. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Now, I get to help the planet every day. As captain for earthly elements at Google, I manage the environmental sustainability of the company’s data centers, which house the computers that bring you Google Search results, show you YouTube videos, and deliver your Gmail messages.
What are you doing to help protect wildlife?
I’m working with one of Google’s big data experts on an effort to use Google Search data to predict animal species at risk of becoming endangered due to consumer demand. There are billions of Google searches every day, so Google Trends provides a good pulse on consumer trends. We believe it is much more effective to detect and stop an increase in consumer demand early on, rather than later when demand has reached the mainstream.
Why do you support WWF?
WWF stands out for its willingness to partner with the private sector and advance conservation solutions on a global scale—and for its openness to using innovative technology. In fact, WWF hosted a Wild Side of Tech expo at Google’s headquarters in 2017 that showcased, among other things, how thermal cameras and unmanned aerial vehicles can help catch poachers. The audience was so energized about what these technologies could mean for the future of our planet. I’m excited to see what comes next.