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The CrowdSolve


Alexander Dale
Senior Officer, Sustainability Community, MIT Solve

Here’s your 10 second reminder on what we know about climate change: It’s real. It’s us. Scientists agree. It’s bad. There’s hope
Climate is often an overwhelming topic. Two major reports in the last few months—the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°C and the US Fourth National Climate Assessment—point to large impacts on people and their livelihoods. The reports also highlight a need to make drastic changes in a short timeframe. This got translated as “12 years left to stop climate change!” in media coverage, but the truth is both more troubling and perhaps more empowering. 
What we need to do is to halve our emissions every decade, reaching zero by 2050—sooner if possible. That probably still won’t get us to a 1.5°C target, but 1.8°C is far better than 2°. The mitigation and adaptation necessary to reach even 2°C are likely to be more disruptive than most of us can comprehend, but it’ll be easier if we act faster.

I recently hosted a lunch and learn discussion at Solve to talk about these complexities, which culminated with six day-to-day actions to lead a more sustainable lifestyle:

  1. Calculate your personal carbon footprint. I’m a fan of this calculator from Sitra in Finland.
  2. Decarbonize your electricity. You can do this in many places in an afternoon by changing electricity suppliers. Aim for plans that source zero-carbon power from your region. 
  3. Eat less meat, particularly beef. Start with one to two meat-free meals per week, find some new recipes, and be surprised at how easy it is to cut back. Read more
  4. Fly less, and be really intentional when you do. Weekend getaways or quick work trips make this culturally hard, but it is critical for those of us who are rich enough to regularly fly. You will not be alone, as hundreds of people are making pledges.
  5. Talk about climate change to people! You don't have to be an expert; follow Solve’s lead and have a lunch conversation. We know that most people care, but often feel uncomfortable raising that concern. 
  6. Send positive emails/phone calls to your local officials about bike lanes, better transit, denser zoning, etc. Local decisions shape land use and transportation, which are two huge drivers of carbon emissions. Officials hear from the angry opposed citizens, but not from those in quiet support—often the majority!
Learn more

Featured Solver

Apli (Vera Makarov, Co-CEO)

In Mexico, traditional employment—a six-day work week earning minimum wage—is often incompatible with student schedules and parent lives, and 30 million Mexicans have no alternative but to work in the informal economy. Meanwhile, companies battle 15 percent monthly staff turnover and 7 percent absenteeism in blue-collar positions.

Apli closes this gap by turning one employee’s missed workday into a temporary worker’s new assignment. Its AI-powered platform leverages data from thousands of work assignments and matches workers with opportunities suited to their skills and experience. This can scale to connect millions of people looking for flexible income sources.
Learn More

Words of Wisdom

“The best advice I’ve received is to know when to listen to advice, and when not to. If we listened to every piece of advice along the way, we would never have built anything. Striking this delicate balance between following advice and charting your own path is an art that we are still learning every day.” Read more

—Frank Ho, founder and CEO of AutoCognita (Solve Member)



| Did you catch Prince William’s interview with Sir David Attenborough at Davos? Attenborough deftly illustrates the problem that MIT Solver Marauder Robotics is tackling by restoring the ocean ecosystem balance in kelp forests in this video at 16:50.

| "From instilling ethics in tech, to using technology to support victims of sexual misconduct, these nonprofits are proving that tech can be a vehicle for positive change. We hope their leadership inspires others to build the tools we need for social change in 2019."
| Researchers have programmed a machine-learning algorithm to diagnose early-stage Alzheimer’s disease about six years before a clinical diagnosis is made, which could potentially help patients get the treatments they need sooner.
| MIT Solve has launched the 2019 Indigenous Communities Fellowship, which seeks solutions from tech entrepreneurs within the Oceti Sakowin, Navajo Nation, and Hopi Tribe communities that support economic development and resiliency.
| If the promise of artificial intelligence is to make systems smarter and more efficient, there may be no better candidate than the US criminal justice system.
MIT Solver Soko is leveraging a mobile-based supply chain to give artisans in Kenya access to the global fashion world.
"A new generation of female role models is emerging in tech and STEM careers, and we hope their increased visibility will help ensure that women have the tools they need to play an active role in Africa’s digital transformation."
According to the World Bank, one billion people globally are unable to prove their identity, which can exclude them from economic opportunities and access to vital services such as education and healthcare. The Mission Billion Challenge, launched by the World Bank’s Identification for Development (ID4D) initiative and powered by MIT Solve, calls for new ideas to tackle some of the toughest challenges around digital identification systems. Awards include cash prizes totaling US $100,000 with the top prize of US $50,000 for the most promising solutions. The application deadline is February 24. Learn more in this blog post by Makhtar Diop, Vice President for Infrastructure, World Bank.
Interested in learning more or have questions about the Mission Billion Challenge? Join ID4D and MIT Solve for one of the following webinars:


To help current and future Solver teams, donate to MIT Solve.
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