There’s no better time to reflect on the accomplishments, and lessons learned in the past 365 days than in the last week of the year! Among a myriad of other things that I experienced in 2018, something that I felt really good about was giving both an active indirect and direct contribution towards tackling Climate Change. In this blog post I aim to visualize data sets that have the potential to influence the readers to in turn take direct and/or indirect #ClimateAction in the new year.
A big part of my current role is to help the GE Renewables business digitize their financial processes, define a multi-year data strategy and growth plan in the Finance Enterprise Performance Management space with the goal of shaping a business that will bring the most value to our customers in the renewable energy space. This is what I call indirect #ClimateAction and it’s a great incentive to wake up every day and give it your best at work!
In 2018 I also joined fabe: for all a beautiful earth, a non-profit with a worthy and ambitious goal: sustainable living made fun with an iOS and Android app (in development) – reduce consumption by joining efforts with a global climate action movement of millions of people. We are all tech professionals, volunteering our time and skills to create a platform where other fellow humans can directly and meaningfully engage in #ClimateAction.
As I stated in one of my previous blog posts, along with other #orclBI and #dataViz enthusiasts, in 2019 I hope to use Oracle DV to harness the power of data visualization for social change, empower nonprofits like fabe: for all a beautiful earth through data stories with the goal of influencing others to reduce consumption on an individual level as that is the most important step towards healing our planet, and creating a sustainable world.
I recently published my first #MakeoverMonday data visualization, and while browsing through the community’s 2018 data sets, I decided to create a visual data driven #ClimateAction story line based on four distinct data sets. Along the way, I also aim to share a few quick Oracle DV tech tips.
1. Bee Population in the Decline
Bees are responsible for pollinating one third of the global food supply, but their numbers have been in decline. Bees are in trouble, and climate change is one of the culprits. As you’ll see from the below visualization over the past few years the bee colonies in the U.S. have been declining.
Even though not in direct correlation, another reason of the bee population decline is the decline in the number of beekeepers in the U.S. In the map visualizations you will see the density of the number of beekeepers compared to the number of bee colonies. Even though overall there’s a need for more beekeepers, in some states especially the demand is higher.
- Data.World Data Set: 2018/Week 18
- Full Article: Bee Colony Loss in the United States
- Data Source: BeeInformed, Honey Bee Colonies
Apart from the Oracle DV tip above, let me share an important bee initiative where Oracle DV will be used to analyze and visualize the collected insights. As quoted from the Oracle website:
“To help conserve the honey bee population, Oracle has announced that it is collaborating with the World Bee Project to create ‘The World Bee Project Hive Network’. This is the world’s first network of connected smart hives that will use cutting edge technology to help conserve honey bees.
The World Bee Project Hive Network will remotely collect data using a network of connected beehives. The data will then be fed into Oracle’s Cloud, which will use analytics tools including artificial intelligence (AI) and data visualization, to give researchers new insights into the relationships between honey bees and their environments.”
2. Arctic Sea Ice Shrinking
The melting of the Arctic sea ice is one of the most prominent indicators of climate change. If we could only cut our greenhouse gas production, we would be able to revert the state of the Arctic… It seems “mission impossible”, until we understand that consumerism and our individual over-consumption habits are the main reasons behind climate change. If only all 7.5 billion of us would wake up one day, why not Jan 1st. 2019 🙂 and decide to consume only what we need, and not everything that we can afford. That would be a very sustainable solution to healing our planet, if only…
In the below visualizations I have depicted in icy pale blue the years where the ice surface area was higher. As we progress through the past two decades the color changes to a darker ocean blue, representing the melting ice mass. That visual effect looks similar to what’s happening in reality as you can see in the two images on the top.
As I commented in one of my previous blog posts: “Adding Emotion to the Data: When One Visualization Feels Like ‘1000’ Stories“, displaying a real world image representation of the data set, would make the viewer prone to feeling an enriched emotional experience of the message that we are aiming to convey through the data set visualization.
In a stand-alone visualization, you would just see the facts. Paired with the contrasting images of how the Arctic Ice has shrinked in between only two data points (years), you would most likely experience what you’re seeing with some bonus emotions. Once the data and the view of reality overwhelm your visual sense of understanding you would hopefully be more prone to acting upon what you’re seeing. No matter how you visualize the data, the ice is melting… We individually can take direct action and do something about it!
- Data.World Data Set: 2018/Week 15
- Full Article: Arctic Sea Ice Extent
- Data Source: National Snow & Ice Data Center
- NASA Image: NASA Releases Time-Lapse Of the Disappearing Arctic Polar Ice Cap
3. Environmental Impacts of Meat Consumption Trends in the U.S.
To create the following visualizations I used two different data sets. (scroll further to see the sources) In the first chart you can see the U.S. meat consumption trends per capita in the past two decades. Meat consumption is clearly on the rise. The good news is that red meat consumption is decreasing while poultry consumption is increasing. To understand why that last statement is good news, take a look at the second visualization.
For all environmental indicators and nutritional units examined, plant-based foods have the lowest environmental impacts; eggs, dairy, pork, poultry, non-trawling fisheries, and non-recirculating aquaculture have intermediate impacts; and ruminant meat has impacts ~100 times those of plant-based foods…
Do you know the real cost of a steak? Not the dollars to buy one, but rather the environmental cost of creating it? With global meat consumption on the rise, how do all the costs add up? Check out this inhabitat info-graphic to get the full picture.
- Data.World Data Set: 2018/Week 1
- Full Article: U.S. Per Capita Consumption of Poultry and Livestock
- Data Source: National Chicken Council
- Data.World Data Set: 2018/Week 50
- Full Article: Comparative analysis of environmental impacts of agricultural production systems, agricultural input efficiency, and food choice
- Data Source: Our World in Data
Oracle DV Tip 3: Using a Combo visualization to represent different data groupings in the same chart.
Quoting from a recent article on The Economist : “Being so land hungry means cattle farming changes the climate; clearing land for pasture creates greenhouse gases. On top of that, the bugs in ruminant digestive systems produce methane, a fairly powerful greenhouse gas. Once it gets out of the cows—by belching, mainly, not, as is commonly thought, farting—this warms the world.
The FAO calculates that cattle generate up to two-thirds of the greenhouse gases from livestock, and are the world’s fifth largest source of methane. If cows were a country, the United Herds of Earth would be the planet’s third largest greenhouse-gas emitter.
If America got the protein from plants in the first place, it would be equivalent to increasing the food supply by a third—or eliminating all of the losses due to food waste.”
The ideal solution would be for all humans to turn into vegans or vegetarians starting Jan. 1st 2019. Since that is not humanly possible, what we can do is make a conscious effort to consume red meat less often, replace it with more fish or poultry instead, and why not have some more lentils, and broccoli more frequently 🙂
Do Millennials See Climate Change as More Than Just A Meme?
The name of this blog is Data Restless Millennials, so I was naturally curious to see if my generation would be more active in tackling climate change in an individual level. Unfortunately, an analysis of 2009-2010 survey data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication concluded that millennials are equally pessimistic as are other generations that we will address climate change.
That doesn’t have to be the case! I hope that the visual display of the above real world data sets did influence you to commit to some level of #ClimateAction in the new year.
Can Techies Save the Planet? We @fabe do think so!
Here’s to creating positive and sustainable change in the world in 2019!
Sr. Technical Product Manager
Finance EPM at General Electric
ODTUG Board of Directors
fabe Digital Marketing Manager