World’s Freshwater Laboratory Launches New Project to Revolutionize How We Protect Canada’s Lakes
WINNIPEG, April 18, 2019—To mark this Monday’s Earth Day, the world’s freshwater laboratory is launching an unprecedented two-year project to determine how new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, can revolutionize how we protect the environment.
IISD Experimental Lakes Area (IISD-ELA), just four hours east of Winnipeg, will be taking its 51-year dataset—one of the longest and most comprehensive in the world—on the health and history of its lakes and using artificial intelligence to reframe how we understand the health of our environment, and come up with new solutions for its protection.
IISD-ELA’s new research will explore questions such as: how can artificial intelligence make collecting data on the health of a body of freshwater, such as Lake Winnipeg, easier and more accurate? What can new technologies teach us about the impact that climate change will have on our environment over the next 50 years? Could we ever have a “smart” system that warns the public of sewage spills in Winnipeg or zebra mussels on Lake Winnipeg in real time?
“IISD-ELA is a Canadian scientific treasure, and the only place is the world you can experiment on real lakes to truly see what human activity is doing to all aspects of fresh water life,” said Geoffrey Gunn, geographer, IISD Experimental Lakes Area.
“By taking new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, and applying their unique power to our data analysis and our research, we will advance understanding of how aquatic ecosystems respond to stress—everything from changing climate to pollution. This will inspire new technologies and strategies for protecting our freshwater ecosystems.”
This research is being made possible through a $500,000 funding grant from the RBC Foundation, allowing IISD Experimental Lakes Area to advance the role of new technologies and freshwater protection.
“At RBC we believe in the power of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence and blockchain to address and scale solutions to some of the most pressing environmental issues of our time,” said Valerie Chort, vice president, corporate citizenship, RBC. “We’re proud to be working alongside IISD Experimental Lakes Area to develop real-world solutions that advance the role of new technologies and freshwater protection.”
IISD Experimental Lakes Area is the world’s freshwater laboratory. A series of 58 lakes and their watersheds in northwestern Ontario, Canada, IISD-ELA is the only place in the world where scientists can research on and manipulate real lakes to build a more accurate and complete picture of what human activity is doing to freshwater lakes. The findings from its 50 years of ground-breaking research have rewritten environmental policy around the world—from mitigating algal blooms to reducing how much mercury gets into our waterways—and aim to keep fresh water clean around the world for generations to come.
For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact:
IISD Experimental Lakes Area
(204) 958 7700 ext. 740
The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to create a world where people and the planet thrive. Our mission is to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resources, and fair economies. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, the private sector, NGOs, and communities come together to share knowledge, commit to change, and build resilience. With offices in Geneva, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, our research spans the globe.
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