Eric Dinerstein on Going Green

Dylan Welch, host of Going Green, interviews Resolve founder Eric Dinerstein.

Eric Dinerstein, founder of Resolve, was a recent guest on Going Green, a television show airing on Amazon Prime that features top climate change experts and environmental scientists. Check out the interview below. Please note, the captioning was provided by a third party, so please excuse any typos.

Dylan Welch
Welcome back to Going Green. I’m your host Dylan Welch. We have an amazing guest on the show. Truly the embodiment of going green. He is an animal conservation expert. Eric Dinerstein of Resolve.

Dylan Welch
Eric, thank you so much for being on the show today.

Eric Dinerstein
Thanks for inviting me. It’s really a pleasure to be here.

Dylan Welch
Yeah, we love having you on. So tell us a little bit about what you’re doing at Resolve.

Eric Dinerstein
Resolve is a small NGO in Washington DC that tackle some of the biggest challenges out there. In our case in particular, it’s been how to save wildlife around the world from the scorge. That is the, the poaching epidemic that’s going on in essentially every continent.

Dylan Welch
What trends are you seeing with the poaching? Obviously it’s a huge issue. Is it getting better? Is it getting worse? What actions are being taken to hopefully resolve this, this huge issue that we’re facing?

Eric Dinerstein
It’s really a crisis situation. So it’s estimated that one African elephant is killed every 15 minutes. That’s 96,000 a year, and most of it’s in the Congo Basin. So at that rate, some people estimate that elephants, the forest elephants of the Congo basin could go extinct within a decade. Uh, similar poaching pressure onto Bush elephants on rhinos, on tigers. So there really is a crisis.

Dylan Welch
How are you utilizing technology to fight this as well as build up the sustainable world?

Eric Dinerstein
That’s a great question. You know, unfortunately wildlife science and conservation has been mired, I would say in the previous century, in terms of the technology we’ve been using, it hasn’t changed very much. But now with the onset of artificial intelligence, we’re really poised to jump into the 21st century in a big way. Actually, thanks to our collaboration with the Intel Corporation.

Dylan Welch
So Intel is one of your partners. I know you’ve got some pretty interesting, exciting partnerships that you’re working with. Can you tell us a little bit about those?

Eric Dinerstein
Sure. Very early on, uh, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation with him rise, I serve as a science advisor as well. I’ve got wind of our project are, we introduced it to them and they thought, oh, what a great idea for trying to combat poaching by bringing um, near real time connectivity to tiny hidden cameras. Let’s go for it. And then that attracted the interest of national geographic with whom we are actually co branding our new invention, trio guard Ai. But really it’s, it’s the engineering help and the access to a tiny chip, the size, your pinky fingernail called the movidius myriad to vision processing unit. Very long name for a very tiny chip. But this able, that actually has 14 microprocessors on it, it’s able to run a detection algorithms of humans or animals on the edge on the chip itself rather than in the cloud. And that’s, that’s a phenomenal game changer for us.

Dylan Welch
So we’re going to touch on the technology. But real quick, what’s been the highlight of working with the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and National Geographic for you?

Eric Dinerstein
Well, I think that having great partners who are completely in tune with what our mission is to save wildlife and to spread this to as many parks as we can. There are about 250,000 and terrestrial parks in the world and it’s estimated that about 80,000 of those are under major threat. And so clearly a small NGO like us can’t do that much. But when we have partners like the Dicaprio Foundation or National Geographic that have tremendous reach, then we have the biggest megaphones out there to help promote this technology.

Dylan Welch
So what steps is result taking to ultimately and poaching?

Eric Dinerstein
Well, the, the first is that once we can take this to scale, we hope to be in a hundred of the most iconic parks in Africa by the middle of 2020 and that involves partnerships with lots of local groups working in these parks to provide the technology and put it in the right places. But it’s our idea that if we can get it to these key parks and identify the most important poaching, transit use transit routes, then we can be able to, uh, stop the poaching and the key to our technology really. And in fact our, our mantra is to stop poachers before they kill. Now there, there is technology out there that uh, such as DNA analysis or isotope analysis of elephant ivory where you can track back where those elephants with the source of that Ip, where those elephants were poached and put more protection in those places or they’re sniffer dogs. Um, that imports can detect contraband being smuggled out of the African countries or there’s gunshot detectors. Well, you can, you get the gist of this is all of those operate after the animals are dead. What we need is a technology that can stop the poachers before they even get into the parks. So that’s what trail guard AI is all about.

Dylan Welch
You guys are seriously doing some amazing things. What can the average person do to one help out resolve as well as just be more educated about this issue that we’re facing?

Eric Dinerstein
I think certainly support groups like resolve and National Geographic and the DiCaprio foundation that are really leading the way and trying to find a solution here and help us scale this as fast as possible. We’re, we’re trying to make trail guard AI so cheap that it becomes, um, not a serious question whether even the most, uh, we’ll budget parks can afford these. And so I think that there’s a real opportunity for people to get involved, you know, pick apart a sponsor trail barn in that park sponsor anti poaching efforts. We don’t have much time, but we can see the remarkable turnaround that these wildlife populations make as soon as they’re given a little bit of protection. So that, that would be the first thing I’d say. And then second would be just to make yourself more educated about the problem. And uh, there’s things we can do right in your congressman, writing your senators to pass stronger legislation to protect wildlife and then trying to do all that we can together to try to reduce the demand as well.

Dylan Welch
You’re doing so much amazing stuff. And on top of being a scientist, you’re also an author, correct?

Eric Dinerstein
Uh, on the side a hobby? Yes. Yes.

Dylan Welch
So you had a book coming out with Disney?

Eric Dinerstein
Yes. Uh, artist just have it up here. It’s called a circle of elephants and it’s the second novel in a, in a series a in a trilogy. The first was called white elephants know that came out three years ago, published by Disney. And I’m very fortunate that I have quotes from Jane Goodall, AH, both of those on the covers of those that are heartfelt. Uh, it’s really my attempt to try and reach kids who are going to inherit this world and hopefully it won’t be impoverished. You’ll still be flourishing, elephant populations and rhinos and tigers and other wildlife. And this is a way of trying to reach younger audiences. I was told by the, uh, ahead of a major conservation organization in India and just novel it takes place in the country of Nepal where I worked through for many years and lived there for eight years. Uh, and it’s about this young elephant driver and this novel particularly who tries to save his reserve from poachers who are trying to kill the elephants and the rhinos. That half the population of India is under 25 and if we can’t reach them, what effort are they going to make to try to protect the parks and the wildlife in it that we work so hard to try to establish. So reaching the younger generation is something that I’m also really excited about doing

Dylan Welch
well. Hopefully we can reach this younger generation and by the time that they are my age or your age, that stat you mentioned before, one elephant in every 15 minutes will be a thing of the past. So thank you so much for coming on the show.

Eric Dinerstein
Thanks so much for having me

Dylan Welch
We’ll be right back with more Going Green.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s