Did you know that in Namibia, Africa – 25 million acres of land are choked by invasive thorn bushes, which then make agriculture impossible and alter the water cycle thereby threatening life for humans and animals, like the cheetah? And did you know that in Peru, 6.5 million people live in remote villages without access to electricity where extending the power grid is nearly impossible? And did you know that agriculture is the world’s second largest industrial source of greenhouse gas emissions largely due to the nitrous oxide from fertilizers?Meet Dr. Laurie Barker, the founder of the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Dr Marker set out to handle the agricultural challenge in Namibia and built a business so save the grassland savannas. As a result, Intel Chairman Craig Barrett awarded Dr. Marker with a $50,000 prize in recognition of her efforts. The Cheetah Conservation Fund harvests invasive plant species and converts them into clean-burning, environmentally friendly fuel logs called “Bushblok”. Last week I had the opportunity to hear about these global issues, and many more, at the annual Tech Awards hosted in San Jose, California. This event draws Silicon Valley business leaders and news media alike. The Tech Awards – a program of the San Jose Tech Museum – recognizes global innovators who use technology to benefit humanity and address many challenges such as the ones I described above. There are five award categories: Environment, Economic Development, Education, Equality and Health. Intel is the proud sponsor of the Environment Award and I was so delighted to meet the creative and passionate individuals such as Dr. Marker, as well as Eric Rey from Arcadia Biosciences, Javier Coello from Practical Action, Andy Schroeter from Sunalbob Renewable Energy and Dr. Georg Gruber from Vereinigte Werkstatten fur Pflanzenol-technologie. To read more about the other Laureates of The Tech Awards – visit their website and also check out some of the amazing video footage. The Tech Awards also recognizes an annual Global Humanitarian and its nice to see Intel’s roots and heritage in this award. In 2007, Intel founder Gordon Moore was the recipient. This year the award went to Professor Muhammad Yunus who imagined a world without poverty and then helped more than seven million of the world’s poorest people through the Grameen Bank. During his keynote speech, Yunus challenged Silicon Valley to inspire action which would make poverty only something to be found as a historical relic in a musuem. Professor Yunus also mentioned Craig Barrett and the IT social business that they both announced earlier this year. A really wonderful night – and a reminder of why I am proud to be an employee of Intel. Congratulations to all of the Laureates.
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