Press release -
Introducing the third finalist for the Children’s Climate Prize 2021 – Reshma Kosaraju from Saratoga, California, USA
Five finalists will be announced for the 2021 Children’s Climate Prize and a winner will be announced later in the year. The third finalist is Reshma Kosaraju, a 15 year-old from Saratoga, California, USA. In her project, AI against forest fires, Reshma uses AI technology to predict which areas can be affected by forest fires. According to several reports, there has been a major increase in forest fires globally, a trend that is only getting worse. The jury sees a young entrepreneur with solid research who is attempting to tackle a highly relevant subject such as forest fires, and find modern solutions.
Fires are a natural part of a forest’s ecosystem, but the underlying conditions have changed. Increasing global warming means drier and warmer conditions, thus making trees and other plants more flammable. Many forests around the world are now finding it difficult to adapt to this increase in temperature. In addition, longer fire seasons and periods of extreme fire hazard are becoming more common.
Fifteen-year-old Reshma Kosaraju lives in Saratoga, California, USA. In the western part of the country, the fire season has increased by more than 80 days in just 30 years. Current methods used for detecting fires are more often than not reactive, expensive and unreliable. Reshma wanted to do something about this and created an AI model using neural networks that can predict forest fires. With meteorological data such as temperature, relative humidity, wind speed and soil moisture, AI can calculate where a forest fire is most likely to occur. The calculations become very precise with use of time data such as weekday and month, as well as accounting for human behavior. Reshma has previously been recognized for her innovative solution and has also received several awards. She is delighted to be among this year’s finalists of the Children’s Climate Prize.
– I am very honored and humbled to have been selected as a finalist for the Children's Climate Prize. I think it's incredibly important that children have a voice and know they are capable of helping the environment in their own ways. The Children's Climate Prize gives young people the confidence and resources they need to develop and improve their solutions. Being named the winner would mean that the scientific community and the public at large believe that my project has the potential to have an immensely positive impact on the planet we all share, which would be even more of an honor, says Reshma Kosaraju
All data is easily obtained from automatic meteorological stations, which are located all over the world and continuously collect data. Current meteorological data can be entered into the user interface, which then produces real-time forecasting of the probability of a fire occurring at the specified location. Calculations for the future can also be made using weather forecasts. AI against forest fires can accurately predict nearly 90% of all forest fires and is already being applied by firefighters in deploying resources proactively and thus controlling fires more effectively. Reshma is now focused on further improving the user interface with the goal of introducing the AI model on the global stage.
AI against forest fires – Where technology predicts and limits the damage of forest fires
Reshma Kosaraju, 15-year-old from Saratoga, California, USA
The jury’s motivation:
Climate change and forest fires mutually reinforce each other and wildfires, today, are in many locations larger, more intense and longer lasting. Forest fires have increasingly become a global and topical issue. Reshma represents the best of youth entrepreneurship: brave, innovative and solution-oriented. Her model uses AI and technology in an innovative and savvy way in order to accurately predict the risk of forest fires while also accounting for the independent variables of climate, weather and human behavior. A clear and scalable business concept, with a global approach to accessibility. This is an example of an extraordinary and creative solution based on a systemized approach!
The Children’s Climate Prize is an international prize annually awarded to young people who have made extraordinary efforts for the climate and environment. The award and financial support are managed by the Children’s Climate Foundation, which was initiated by the award’s founder Telge Energi. Based on Telge Energi’s belief in young people’s ability to drive change in the world, the award is now a part of their ongoing work for sustainable development and production of renewable energy in Sweden. The winners of the prize are celebrated at an award ceremony in November each year and receive a diploma, medal and prize money of SEK 100,000 to continue developing their projects.