GLOBE Side Navigation

GLOBE Implementation Office Director Dr. Tony Murphy Presents Special TEDx Talk “GLOBE Community Initiatives”

Dr. Tony Murphy on stage for the TEDx Talk in Ireland

In a recent TEDx Talk, “GLOBE Community Initiatives,” GLOBE Implementation Office (GIO) Director Dr. Tony Murphy discusses the scientific, educational, research, environmental and inspirational impacts of The GLOBE Program.

TEDx is a grassroots effort, created in line with TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” According to the TEDx Program, TEDx are independent events organized by individuals who seek to uncover new ideas and to share the latest research in their local areas that spark conversations in their communities. 

Born in Killarney, Ireland – 20 miles from the TEDx stage in Tralee, Ireland – Dr. Murphy said he found great inspiration from the area’s natural beauty and historic sites. “That was the start of my interest in environmental science and research, and now, here I am, on the same stage in Tralee where one of the most famous NASA Astronauts, Neil Armstrong, spoke in April 1997. I am truly standing on the shoulders of a giant. And having the backdrop of the moon only adds to this connection.”

“I currently work with, and for, an amazing group of international colleagues, in an innovative and exciting, science and education program headed by NASA, called GLOBE,” Dr. Murphy said. “Across the seven continents, GLOBE students, teachers and citizen scientists take observations of their local environment using specific scientific protocols of measurement, spread across four areas or spheres: atmosphere (air), biosphere (life), hydrosphere (water) and pedosphere (soils).”

“This information is entered into a database that currently has over 230 million entries, accessible by anyone, anywhere, including YOU, that wants to understand their local and regional environment in a Global context.”

“In 2016 the program released an app, called GLOBE Observer. Now citizen scientists of all ages and all over the world are getting involved in GLOBE data collection and reporting measurements of Cloud Cover, Mosquito Breeding Sites, Tree Height and Land Cover,” Dr. Murphy said. “You too can become part of our worldwide community by downloading The GLOBE Program’s app, GLOBE Observer. It’s fun and it’s easy to do and you can contribute this important data for environmental science. The one caveat; you need to be in a GLOBE Country to download the app and enter measurements.”

Dr. Tony Murphy on stage for the TEDx Talk in Ireland

In the presentation, Dr. Murphy highlighted the connection between The GLOBE Program and its sponsor, NASA. “Perhaps you are surprised of NASA’s involvement and support of GLOBE. When you think of NASA you probably only imagine rockets, galaxies, deep space and reaching for the moon or the stars,” Dr. Murphy said. “NASA uses the vantage point of space to increase our understanding of our home planet. It monitors Earth’s vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns.”

“NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records, and freely shares this unique knowledge and works with institutions around the world.”

“While Earth Observing Satellites give us a big picture of what’s going on, they sometimes have trouble with the finer details. Satellites can only capture a top-down view of our planet. For example, conditions like clouds in a snow-filled area make it difficult for satellites to distinguish between what is a cloud and what is snow. But when you combine the top-down view of satellites with the ground-up observations of our GLOBE students and citizen scientists, we get a more detailed and accurate view of the actual conditions.”

“GLOBE’s other supporting agencies, the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the State Department, are united in the goal of helping us all better understand how the various elements of the Earth System influence weather, climate, food security, public safety. Just think about air quality, hurricanes, flooding, and drought and their impact on our society.”

“In the past 27 years, since the founding of The GLOBE Program on Earth Day 1995, GLOBE students and others have contributed over 230 million environmental measurements including rainfall, cloud cover, air and water quality, and land cover to a global database. I am talking, primarily, about students in middle school and high school or secondary school as we would say here! And I want to thank them for all their efforts in doing this.”

“Who knows who will be inspired to become a scientist, an engineer, or a doctor because of being involved in this worldwide program? Surely it is the duty and responsibility of the current generation to help, support and encourage the next generation in work towards minding and improving the ecosystem of the one and only precious home we have in this Solar System.”

“And how can you help as you leave here tonight?” Dr. Murphy asked. “Well, I know we are all busy, but I want to encourage you to take a little time each day to observe the natural influences around you and record them, not just for yourself but for the larger community and for your children and grandchildren.”

“Every time a person in a GLOBE country downloads the app and uses it to report data, the GLOBE community becomes even stronger. You are now part of us. By adding data to the database, you are adding your story to our understanding of the environment, and the changes both natural and human that can affect it.”

“I am often asked to evaluate the success of The GLOBE Program. The number of countries, schools, students, teachers, and measurements. Well, it’s all quantifiable… data driven! However, I believe there is something more to it than numbers, but perhaps less tangible. I believe the real strength of our program is, simply and truly, our global community – current and growing.”

“Everyone who has a desire to preserve what is good and beautiful about our planet. Everyone who commits to understanding what makes a healthy Earth system. Everyone willing to share their knowledge and expertise with others,” Dr. Murphy said.

“Through The GLOBE Program, we weave our knowledge of the natural world (based on facts learned through observation and experimentation) with the wisdom of many distinct cultures and find ourselves better equipped to address global issues than we could ever do alone.”

“The opportunity to spread information about GLOBE through a TEDx Talk is invaluable and a wonderful experience,” said Dr. Murphy. 

To watch the entire TEDx Talk, click here.


News origin: GLOBE Implementation Office


1 Comment

So proud of our Tony Murphy! This is truly an inspirational talk and one that I know brings a lot of pride to his home country of Ireland, as well as the rest of us involved in The GLOBE Program!