Beth Tellman

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Beth Tellman

2016 Climate Fellow
Founder of Cloud To Street with Bessie Schwarz

Beth Tellman 2016 Climate Fellow

Bold Idea 

Increase climate resilience for communities at greatest risk for flooding by delivering flood-risk maps created from global satellite imagery, social media intelligence, and cloud-computing.

Multimedia 

Beth Tellman shares her approach to vulnerability with activists and residents in Mathare, Kenya’s second largest slum. Photo courtesy of Bessie Schwarz.

Summary 

Cloud To Street dynamically identifies the 100-year floodplain for any community around the world within seconds and predicts who is most likely to be affected by it. Combining machine learning, satellite imagery, crowd-sourced science, citizen engagement, and new data platforms like the Google Earth Engine, Cloud To Street conducts faster, cheaper, and more integrated vulnerability assessments for flood-prone areas. Already running in the United States, Senegal, and India with support from the World Bank, the organization’s assessments are developed in collaboration with those at risk on the ground. This people-centered approach transforms technical information into an equitable force for change and actionable climate resilience.

Experience 

Beth Tellman is co-founder and lead biophysical scientist at Cloud To Street. Beth is dedicated to the cutting-edge science required to make social and biophysical drivers of global environmental change transparent. Cloud To Street aims to empower the communities she maps and models to use data to challenge the climate and other injustices that define the contours of their vulnerability. Her passion for the topic comes from doing disaster relief and resilience building in El Salvador, where she co-founded an NGO, the CEIBA Foundation for Tropical Education, with community leaders there during her Fulbright scholarship in 2009. She is a PhD student at Arizona State University studying human-flood interactions from local to global scales, with an emphasis on Latin American cities. Beth holds a master’s in environmental science from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and a BS from Santa Clara University in environmental studies and sustainable globalization. Beth is an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. She has published in a variety of academic journals and policy-oriented outlets with SNAP magazine and the United Nations.

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