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Eric Berlow

Emerson Collective Fellowship

Making visible the hidden patterns of our world, for the benefit of people and the planet.

Headshot of Eric Berlow

In his work as an ecologist, Eric Berlow maps the relationships among species, revealing unexpected patterns that hold ecosystems together. As founding director of the University of California’s science institute in Yosemite National Park, he led a collaborative effort to build the first comprehensive geospatial database of every meadow, which informs efforts to protect species that depend on that critical mountain habitat. From alpine ecology, to adolescent mental health, his work makes invisible patterns visible, powering strategic decision making. He is CEO of Vibrant Data Labs, a social-impact, data-science company.

As an Emerson Collective Fellow, Berlow is building the Climate Finance Tracker. It synthesizes diverse funding data to create the first, up-to-date, open-source map of investments in climate-change efforts. The tracker will allow users to interact with data to see “big picture” trends, drill down to details, and conduct custom visual queries. 

The climate crisis is an “all hands on deck” problem. Yet, as Berlow puts it, “None of the hands can see what the others are doing.” Many efforts remain disjointed and siloed: Government, philanthropy, and private investment are unable to fully collaborate, even as this crisis requires deeply complementary solutions. The tracker will help key stakeholders to explore who is funding what across climate sectors; to find and convene collaborators; and to identify what types of capital would be most effective, and where.