Data has replaced oil as the world’s most valuable resource. But increasingly, our data is stored remotely “in the cloud” and climate change — challenging the resilience of the internet — puts access to our data at risk.
Urban planner Duane Verner learned just how vulnerable our data are in the climate-changing world.
When the COVID-19 pandemic closed his office in Lemont, Illinois, in March 2019, Verner was fortunate to already be working from home.
Unfortunately, what was not working was his internet connection.
“I had horrible issues with reliability with my own internet at my own house,” Verner recalled. “We spent countless hours with support people.”
Finally, he said, a senior technician was able to diagnose the problem: it was flooding. Unusually heavy winter snow, ice and spring rains disrupted the fiber optic box on his street, which connected Verner and his neighbors to the internet.