Varsha Rao is the proud mother of James Poetzscher, a talented young man who is already working towards a better future for everyone by doing his part in tackling climate change. James took an interest in atmospheric chemistry and the use of satellite data to for tracking and analysis when he was just 14 years old. He consequently launched a website that displays valuable information about gases and pollutants. James also began working with the European Environmental Bureau to create maps that track the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on air pollution around the world. James’s maps have been featured in several popular media outlets, including The Independent, Reuters, and The Telegraph.

James Poetzscher Delves Deeper into Climate Change

James pursued his passion for satellites and climate change by conducting thorough research. He spent months studying the various satellites orbiting the earth and learning about the roles they play in tracking atmospheric gases. As part of his explorative journey, James worked as an intern at the Lynk Global satellite company for six weeks. During this time, he programmed an iOS app, which enables users to track satellites. This experience proved to be invaluable to him in advance of his next ventures—building the Greenhouse Maps site to clearly display pollutants around the world and writing research papers on his findings.

screenshot from https://epha.org/air-pollution-clears-in-cities-globally-maps/

Conducting Studies for a Better Future

One of the most recent research papers written by James Poetzscher was published by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Advanced Study of India in May 2020. The article detailed the decline of air pollution levels over India during the Covid-19 lockdown. Through his research, James revealed dangerously high levels of atmospheric pollution prior to novel-coronavirus-related lockdowns and the stark reality that these levels will likely return once restrictions are lifted. James Poetzscher’s research also ironically demonstrated how a respiratory virus could highlight another respiratory crisis. Varsha Rao hopes that the work James is doing will help countries like India realize the importance of using the temporary decline in air pollution as inspiration to make more permanent changes.

Combating Covid-19 with Chess

In addition to his extensive work mapping greenhouse gases, James is also making a creative contribution to the fight against Covid-19 by playing chess. James co-founded an organization called Checkmate COVID with two friends from school, Jack Jacobson and Felix Kaye. Checkmate COVID hosts online chess tournaments to raise funds for coronavirus relief efforts. The winner of each tournament chooses a coronavirus-related charity to which they donate their winnings. Checkmate COVID is not only providing aid to people suffering from coronavirus-related hardships but also raising awareness of food insecurity and the devastating economic impact the virus has had on the world.

James Poetzscher’s work in tackling climate change and Covid-19, two of the world’s most pressing issues, shows that individuals of any age can make real positive impact on the world.

screenshot from https://epha.org/air-pollution-clears-in-cities-globally-maps/