On April 24, 2024, the annual Swissnex Day took place on Gurten, near Bern (https://swissnex.org/event/swissnex-day-2024). Researchers, innovators, artists, and diplomats gathered to discuss the theme of “Planetary Thinking.” Thomas Stocker, climatologist from the University of Bern asserted that the fourth industrial revolution should focus on decarbonization, with Switzerland playing a pivotal role. Khalil Berro, Swiss artist analyzed air currents, revealing that the air we breathed on Gurten that day had originated from Amazonia just four days prior. Adil Najam, WWF-president, stressed the urgency of ambitious climate action goals. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza, head of the land systems and sustainable land unit at the University Bern, presented the SUSTAINFORESTS initiative, emphasizing the importance of involving local stakeholders in protecting tropical rainforests. Jonas Brunschwig, CEO of Swissnex hub India, proposed assigning unique digital identifiers to elephants, enabling them to earn credits for their ecosystem services like weeding, seed distribution, and maintaining ecosystem integrity. These credits could potentially grant non-human entities land rights, reducing conflicts between humans and wildlife. The event facilitated a vibrant exchange of innovative and inspiring ideas to address the challenges facing humanity.

Prof. Dr. Chinwe Ifejika Speranza presenting at hte Swissnex meeting.

Visitors also had the opportunity to virtually explore the Hlanzoun swamp forests of Benin. Using data captured by terrestrial laser scanners, attendees could experience 3D point clouds through virtual reality goggles. Many enjoyed navigating the virtual forests without the risk of mosquito or snake bites.