The STAR-TIDES Model of Innovation, Sustainability, Resilience, & Global Impact in the Time of Severe Climate Change & Increased Violent Weather Events [9.23.18]


  • Guest 1: Dr. Linton Wells, II, Coordinator, STAR-TIDES Program and Executive Advisor, C4I & Cyber Center, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University; and President, Global Resilience Strategies
  • Guest 2: Melvin (Mel) Cordova, Founder, Project Coqui and Lead, People-Centered Internet/Puerto Rico
  • Guest 3: Dr. Susan A. Crate, Professor of Anthropology, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University
  • Guest 4: Michael Schindler, Senior Project Engineer, Member, and (Former) Vice President, Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) and (Former) President, Engineers for International Development (EfID), George Mason University; and Sharmin Hossain, Systems Engineering Student, George Mason University & Marketing Assistant, STAR-TIDES
Show 1Dr. Linton Wells, II Show 2Melvin (Mel) Cordova
Show 3Dr. Susan A. Crate Show 4Michael Schindler and Sharmin Hossain

Program Summary:

The EmeraldPlanet weekly television programs are broadcast and distributed via Channel 10 TV in Fairfax, Virginia USA. The EmeraldPlanet TV programs are available to view on our website, YouTube, UStream TV, and social media around the world. The Emerald Trek and companion The Emerald Mini-Treks are identifying the 1,000 “best practices” on location from the 143 nations, 750 cities, and 50,000 communities by Internet TV, local television stations, main stream media outlets, YouTube, Facebook, The EmeraldPlanet Meetup, Twitter, among other social media networks, and all manner of print media.

The EmeraldPlanet TV is broadcasting weekly a number of the “best practices which are identified through collaboration with:  major non-governmental organizations (NGOs); United Nations, universities and colleges; research institutes; government ministries and agencies; Embassies; banking and micro-lending organizations; Chambers of Commerce; World Trade Centers, international bodies such as The World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Inter-American Development Bank, African Development Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization), citizens groups; multimedia organizations; among others by utilizing the most advanced broadcasting hardware and software along with an outstanding television Production Crew to reach an ever expanding global audience. The Emerald Trek is focused upon linking principals identified among the 1,000 ‘best practices’ in the 143 nations being visited through this world-wide movement. The Emerald Trek is encompassing over 300,000 miles, visiting 750 major cities, and 50,000 suburban and rural communities in the identified nations.

Our featured guests are:

  • Show ‘1’: Dr. Linton Wells, II, Coordinator, STAR-TIDES Program and Executive Advisor, C4I & Cyber Center, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University; and President, Global Resilience Strategies (In-Studio and Skype Back-Up “Special Guest)*, Theme: “STAR-TIDES Technical Demonstrations and New Community Resilience Laboratory, Volgenau School of Engineering, George Mason University”
  • Show ‘2’: Melvin (Mel) Cordova, Founder, Project Coqui and Lead, People-Centered Internet/Puerto Rico, Theme: “People-Centered Internet Fostering Citizen Collaboration for Puerto Rico Sustainable Reconstruction”
  • Show ‘3’: Dr. Susan A. Crate, Professor of Anthropology, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, George Mason University, (By Skype)*, Theme: “George Mason University Sustainability Initiatives and Climate Change Impacts Research in Siberia on Russia and the World”
  • Show ‘4’: Michael Schindler, Senior Project Engineer, Member, and (Former) Vice President, Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) and (Former) President, Engineers for International Development (EfID), George Mason University; and Sharmin Hossain, Systems Engineering Student, George Mason University & Marketing Assistant, STAR-TIDES,.(In-Studio), Theme: “Outstanding Student Leaders Collaborating with STAR-TIDES Making Local and International “Best Practices” Impacts”

Program Overview:

STAR-TIDES is a global research project dedicated to open-source knowledge sharing. It helps build sustainable resilience to natural and man-made emergencies and promotes human security (“freedom from want “and “freedom from fear”). Founded in 2007 it now has several thousand members from universities in Asia, to NGOs in Europe and Africa, to the Red Cross, to members of the United States government. The STAR-TIDES network is public-private, whole-of-society, transnational.

STAR-TIDES holds annual technology demonstrations on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University (GMU) (usually) the first week of October. Demonstrations, exhibits, speakers, and discussions are held to exchange experiences, insights, while discussing cross-cutting issues for everything from logistics and soft power, to critical infrastructure protection, information sharing, and community-based solutions.

STAR-TIDES is partnered with GMU’s Community Resilience Laboratory within the Volgenau School of Engineering, which helps increase opportunities and build sustainable resilience in under-served communities. This opens many exciting opportunities to share the knowledge of STAR-TIDES members with specific community-focused projects such as helping to reduce pressures for migration and marginalization, building disaster resilience, and making networks and systems more resilient.

It has been supporting substantive work in Appalachia, with Puerto Rico’s recovery, and with Japanese colleagues, and other projects are under consideration domestically and overseas. The infrastructure (“platform”) groups for the “Tech Demo” include: Energy and Energy Storage; Shelter, Heating/Cooling, Lighting; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); Agriculture and Food Security; Information & Communications Technology (ICT); and Health, Nutrition & Integrated Cooking

These infrastructures and platforms are supported by additional categories such as logistics (including 3-D printing and drone deliveries to remote areas), and digital enabling technologies such as open source geospatial imagery, blockchain, identity management, mobile money, and many more.

Founded by Melvin (Mel) Cordova, Project Coqui (Co-kee) was born because of the positive but limited response by the United States Federal Government for the magnitude of the damage caused by Hurricane Maria. The coqui is a very tiny frog and is the unofficial mascot of Puerto Rico. Having an innovation background, immediately recognized the disaster as a “white canvas” that offers an opportunity to innovate. Knew prior to the first visit, that this was going to be one of many, because Puerto Rico is the place that we call home and have family there. My daughter Daksha decided to name our efforts “Project Coqui”, because our vision is to leapfrog our society from not being self-sufficient to a world-class economy.

Since Hurricane Maria, I have visited PR twelve times for over 120 days. Our initial mission was to provide free communications support by connecting residents from Ponce with the rest of the world. This humanitarian mission has grown in scope from providing “aid” to building local capacity and has expanded to the rest of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We have provided satellite phones, airtime, generators, computers, medical equipment, cash donations, water filters, food, many miscellaneous items, organized an architectural design visit by Dror Studios to bring IP to Puerto Rico, International Connector to conduct Dream Hub Workshops for ten communities, adopted two schools, (provided chairs, tables, shelves and ordered classroom materials) sponsored a summer camp, and adopted a family of nine.

After the completion of the second trip by Project Coqui, with my wife Nilsa and daughter Daksha, collaboration with People-Centered Internet started, specifically with David Bray, Mei Lin Fung (CRM Pioneer), Dr. Vint Cerf (Father of the Internet) and their networks. We are a growing team of professionals that are volunteering to rally big players (public and private) around helping Puerto Rico. We believe that the Internet presents a unique opportunity to leverage this powerful technology at the community level to provide unprecedented access to education, medical assistance, economic opportunity, services and personal connections. Our vision is to foster innovation, provide tools and knowledge, and to experiment with network oriented models that will enable and empower communities to rise from poverty, resulting in job creation and economic growth.

The Internet is neutral, it can be used for good or bad. In 2018, the global population connected to the Internet will reach 50%. That means that the full impact of the Internet has not been realized. The Internet is the number one economic success in the world, it has lifted many people from poverty, it helped make millionaires, and even multi-billionaires. How do we expand it to serve the marginalized, such as the poor, isolated, elderly, handicapped, and women? Well, Puerto Rico is a white canvas, so let’s innovate the next phase of the Internet there by developing new models that seek to empower the communities by assisting them in developing a local vision with a global response in a centralized collaboration and decentralized execution manner. With this in mind, our team has activated 11 communities around the island and has donated 42 laptops.

Dr. Susan (Susie) A. Crate is an interdisciplinary scholar specializing in environmental and cognitive anthropology. She has worked with indigenous communities in Siberia since 1988 investigating change, with a focus in the last fifteen years on how communities are perceiving, understanding and adapting to climate change. This research agenda has also expanded Crate’s work to arctic Canada, Peru, Wales, Kiribati, Mongolia and the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. In addition to the ethnographies she facilitates in these various world regions, Crate also engages in creating community-based narratives on climate change to empower and usher in positive social change, an effort inspired in part by her role in The Anthropologist, a full-length documentary that takes an anthropological approach to climate change.

She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, one monograph, Cows, Kin, and Globalization: An Ethnography of Sustainability (AltaMira Press 2006), and she is lead editor of Anthropology and Climate Change: From Encounters to Actions (Left Coast Press, Inc. 2009), and, Anthropology and Climate Change: From Actions to Transformations (Routledge 2016). She served on the American Anthropology Association’s Task Force on Climate Change and presently is a lead author on the IPCC Special Report on Oceans and Cryosphere. Her research presently is supported by a British Museum Urgent Anthropology fellowship. She is a full Professor of Anthropology in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia USA.

Michael Schindler is completing a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Infrastructure Engineering with a Minor in Environmental Engineering from George Mason University. Michael is active in several student professional development organizations. He is Past-President of Engineers for International Development (EfID) and Past-Vice President of the GMU Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA). His organization is in competition with other Universities from across the United States at the international WEFTEC conference in New Orleans to represent VWEA and GMU with a special low cost, highly efficient water filtration system.

Michael is heavily involved in sustainable research sponsored by Engineers for International Development (EfID) and Fairfax (Virginia) County Government. Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Services (DPWES) reached out to EfID because the County recently acquired a glass crusher. Contrary to the popular believe recycled glass in currently not reused to make new glass. Currently the glass is incinerated in the state of the art Covanta Energy/Resource Recovery Facility and then put into the landfill.

Through Michael’s leadership and participation on the EfID Research Team several solutions were been created. The most promising includes using the crushed glass as a filter medium for drinking water. Thus very expensive glass waste is now being fully tested as a potential valuable and inexpensive resource for local governments and water and sanitation facilities around the United States. He is also very engaged in the community receiving the “President’s Volunteer Service Award” for his extensive volunteer work.

Sharmin Hossain is a student at George Mason University studying Systems Engineering. She was born in the United States; however, her entire family originates from the South Asian country of Bangladesh. She is a Marketing Assistant with STAR-TIDES in its collaboration with the Community Resilience Laboratory of the Volgenau School of Engineering. This allows her access to the many resources and leaders associated with STAR-TIDES while building upon her university studies and personal connections to address severe climate damage that Bangladesh encounters.

Thank you Happy, Production Crew, Program Team, and volunteers for your outstanding commitment, dedication, and goodwill as we create The EmeraldPlanet… 
Tune in and learn from our outstanding guests and Dr. Sam Hancock, Director and Host of The EmeraldPlanet television productions at 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. (Eastern); 5:30 – 6:30 P.M. (Central); 4:30 – 5:30 P.M. (Western); and 3:30 – 4:30 P.M. (Pacific) time zones.