Johnny West is a social entrepreneur and writer with 20 years professional experience in and around the oil industry. He began covering energy markets as a Reuters correspondent in the Middle East in the early 1990s. He has consulted to the United Nations, Revenue Watch Institute, Internews and others on oil and the public policy aspects of the industry and published in the Petroleum Economist, Iraq Oil Report, and Critical Resources as well as more general media like the Guardian and Huffington Post. His book Karama! Travels Through the Arab Spring, was the first book-length account to be published of the events now rocking the Middle East.
Johnny's new project, backed by a fellowship from the Shuttleworth Foundation, is Gaiabase, the world's first open source database of natural resources. We are already running up hard against planetary boundaries in our unprecedented exploitation of the Earth's natural resources, and with world population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050 these issues are only going to become more acute. For responsible global policy making, we will need access to full, open and structured data sets around the world's natural resources. Gaiabase aims to achieve that both by curating all information in the public domain now and evolving new crowd-sourcing techniques to map systematically the full social, environmental and economic footprints of the world's extractive industries.