Reversing Climate Change

By Nori

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Subscribers: 113
Reviews: 1

Steven Isley
 Oct 17, 2019
great podcast! love the material and the guests are a good mix, not hyper focused on a single topic and not too random.


A podcast about the different people, technologies, and organizations that are coming together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. We also talk about blockchains.

Episode Date
Jimmy Jia's new book, "The Corporate Energy Strategist's Handbook"

Jimmy Jia is an author and professor at Presidio Graduate School. Jimmy was on the show over a year ago talking about his work in cleantech, and applying the insights of thermodynamics to business and beyond.

We welcome Jimmy back to the Reversing Climate Change podcast for a short bonus episode on his new book, The Corporate Energy Strategist's Handbook: Frameworks to Achieve Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage. You can preorder the book on Amazon here. It comes out March 11th, 2020.

"Clean Tech Entrepreneur Jimmy Jia", episode #57 on Reversing Climate Change

The Corporate Energy Strategist's Handbook: Frameworks to Achieve Environmental Sustainability and Competitive Advantage by Jimmy Jia, preorder on Amazon

Jan 14, 2020
107: A dedicated introduction to communitarianism—w/ Jeffrey Howard of Erraticus

Do you have strong bonds with a faith community or civic organization? How about a book club or sports league? Do you live near your parents? How well do you know your neighbors? In Why Liberalism Failed, Patrick Deneen makes the communitarian argument that liberalism’s failure lies in its success. In the pursuit of individual autonomy, we have alienated ourselves from each other and the environment.


Jeffrey Howard is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at Erraticus, an online publication focused on human flourishing.  On this episode, Jeffrey joins Alexsandra and Ross to discuss the ideas in Deneen’s book and compare how communitarians and liberals see the world.


Jeffrey offers his take on the downside of liberalism’s success, describing our growing isolation and dependence on government interventions or markets—as opposed to each other. Listen in to understand the limits of communitarianism in terms of scale and learn how a communitarian might approach climate change.

N.B. Ross & Jeffrey both regret not discussing the work of John Rawls with regard to contractarianism and as an avenue to criticism of communitarianism.


Key Takeaways


[1:43] How communitarians see the world

  • Meaning comes from communities (particulars vs. universal)
  • Comfortable with locally driven interventions


[7:54] The three different types of communities

  1. Place
  2. Memory
  3. Psychology


[10:02] The fundamentals of liberalism

  • Non-relational beings not beholden to communities
  • See nature as something to conquer + control


[12:47] How liberalism impacts communities

  • Uncomfortable making demands on one another
  • Leads to alienation, thin community bonds


[19:22] Patrick Deneen’s argument re: the loose relationships of liberalism

  • Turn to government interventions, market means
  • Takes intention to develop friendships in new place


[28:35] The downside of liberalism’s success

  • Hollowed out civic and social institutions
  • Associations temper extremes in human nature


[35:01] The consequences of liberalism for individuals

  • Growing alienation, loneliness (discard if unproductive)
  • Lack of emotional intelligence + general distrust


[37:39] A communitarian take on climate change

  • Skeptical of commodification of nature
  • Lose something when don’t know where food comes from


[43:20] Jeffrey’s solutions for brain drain in small communities

  • Advocate for completion of hero’s journey
  • Remote work


[51:15] Jeffrey’s argument against the romanticizing of travel

  • Carbon footprint
  • Can’t escape problems to ‘find yourself’


[56:21] A communitarian approach to solving climate change

  • Need thousands of local Green New Deals 
  • Unify to build something together vs. top-down approach


[59:31] The best critiques of communitarianism

  • Too limiting to individual freedoms
  • Give to person most in need (vs. person in community)
  • Local solutions won’t scale quickly enough


Connect with Alexsandra & Ross



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom





Jeffrey on Twitter

Why Liberalism Failed by Patrick J. Deneen

Books by Wendell Berry

Front Porch Republic

John Stuart Mill’s Harm Principle

David Hume’s ‘Of the Original Contract’

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

The Quest for Community: A Study in the Ethics of Order and Freedom by Robert Nisbet

Francis Fukuyama

Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam

Wendell Berry’s Port William Novels & Stories

How the Bible Actually Works: In Which I Explain How an Ancient, Ambiguous, and Diverse Book Leads Us to Wisdom Rather Than Answers—and Why That’s Great News by Peter Enns

Wendell Berry Farming Program at Sterling College

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

Seattle Salsa Congress

Joseph Campbell

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Charlie Deist’s Green New Deal Article

Blacksheep on RCC EP076

Peter Singer on Effective Altruism

Dec 31, 2019
106: Maritime trade with wooden ships?!—w/ Danielle Doggett of SAILCARGO

Are you willing to give up coffee? Chocolate? Rum? Many of us have come to think of these products as necessities and would have a very hard time giving them up. And yet, we know that the current methods of shipping those items contribute to the carbon emissions causing climate change. So, is there a way to transport the products we’ve come to love in a way that’s sustainable, financially viable AND emission-free?


Danielle Doggett is the Executive Director of SAILCARGO, a carbon-neutral shipping company in the process of building the world’s largest emission-free cargo ship, Ceiba. The team uses high-quality wood and old-world shipbuilding techniques with the goal of transporting artisanal products from Central America to the US and Canada. In this episode, Danielle joins Alexsandra and Ross to discuss how Ceiba will be powered by wind energy and explain how it compares to traditional ships in terms of capacity, delivery speed and shipping costs.


Danielle shares the problems with the current shipping industry, including air and bioacoustics pollution, oil spills, deforestation, dangerous shipbreaking practices, and illegal dumping. Listen in for Danielle’s insight around using technology options to improve the shipping industry and learn how you can support the creation of a sustainable supply chain by owning shares in SAILCARGO!


Key Takeaways


[1:01] What Danielle’s team is building at SAILCARGO

  • World’s largest emission-free ships
  • Move artisanal products from Central America to US/Canada


[1:53] Danielle’s vision for SAILCARGO

  • Provide final broken link in otherwise sustainable supply chain
  • Bring products to world (financially + environmentally viable)


[3:20] How Ceiba will be powered

  • Traditional sails use wind energy
  • Backup green electric engine stores excess power in battery
  • High-tech propellers adjust drag based on wind conditions


[5:04] How Ceiba’s size compares to other ships

  • Clipper ships almost twice size of Ceiba
  • Largest ships carry 22K containers, Ceiba carries up to 10


[7:27] The international team at SAILCARGO

  • 50% of workforce from Latin America
  • Crew from 25 nations (e.g.: Madagascar, Australia, Denmark, etc.)


[8:29] The SAILCARGO business model

  • People invest to own shares of company
  • 36% of estimated $4.2M secured to date


[9:59] Danielle’s path to founding SAILCARGO

  • Learn to sail on St. Lawrence 2 (nonprofit youth training camp)
  • Work for Fairtransport, saw ways to improve process


[12:17] Danielle’s commitment to high-quality wood

  • Source most locally in Costa Rica where timber protected
  • Went to Haida Gwaii for best mast materials 


[13:54] What’s wrong with the current shipping industry

  • Ships born in iron ore mines of Brazil (deforestation + mining)
  • Bioacoustics pollution disrupts marine mammal communication
  • Carry invasive species and cause air pollution
  • Oil spills result of accidents at sea
  • End of life in Bangladesh, dangerous shipbreaking work


[16:55] The problems associated with a lack of governance

  • No regulations around fuel use or pollution
  • Most ships run on dirty diesel fuel


[19:50] Danielle’s rebuttal to the premise of The Locavore’s Dilemma

  • 15 of largest ships generate more pollutants than ALL cars
  • Powered by least refined fuel, illegal dumping and burning


[28:58] How Danielle thinks about the future of shipping

  • Tech race with multiple options (electric, solar or wind power)
  • Change to cleaner fuel expensive but most attainable


[30:33] How the cost of shipping on Ceiba compares to other ships

  • Traditional ships range from 1¢/ton/mile to $1.60/ton/mile
  • Ceiba costs 20¢/ton/mile


[31:27] How Ceiba’s delivery times compare to traditional ships

  • Slower average speed (12 knots vs. 20 knots)
  • Make up time in ports by using own rigging to unload


[33:41] Ross and Alexsandra’s unsolicited business advice

  • Media arm to tell story of Ceiba
  • Luxury cruises (silent ships for whale watching)


Connect with Alexsandra & Ross



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom





SAILCARGO on Facebook

SAILCARGO on Instagram


SAILCARGO on Twitter

Blacksheep on RCC EP076


Lynx Guimond

Haida Nation

North Pacific Timber Corporation

International Maritime Organization

COP23 Climate Summit

SAILCARGO’s COP23 Presentation

Shipbreaking in Bangladesh

The Locavore’s Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet by Pierre Desrochers and Hiroko Shimizu

Dec 24, 2019
105: Should you have children in light of climate change?—w/ Darrell Bricker of Empty Planet

Everybody knows that the global population is out of control. And everybody is wrong, our guest argues. In fact, Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson contend that the UN model predicting 11.2B people by the end of the century is deeply flawed. According to their research, the human population is likely to reach only 8.5B by midcentury and then begin to decline.


Darrell Bricker is the coauthor of Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline, a book exploring how a shrinking population might reshape the social, political, environmental and economic landscape.  On this episode of the Reversing Climate Change, Darrell joins Alexsandra and Ross to discuss how his understanding of population trends differs from conventional wisdom and explain why the UN numbers around global fertility rates are wrong.  


Darrell shares the reasons why women are making the decision to have fewer children, exploring the impact urbanization, education, healthcare delivery and even access to telenovelas (yes, Spanish-language soap operas!) have had on birthrate. He also discusses the potential consequences of global population decline, including its effect on the natural environment and what it means for our current economic model. Listen in for Darrell’s insight on why government policies to promote childbirth don’t seem to work and learn what to consider in making your own decision to have children—or not.


Key Takeaways


[0:39] How Darrell’s understanding of population trends differs from conventional wisdom

  • UN estimates suggest global population out of control (11.2B by end of century)
  • More credible numbers = 8.5B by mid-century with decline after 2050


[2:56] Why the UN numbers are wrong

  • # of children born declining more rapidly than model suggests
  • Below UN natural state of 2.1 in many countries


[4:27] Why women are making the decision to have fewer children

  • Growing urbanization (free labor vs. mouths to feed)
  • Women exposed to other choices, e.g.: work, education


[6:08] The general pros and cons of a declining birthrate

  • Less resource depletion
  • Challenges economic model (consumerism drives growth)


[8:29] Wolfgang Lutz’s work around the decline in population

  • Education of women leads to lower fertility rates
  • More control over bodies, choose to have fewer children


[12:18] The impact of telenovelas on the birthrate in Brazil

  • TV in favelas exposed women to strong female characters
  • Women decide to stop having children sooner


[14:29] Other factors that influenced the birthrate in Brazil

  • Massive urbanization
  • Delivery of healthcare (availability of sterilization)


[16:45] The main criticism of Empty Planet

  • Suggest open border to offset lack of fertility
  • Accused of advocating political philosophy


[18:17] The generational conflicts associated with population decline 

  • Forced to rethink what we mean by retirement and work
  • Consider way develop/distribute wealth (cities vs. rural areas)


[22:28] The potential consequences of global population decline

  • Positive improvement in natural environment
  • Energy poverty in some countries
  • Rethink capitalism, global security


[24:35] Darrell’s insight on making the decision to have children

  • Effect on overall climate very minimal (virtually nothing)
  • Population continues to grow because people live longer
  • Don’t get wrapped up in externalities, look at own family


[32:26] How having children later in life impacts fertility rates

  • Boomers had first kid in early 20’s, millennials at 33
  • Start family later in life = less time and fewer kids


[38:07] Government policies to promote childbirth

  • Make it easier to take time off work, make work flexible
  • Reduce financial penalty (e.g.: Hungary income tax)


[41:18] The complex decision women are facing all over the world

  • Empower selves through education, less time to consider having family
  • Financial considerations around becoming single parent vs. flying solo


Connect with Alexsandra & Ross



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom




Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline by Darrell Bricker and John Ibbitson

2019 UN World Population Prospects

Wolfgang Lutz on the ‘Education Effect’

Brazil’s Fertility Decline

The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich

Hungary’s Income Tax Breaks for Families

Dec 17, 2019
104: How tech can help save the Amazon—w/ Diego Saez Gil of Pachama

If you want to verify carbon capture for a reforestation or forest conservation project, you’re looking at a price tag of anywhere between $100K and $400K, depending on the size of the forest. But a new company called Pachama is working to make the process much more affordable and add trust to the system, harnessing AI to measure carbon capture in forests.


Diego Saez Gil is the Cofounder and CEO of Pachama, a startup developing the technologies to bring trust, transparency and efficiency to the forest carbon market. His team leverages machine learning to accelerate the validation of carbon captured in reforestation and forest conservation projects.  On this episode of the podcast, Diego joins Alexsandra, Ross and Christophe to explain how LiDAR technology works and discuss how Pachama is using it to measure carbon capture with stunning accuracy.  


Diego shares the benefits of using Pachama’s platform in terms of adding trust to the system and reducing the transaction costs associated with verifying reforestation projects in carbon markets. He also discusses the fight over development versus conservation in Brazil and describes his take on the role of corporations in reversing climate change. Listen in for insight around the need for an abundance mindset in developing climate solutions and learn how Diego thinks about carbon markets as a mechanism to align incentives on the path to reversing climate change.


Key Takeaways


[1:40] The work Diego and his team do through Pachama

  • Build tools to measure + monitor carbon capture in forests
  • Use data to validate offset projects in carbon markets


[3:29] How Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology works

  • Device uses laser to create 3D image of environment
  • Apply deep learning to measure biomass, carbon capture (< 1.5% error)


[7:08] Why we should trust that Pachama’s algorithm works

  • Works by comparing shapes and volumes to ground truth
  • Results consistent with traditional forester’s measurements


[9:08] The expense associated with verifying reforestation projects

  • Must send forester to take sample, do carbon stock assessment
  • Costs between $100K and $400K depending on size


[10:46] Pachama’s approach to onboarding new clients

  • Go to projects using traditional protocols for verification
  • Add trust to system and reduce transaction costs


[13:47] How we can improve the design of forestry projects in carbon markets

  • Base contribution to buffer pool on risk profile of individual project
  • Bodies that create standards usually open to ideas for improvement


[15:51] Pachama’s progress in its first year in business

  • Onboarded 10 projects in US and Brazil
  • Continue to add data, improve algorithm


[17:10] Pachama’s needs around data collection

  • LiDAR and ground truth numbers
  • Data lives in governments, universities and companies


[18:11] The complexity of land and development politics 

  • Large reforestation projects up against armed illegal loggers
  • Political narrative emboldens developers to exploit resources
  • Carbon markets create income for people in those areas
  • Indigenous communities should benefit most from projects


[24:06] Diego’s insight into the role of corporations in reversing climate change

  • Responsibility to benefit society at large for long term
  • Reduce emissions and offset what can’t in short term


[27:51] Diego’s entrepreneurial path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up in Argentina between rainforest + Andes
  • Took sabbatical to live with native community in Amazon
  • Inspired by power of nature, shocked by deforestation
  • Apply technology for scaling solutions to climate change


[30:44] How the scarcity vs. abundance mindset plays into Diego’s work

  • Scarcity mindset created climate crisis, abundance will solve
  • We’re all connected and must come together for challenge


[34:50] How David Grinspoon’s work influenced Diego

  • Love big-picture view of humanity (one of many species to change planet)
  • Attracted to optimism, potential for humans to be stewards


Connect with Alexsandra, Ross & Christophe



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom





Pachama on Twitter



Paris Agreement

American Carbon Registry

Verified Carbon Standard

Climate Action Reserve

The Gold Standard

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells


Y Combinator

Buckminster Fuller

Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future by David Grinspoon

David Grinspoon on RCC EP047

Carl Sagan

Lynn Margulis

James Lovelock

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Eric Kornacki on RCC EP082

Dec 10, 2019
103: The critical left & carbon removal—with Dr. Holly Jean Buck of UCLA

Most leftist political views of the climate crisis lean toward natural solutions like reforestation and regenerative ag. But if we’re serious about taking action at the necessary scale before it’s too late, Dr. Holly Jean Buck argues that we have to consider ALL available solutions, including carbon capture technology and geoengineering. She comes at the issue from the Critical Left, advocating for the thoughtful use of industrial tech to reverse climate change.


Dr. Buck is a postdoctoral research fellow at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability and the author of After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair and Restoration. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Dr. Buck joins Ross to discuss how her take on climate solutions differs from traditional left-leaning views, explaining the aspects of geoengineering that should be in the hands of the people and the risks associated with Nori’s premise of treating carbon as a commodity.


Dr. Buck weighs in on why people are skeptical of industrial solutions to climate change and why she believes state involvement is key in removing carbon at scale. Listen in for insight into the pros and cons of policy solutions to climate change and learn why the Critical Left needs to take carbon capture technology seriously.


Key Takeaways


[3:12] What inspired Dr. Buck to write After Geoengineering

  • Present choices for removing large amounts of carbon
  • Seat at table re: how we use tech should be deployed


[4:46] What aspects of geoengineering should be in the hands of the people

  1. Physical ownership of assets, infrastructure (including land)
  2. Financial flows
  3. Algorithms/information used to make decisions


[8:18] The risks around treating carbon as a commodity

  • Must consider who’s producing and who’s buying
  • Danger of minimizing other things that matter


[10:57] How Dr. Buck thinks about the buyer’s side of a carbon market

  • Private jet for pleasure vs. wind turbine industry
  • State involvement to allocate determine quotas


[15:26] Why people aren’t talking about radical solutions

  • Uncanny fear of tampering with nature via nuclear power
  • Little research on effects of solar radiation management


[19:20] Why Dr. Buck is skeptical of fossil fuel companies leading drawdown

  • Use environmental organizations for incentives
  • Support shareholders over environmental protection
  • Need plan for phasing out fossil fuels worldwide


[28:08] Why people are suspicious of industrial climate solutions

  • Allows industries that harmed people to continue
  • Gives control of resources to unknown big actors 
  • Fear of unintended consequences of technology


[37:54] The pros and cons policy solutions to climate change

  • Makes VC investment in carbon removal tech possible
  • Difficult to pass or change (market approach nimble)


[40:46] How Dr. Buck thinks about the mission of Nori

  • See as platform vs. market, bring buyers + sellers together
  • Would rather see government solution but Nori not threat


[45:16] A Critical Left take on Nori

  • Opposed to treating carbon as commodity
  • Pro open-source logic


[49:12] Dr. Buck’s insight around reasonable criticisms of her work

  • Too optimistic to believe in responsible solar geoengineering research
  • Discussing strategies like solar geoengineering legitimizes tactic
  • Carbon removal enables business as usual (same old offsets)
  • No cause for optimism that radical social reorganization possible


[51:34] Why the Critical Left should take industrial solutions seriously

  • Moral obligation to use available tech to reduce harm
  • Involves geological sequestration + clean energy
  • Scale requires government to play central role in progress
  • Closing window of opportunity to shape tech as evolves


Connect with Ross



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom





After Geoengineering: Climate Tragedy, Repair, and Restoration by Holly Jean Buck


Dr. Buck’s Article in Jacobin 

Water Markets on RCC EP096

Ted Nordhaus on RCC EP098 

‘The Empty Radicalism of the Climate Apocalypse’ by Ted Nordhaus

45Q Legislation

Green New Deal

Jeremy Corbyn

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

Climate Wars: What People Will Be Killed for in the 21st Century by Harald Welzer

Sunrise Movement

Extinction Rebellion

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

The Fable of the Bees

Books by Adam Greenfield


Radical Markets by Eric A. Posner & E. Glen Weyl

David Harvey

Books by David Graeber

Dec 03, 2019
102: Techstars, The Nature Conservancy, & Nori's sustainability startup accelerator experience

A great deal of talent and resources are dedicated to the development of technology that makes the lives of the privileged even easier. What if that kind of energy and investment was redirected to problems like conservation and climate change? How can we inspire more entrepreneurs to focus on the sustainability space? And what can we do to support the startups that are working to make the world a better place?


Zach Nies is the Managing Director of the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator, August Ritter serves as Program Director of The Nature Conservancy’s partnership with Techstars, and Hannah Davis is the Program Director of the Techstars Sustainability Accelerator. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, August, Zach and Hannah join Alexsandra, Jason and Christophe to discuss the origin of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) partnership with Techstars and share the idea behind the program—to create a community of mission-driven companies and help them achieve a year’s worth of progress in just three months.


August weighs in on what TNC and Techstars look for in a company, Hannah shares the purpose behind the Mentor Madness component of the program, and Zach addresses the role of VC money in expanding the possibilities for tech teams in the sustainability space. Listen in to understand how the Techstars experience helped the Nori team overcome its limiting beliefs and launch a product much sooner than expected!


Key Takeaways


[0:40] The premise of the Techstars accelerator

  • Bring in 10 companies to make year of progress in 3 months
  • Surround with investors, mentors (SMEs + business leaders)
  • Culminates in Demo Day to pitch business value to investors


[5:34] The origin of The Nature Conservancy’s partnership with Techstars

  • Leadership recognized disruptive power of tech, need for VC $
  • Plug into entrepreneurial ecosystem to further sustainability


[8:19] What inspired August’s work with the Techstars program

  • Confronted with scale of challenges living in New Delhi
  • Recognize that current approach won’t solve problems


[9:16] What inspired Zach’s work with the Techstars program

  • Work with Rally Software linked business with impact
  • What can happen when business about more than $


[11:06] What inspired Hannah’s work with the Techstars program

  • Inspired by environmental studies class in college
  • Recognize business as powerful way to make change


[12:16] What Techstars looks for in a company

  • Alignment with TNC’s core conservation mission
  • Criteria = TEAM, market progress and idea


[13:59] The community built through the Techstars program

  • Powerful support network with shared experience
  • Mission-driven founders = second layer of bonding


[16:40] Why Techstars incorporates Mentor Madness

  • Rapid feedback from many different angles
  • Match companies with 3 to 5 lead mentors


[20:04] The Nature Conservancy’s general investment themes

  • Reversing climate change
  • Providing food and water sustainably
  • Protecting land and water
  • Building healthy cities


[23:24] The panel’s hopes for the future

  • Inspire entrepreneurs to pursue sustainability space
  • Help companies in network scale, see possibilities
  • Help society recognize power of nature as solution


[29:14] The tension around using VC money to address sustainability

  • One of many tools to provide solutions
  • Opens up possibilities in business model innovation


[33:36] The fundamental reframes Nori experienced at Techstars

  • Get product to users + prove out model via Lightning Sale
  • Overcome limiting beliefs with support of mentors


[38:15] The Nori team’s advice around building a startup team

  • Shared vision, mission and values (start with WHY)
  • Clear decision-making structure
  • Strength in diversity


[43:04] Nori’s biggest barriers to ‘learning by doing’

  • Fear of unknown, uncertainty (imaginary)
  • Creativity in achieving goals


[47:33] The high points of the Techstars experience for Nori

  • Launch of product + hitting revenue
  • Time spent brainstorming with team in evenings


Connect with Alexsandra, Jason & Christophe 



Nori on Facebook 

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub

Nori Newsletter


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes

Carbon Removal Newsroom





The Nature Conservancy

Rally Software

Ryan Martens


Gregory Landua

Regen Network

Hannah’s Email:

Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Techstars Entrepreneur’s Toolkit


Paul Hawken

Nov 26, 2019
101: If California were engulfed in flames—w/ Allison Wolff of Vibrant Planet

Trees are carbon storage machines. And they are disappearing at an alarming rate. In fact, experts predict that California could lose two-thirds of its 33M acres of forest in the next 15 to 20 years due to megafire and climate-driven disease and mortality. What’s more, the 2018 fires there emitted 68B tons of carbon, the equivalent of powering the state of California for an entire year. So, what can we do to restore our forests and manage them long-term in a way that mitigates the risk of megafire?


Allison Wolff is the Founder and CEO of Vibrant Planet, a firm that leverages the power of narrative to mobilize positive social change. She has 25 years of experience in the space, and her impressive client roster includes Google, eBay, Facebook and Netflix. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Allison joins Ross and Christophe to discuss what sparked her interest in the megafire issue and explain why the California forests are burning—and what we can do about it.


Allison also weighs in on the thousands of jobs associated with restoring and maintaining our forests long-term and how we might employ a new carbon accounting system to fund the necessary work. Listen in for Allison’s take on why a ‘let them burn’ policy is misguided and learn how you can get involved in promoting a carbon market that would pay to bring resilience back AND mitigate fire risk in our forests. 


Key Takeaways


[1:45] Allison’s path to Reversing Climate Change

  • 25 years in brand experience at tech companies
  • Establish sustainability, social impact initiatives
  • Developed interest in movement building (Facebook Live at Paris climate talks)
  • Work with Paul Hawken on Project Drawdown
  • Study severity of megafire problem in California


[10:45] Why Allison is interested in working with Nori

  • Need financing from carbon markets to restore forests
  • Leverage Nori model for drawdown to motivate IFM


[12:57] Why California forests are burning

  • Low-intensity fires recycled nutrients in heterogeneous forests for 20K years
  • Europeans removed fire, clear cut most of West and planted mono-forests
  • Teenage trees too close together + ground fuel carries fire to tree canopy
  • Add high winds form desert to fuel megafire moving at speeds never seen
  • 2018 fires in CA emitted 68B tons of carbon, impacts water system as well


[22:19] What we can do to reintroduce low-intensity fire

  • Employ burn bosses to burn safe areas now
  • Rally ‘sleeping allies’ to invest in process
  • Clear out biomass with prescribed burns/by hand
  • Cut little trees for biochar, cross-laminated timber


[28:12] Allison’s insight around the potential to restore forests

  • Hopeful because we have model for resilience
  • Concerns re: capital, scaling workforce quickly


[31:35] How we might pay for forest restoration

  • Forest Resilience Bonds
  • Surcharge for water provided by forests
  • Carbon markets like Nori
  • Public health funds for mental health


[36:18] The jobs associated with restoring forests

  • Large unemployed population in rural West
  • Thousands of jobs available but need funding


[38:09] Allison’s take on the Sierra Club no touch policy

  • Understand idea behind let it burn policy (prevent big logging)
  • Owe it to fellow species to bring back resilience in forests


[41:33] The potential to create a new accounting system for carbon

  • Board feet = $10/ton, Biomass + slash waste = 10¢/ton
  • Create market for carbon storage in trees and soil 
  • Monetize embodied carbon in products, avoided cost of fire


[47:28] Allison’s work with the California Forest Observatory

  • Dynamic, real-time system monitors forest health, wildfire risk
  • AI engine combines available LiDAR + meteorological data
  • Allows for fire mitigation and forest restoration planning


[52:58] How RCC listeners can get involved in Allison’s work

  • Share story of forest restoration and idea of carbon market
  • Need innovation and ideas as well as philanthropic capital


Connect with Ross & Christophe 



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Vibrant Planet

Salo Sciences



eBay Giving Works

Meg Whitman

Google Green

Facebook Sustainability

Social Good at Facebook

Facebook Data for Good

Bill Weihl

The Paris Agreement

Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

Earth on Facebook

Paul Hawken

Project Drawdown

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken

Malcolm North

Scott Stephens

The Sagehen Experimental Forest

The Nature Conservancy

Forest Resilience Bond

Blue Forest Conservation

Blue Forest Pilot with Yuba County Water Agency

Stanford Natural Capital Project

Mental Health as an Ecosystem Service

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Sierra Club

The Yurok Tribe

Karuk Tribe


Planet Data

European Sentinel System

California Forest Observatory

National Center for Atmospheric Research 

Nov 19, 2019
100: An Ecomodernist Podcast-o—with Ted Nordhaus of The Breakthrough Institute

In a zero-sum game between human prosperity and saving the planet, the planet will lose every time, our guest believes. But what if we can have our cake and eat it too? What if we can grow the economy AND deal with climate change at the same time?


Ted Nordhaus is the Founder and Executive Director of The Breakthrough Institute, the world’s first ecomodernist think tank promoting technological solutions to environmental problems. He is also the author of Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Ted joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the fundamentals of ecomodernism, explaining the movement’s idea of decoupling and offering his response to the degrowther argument against it.


Ted also shares the ecomodernist take on industrial agriculture and addresses the reasons why nuclear energy has failed to gain traction. Listen in to understand what’s wrong with apocalyptic environmentalism and find out how we can move the needle on climate change without threatening the end of days.


Key Takeaways


[1:30] The fundamentals of ecomodernism

  • More dependent we are on nature, more damage we do to it
  • For cities, nuclear energy and intensive agriculture


[5:03] The ecomodernist idea of decoupling

  • Grow economy + deal with climate change at same time
  • Economic development will always win over saving planet


[8:59] Ted’s response to the degrowthers

  • Population growth result of advances in public health and nutrition
  • Lower resource throughput associated with each $ of economic output


[13:46] The ecomodernist take on industrial agriculture

  • People historically leave farms to seek better life 
  • Tied to declining fertility rates, women’s empowerment


[18:58] Ted’s insight on apocalyptic environmentalism

  • Rises from generation of unprecedented security and affluence
  • Romantic agrarian view disconnected from real work of farming


[25:18] The policies with the most climate benefits

  • Clean energy investment in solar + wind
  • Coal-to-gas transition


[28:29] How to move the needle without threatening apocalypse

  • Make clean energy so cheap it competes for own sake
  • Modest economic and political lift (i.e.: pricing, regulations)


[32:53] Why nuclear energy has failed to gain traction

  • Combined failure of policy, institutions and tech
  • State-owned plants vs. private actors


[40:44] Ted’s take on the smartest people who disagree with him


[44:54] Ted’s response to George Monbiot’s critique of ecomodernism

  • Small farms in poor countries have marginally higher yield
  • Women and children used as free labor


[48:51] How the Right might respond to apocalyptic climate action

  • Idea of Avocado Politics (be careful what you wish for)
  • Concentration camps, walls and resource wars


[51:45] Ted’s vision of a population that adapts well to 4° warming

  • Open borders, integrated institutions and trade


Connect with Ross & Christophe 



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The Breakthrough Institute

TBI on Twitter

Ted Nordhaus on Twitter

Alex Trembath on Twitter

Zeke Hausfather on Twitter

TBI on Instagram

Breakthrough Dialogues Podcast

Books by Ted Nordhaus

An Ecomodernist Manifesto

Wendell Berry

Ramez Naam

‘The Empty Radicalism of the Climate Apocalypse’ by Ted Nordhaus

Bill McKibben

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells

‘Meet the Ecomodernists: Ignorant of History and Paradoxically Old-Fashioned’ by George Monbiot

Ted’s Response to George Monbiot’s Critique

Bill McKibben on RCC EP094

Nils Gilman

Nov 12, 2019
99: Nuclear, GMOs, & the importance of being rigorous—with Nathanael Johnson of Grist


“If you’re saying, ‘Let’s just stick with what we have until we can prove that anything new isn’t going to hurt us,’ then we’re stuck in this status quo that’s heading at 400 miles per hour toward six degrees of global warming—which I’m not willing to accept. There’s a real need for not blindly rushing into things, but we have to weigh that against the need to make some real changes.”


Nathanael Johnson is a Senior Writer at Grist and the author of All Natural: A Skeptic’s Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier and Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Nathanael joins Ross and Christophe to discuss how his writing challenges the status quo, asking the questions that inspire real results.


Nathanael describes the arguments for and against nuclear energy, explaining why it’s continued use may be necessary to mitigate climate change and what forces are affecting the industry’s collapse. He also addresses the controversy around GMOs, sharing why it’s difficult to define what qualifies as a GMO and how he thinks about the issue as a consumer—and a journalist. Listen in for Nathanael’s questions around soil organic carbon as a climate solution and learn how he cultivates the ability to see issues from multiple perspectives, staying open to cultural critiques of his views.


Key Takeaways


[1:00] How Nevada City shaped Nathanael

  • Idea that we’re blind to ways progress hurts us
  • Driven to ask questions that get real results


[6:38] The little experiences that shook Nathanael’s beliefs

  • Friend’s parents in logging (sustainable approach)
  • Respect for efficiencies of industrial farms in ID


[11:49] The impact of nuclear energy on climate change

  • Top form of non-carbon energy in many countries
  • Renewables go up and down, we control nuclear


[15:24] The forces causing the collapse of nuclear energy

  • Local opposition to land use, delays
  • Regulatory apparatus + market forces
  • No pipeline to support with expertise
  • Complex tech with layers of safety


[21:09] Why people are generally resistant to nuclear

  • Not under our control
  • No immediate benefit to individual
  • Lack of transparency


[26:09] The difficulty of defining what qualifies as a GMO

  • Nuances of what’s changed with human influence
  • Introduction of other genes happens in nature


[30:07] Nathanael’s take on the precautionary principle

  • Should question new things AND status quo
  • Potential adverse impact vs. need for real change


[33:04] How Nathanael thinks about GMOs as a consumer

  • Ag would not look much different without GMOs
  • Less glyphosate but more herbicides in general
  • Less BT but more insecticides in general
  • Only big companies can jump regulatory hurdles


[38:32] Nathanael’s questions around carbon sequestration

  • How long maintain gains? When will tail off?
  • Wary of claims practice will solve ALL problems


[41:52] How Nori navigates the internal tension of startups

  • Leverage podcast to learn from experts
  • Radical transparency and collective authorship


[49:50] Nathanael’s best critics

  • Washington Post columnist Tamar Haspel
  • Farmer-scientists on Twitter


Connect with Ross & Christophe 



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Nathanael’s Website

Nathanael on Grist

Nathanael on Twitter

All Natural: A Skeptic’s Quest to Discover If the Natural Approach to Diet, Childbirth, Healing and the Environment Really Keeps Us Healthier and Happier by Nathanael Johnson

Unseen City: The Majesty of Pigeons, the Discreet Charm of Snails & Other Wonders of the Urban Wilderness by Nathanael Johnson


DOE Risk Insurance for Nuclear Facilities

Professor Leah Stokes

Green New Deal

‘It’s Practically Impossible to Define GMOs’ in Grist

Moral Foundations Theory

The UN’s Precautionary Approach to Environmental Challenges

Jeremy Kaufman on Reversing Climate Change EP049

‘Regenerative Agriculture: World-Saving Idea or Food Marketing Ploy?’ in Grist

Dr. Emma Fuller on Reversing Climate Change EP079



Ted Nordhaus

The Breakthrough Institute

Tamar Haspel

Nov 05, 2019
98: Getting your feet wet in water markets—with Richael Young of Mammoth Water

Water markets are designed to reallocate H2O in times of scarcity and promote efficient use of the resource. And if they’re managed correctly, water markets can help us protect and preserve our water supply. Given that agricultural players account for 70% of global water use, small improvements in efficiency on farms can have a very big impact. Better yet, trading water rights can provide farmers with an additional income stream. So, how do water markets work?


Richael Young is the Cofounder and CEO of Mammoth Water, the smart market platform that delivers a smarter, simpler way to track and trade water. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Richael joins Alexsandra and Christophe to discuss the ins and outs of water markets and explain why strong governance is crucial to their success.


Richael describes the challenges farmers face in participating in water markets and how Mammoth Water makes it easy to trade water rights. She also introduces us to the team’s TAPP H2O product, explaining how it helps farmers track their water use. Listen in for Richael’s insight around the connection between groundwater and climate change and learn how water markets, when done right, can reduce our footprint on water use! 


Key Takeaways


[1:24] What inspired Richael’s interest in environmental conservation

  • Message in church around tithing + financial stewardship
  • Need to be good stewards of what God made as well


[2:42] The idea behind Mammoth Water

  • Smarter, simpler way to track and trade water resources
  • Small improvements in ag practices have large effect


[3:58] The connection between ground water and climate change

  • Farmers use to irrigate, hedge against climate uncertainty
  • Use more than being replenished = ground collapse


[6:24] How water markets work

  • Arose from need to reallocate H2O in times of scarcity
  • Protect + preserve resource, flexibility in communities


[8:30] Why governance is crucial to the success of water markets

  • Slack permits can increase consumptive use
  • Consider hydrological impact on surface water


[12:22] The challenges farmers face in trading water rights

  • Difficult to find buyers/sellers and negotiate price
  • Complicated rules govern groundwater transfers


[16:05] How Mammoth Water supports farmers

  • Provides centralized hub for trading groundwater
  • Fair and equitable price discovery mechanism
  • Algorithm matches by price point, regulatory constraints


[17:43] The factors that impact the value of water

  • Use properties such as crops grown, soil type
  • Hydrological properties distort price (i.e.: impact on river)


[20:20] Why water markets are useful

  • Reducing footprint on water use requires governance
  • Mechanism to reduce water use in times of shortage


[24:12] How Mammoth’s TAPP H2O product tracks water use

  • Water rights accounting based on photo of meter
  • Generates report for farmer to compare with peers
  • Insights help become more efficient and profitable
  • Next step to tailor recommendations based on data


[32:58] What you need to know about the Ogallala Aquifer

  • Facilitates 30% of country’s water use
  • Bottom 2/3 in bad shape (takes centuries to recharge)
  • Use manager aquifer decline to extend life of resource


[35:18] Richael’s approach to managing water rights

  • First step to quantify all water rights (fair + consistent)
  • Make sure enough for domestic, environmental needs


Connect with Alexsandra & Christophe 



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Mammoth Water


Nori Lightning Sale


Water Markets in Oman

Public Trust Doctrine

The Ogallala Aquifer

Oct 29, 2019
Schwarzenegger Institute negates their office's emissions with carbon removals (lightning bonus episode #5)

At the University of Southern California, the Schwarzenegger Institute works to find common ground and post-partisan solutions to pressing problems, not least of which is climate change. They participated in the Nori Lightning Sale. Find out why carbon removals is important to their work and why they support Nori in today's bonus episode.

Nori Lightning Sale

Schwarzenegger Institute

Oct 23, 2019
97: Where reforestation & carbon markets meet—w/ Mike Smith & John Cleland of RenewWest

Up to 25% of the world’s carbon emissions can be offset through natural climate solutions, and the #1 channel, both domestically and internationally, is reforestation. Planting trees is obviously a huge market opportunity. But the question is, how do we pay for it? 


Mike Smith and John Cleland are the managing partners of RenewWest, an environmental services company committed to replanting forests in areas burned by wildfire in the American West and financializing the practice through carbon offset markets. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Mike and John join Ross and Christophe to share the team’s three-phase process and explain why reforestation projects are typically disfavored in traditional carbon markets.


Mike and John describe the top challenges forests face, including climate change, disease and fire, and introduce us to the concept of assisted migration risk. Listen in to understand why a Timber Investment Management Organization, or TIMO, Fund is a better way to raise capital for reforestation than private equity and learn how RenewWest is navigating the intersection where ecology and finance meet! 


Key Takeaways


[1:36] Mike’s path to reversing climate change

  • Witness fire on 44K acres in Idaho as kid, bare soil persists
  • RenewWest tackles connection between climate + forestry


[3:39] John’s path to reversing climate change

  • Career in Chicago as commodities trader, launch brokerage
  • Shift to impact investing (opportunity in carbon markets)


[9:29] What Mike & John do at RenewWest

  • Find areas burned by wildfire
  • Work to develop as carbon offset projects


[12:11] The RenewWest three-phase process

  1. Discovery—meet with landowner, create LOI
  2. Pre-development (includes carbon analysis)
  3. Raise capital and plant


[16:12] Why reforestation projects are disfavored in carbon markets

  • Factor of additionality
  • No offset until sequestration happens


[25:10] Venture capital vs. TIMO funding

  • Reforestation doesn’t fit VC timeline, return expectations
  • Long-term play of fund attracts institutional investors


[29:18] The top three challenges forests face

  • Climate change, disease and fire
  • All problems defined by water


[36:40] The obstacles reforestation is up against

  • Carbon markets not seen as investible opportunity
  • Requires long-term investment in green infrastructure
  • Political divisiveness around carbon pricing


[47:44] The concept of assisted migration risk

  • Climate change faster than natural systems adapt
  • Same trees won’t survive (move north or uphill)


[50:57] What John & Mike would like to fix about carbon markets

  • High transactional costs
  • Easier to fund reforestation vs. project development


Connect with Ross & Christophe 



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Nori Lightning Sale


Impact Finance Center

Phil Taylor on RCC EP091

Climate Action Reserve

California Water Action Collaborative

California Environmental Quality Act

Cleantech Open

Greta Thunberg & George Monbiot Video

Blue Forest Conservation

California Compliance Offset Program

1990 Clean Air Act Amendment

Benji Backer on RCC EP074

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Oct 22, 2019
96: Poetry + Science = Conservation—with Hannah Birge & Nelson Winkel of The Nature Conservancy

Farmers use poetry to make decisions, leveraging their deep connection with the land and the wisdom passed down from previous generations. Academics use science to make decisions, leveraging technology to innovate in the land management space. What if we recognized the value in both decision-making processes? What if we respected the farmers’ intuition, yet supported their efforts with tools from science to promote conservation?


Hannah Birge is the Director of Water and Agriculture and Nelson Winkel is the Platte River Prairies Assistant Preserve Manager and Soil Health Specialist with The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. On this episode of Reversing Climate Change, Hannah and Nelson join Ryan and Christophe to discuss the conservation practices farmers are adopting in the Great Plains and explain how The Nature Conservancy supports them with funding, technical support and labor.


Hannah shares her approach to communicating with farmers, discussing the language she uses to navigate differences among stakeholders, and Nelson speaks to the relationship of trust their team works to build with skeptical farmers. Listen in for insight around scaling conservation through farmer-to-farmer learning and find out how The Nature Conservancy is putting theory into practice by helping farmers reduce tillage and leverage precision nutrition management, fertigation and cover crops.


Key Takeaways


[1:18] Hannah’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up working on dairy farms in rural Vermont
  • Conceptual world of soil carbon, ecosystem management
  • Blend academic ideas with practical on-the-ground action


[4:57] Nelson’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up on small organic dairy farm in Wisconsin
  • Large-scale restoration work on diverse cropland


[6:50] What conservation practices farmers are using

  • No-till practices widespread
  • Pockets of precision nutrition management + cover crops


[8:30] Hannah’s approach to communicating with farmers

  • Ask open-ended questions and LISTEN
  • Remove barriers to implement conservation practices


[12:25] The concept of farmer-to-farmer learning

  • Nature Conservancy projects create built-in peer network
  • Target middle-of-the-road farmers to be ambassadors


[13:52] How to get farmers to adopt conservation practices long term

  • Difficult decision in light of razor-thin margins
  • See results ‘through truck window’


[18:06] The ex-ante issue around paying farmers for conservation

  • Only get paid for what already did, need money to start
  • Need prototypes on working farms


[22:19] The Nature Conservancy’s role in working with stakeholders

  • Projects to reduce tillage, incorporate fertigation, etc.
  • Relationship management among disparate interests


[25:43] Hannah’s vision for the future of agriculture 

  • Farmers rewarded for conservation
  • Soil health practices on every acre
  • Tech for irrigation efficiency, nutrition management


[27:47] Hannah’s argument against absolutes

  • Many different pathways to achieve vision
  • Can’t confront values with facts
  • Creatively navigate differences (benefits to both sides)


[32:42] How The Nature Conservancy wins over skeptical farmers

  • Develop relationship of trust
  • Common ground (everyone wants clean water, fresh air)


[35:41] What people don’t know about farmers

  • Incredible technical ability + brilliant economists
  • Manage people/equipment, think on fly and plan ahead


Connect with Ryan & Christophe 



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The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska

The Land Institute

Rick Clark

Wendell Berry

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles C. Mann

Benji Backer on RCC EP074

Clay Govier

Oct 15, 2019
Why Volans supports Nori (lightning bonus episode #4)

Nori has been in touch with the good folks at Volans since our early days. They've offered a lot of help as fellow travelers, not least of which was buying in the Nori Lightning Sale. Learn why they support Nori in this episode with Volans' Executive Director, Louise Kjellerup Roper.

Nori Lightning Sale website

Volans website

Oct 11, 2019
95: Bill McKibben on the once and future climate movement

“I’m optimistic, save for the fact that climate change is the first time-limited problem that we’ve ever really run into. Dr. King would say at the end of speeches ... ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. This may take a while, but we’re going to win.’ The arc of the physical universe is short, and it bends toward heat. We win soon, or we don’t win.”


Bill McKibben is the author and environmentalist credited with penning the first book on climate change written for a general audience, The End of Nature. He is also a founder of, the first global, grassroots climate change movement. Bill was awarded the 2014 Right Livelihood Prize, the 2013 Gandhi Prize and the 2013 Thomas Merton Prize, and he was named to Foreign Policy magazine’s inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers.


Today, Bill joins Ryan and Christophe to discuss his role in the climate movement, explaining what inspired him to start and why he chose that particular number as a target. He shares his view of the fossil fuel industry’s ability to divert the debate on climate change with money and power and addresses the global economy’s continued dependence on fossil fuels. Listen in for Bill’s insight on the powerful history of nonviolent social movements and learn how we can get back to a safe CO2 level of 350 ppm. 


Key Takeaways


[0:59] Bill’s role in the climate movement

  • Wrote first book on climate change for general audience
  • Losing fight to money and power of fossil fuel industry
  • Started with intention to build movement


[4:59] Why Bill chose the number 350

  • Asked Jim Hansen to identify number for global campaign
  • Established that climate change not problem for later


[9:50] Bill’s insight around getting back to 350 ppm

  • No one solution enough to scale (e.g.: planting trees)
  • Must make transition away from coal, gas and oil


[14:28] The role oil and gas companies might play in the solution

  • Incumbents never initiate technological transition
  • Unlikely to see selves as energy service provider


[18:15] The connection between big banks and oil and gas

  • Dramatic increase in lending to fossil fuel industry
  • Financial markets may be lever to pull in climate fight


[20:23] The global economy’s dependence on fossil fuels

  • Capable of shutting off much sooner than planning
  • Need to rapidly replace things we use fossil fuels for


[23:04] Bill’s take on the top two inventions of the 20th century

  • Solar panels 
  • Nonviolent protest


[28:35] The history of victory in social movements

  • Need 4% of people engaged in fight (apathy cuts both ways)
  • First Earth Day led to Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, etc.


[30:59] How Bill thinks about communication strategies 

  • No one key to pitch every message
  • Honesty as useful trait over time


[33:24] Bill’s view of the opposition to the climate movement

  • No serious argument on basic points of climate change
  • Fossil fuel industry diverted debate effectively


Connect with Ryan & Christophe 



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Bill’s Website

Oil and Honey: The Education of an Unlikely Activist by Bill McKibben

The End of Nature by Bill McKibben

Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out? by Bill McKibben

Prairie Festival

The Land Institute

The Land Institute on RCC EP062

Dr. James Hansen

American Geophysical Union

Dr. Hansen’s Paper on the 350 PPM Target

Bill Moomaw’s Article on Forests & Climate Change

Amory Lovins

Bill’s Piece on Big Banks in The New Yorker

Clean Air Act

Clean Water Act

Endangered Species Act

The Paris Agreement

Bill’s Piece on 2050 in Time Magazine

Green New Deal

Sunrise Movement

Oct 08, 2019
BootsnAll & AirTreks is the first Nori Lightning Sale buyer (lightning bonus episode #3)

Sean Keener, cofounder of BootsnAll and chairman of AirTreks, is the first buyer in the Nori Lightning Sale. In this bonus episode, Sean tells us why he chose to support Nori and purchase Carbon Removal Certificates for his businesses.

BoostnAll website

AirTreks website

Nori Lightning Sale website


Oct 04, 2019
Regenerative farmer Trey Hill explains his efforts in the Nori Lightning Sale (lightning bonus episode #2)

Trey Hill of Harborview Farms has been participating in the Nori pilot for cropping soils via regenerative agriculture. The Carbon Removal Certificates now available for purchase in the Nori Lightning Sale have been generated by Trey. Catch up more with Trey on Reversing Climate Change episode #59.

Link to remove carbon with Nori:

Oct 03, 2019
The Nori Lightning Sale is now live! (lightning bonus episode #1)

People can now buy Carbon Removal Certificates from the Nori marketplace. This is the first time this has happened and is the first step in Nori launching its full platform. Nori CEO Paul Gambill is on the show to share the news about the Nori Lightning Sale. This episode is posted on Reversing Climate Change and Carbon Removal Newsroom.

Link to remove carbon with Nori:

Oct 02, 2019
94: Who's Afraid of Water Management?—with Chris Peacock of AQUAOSO

The water utility sector is a fragmented, contentious space. Rather than bringing stakeholders together for comprehensive watershed planning, utilities, municipalities and agricultural players make decisions based on their own best interests. So, how do we encourage collaboration among stakeholders in the water management space? How can we use data and mapping to help utilities, farmers and urban centers make better decisions, ultimately moving water to the right place at the right time based on the broader needs of the community?


Chris Peacock is the CEO of AQUAOSO, A Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to building a water resilient future. Chris and his team use data science and machine learning to offer meaningful insight into water data and provide advanced water risk management and mitigation tools for the agricultural economy. Farmers, brokers, appraisers, lenders and water managers use AQUAOSO tools to identify, understand, monitor and mitigate water-related risks.


Today, Chris joins Alexsandra and Christophe to discuss how he became a water entrepreneur, sharing the challenges associated with innovating in the water management space and the controversial nature of water rights. He explains how AQUAOSO is driving better efficiency in water management, describing the complexities of comprehensive watershed planning and the benefits of geographic information systems (GSI) technology. Listen in to understand the links among water, climate and carbon and learn how Chris is working to disrupt the water industry and transform the way we value H2O as a society!


Key Takeaways


[1:08] How Chris became a water entrepreneur

  • Family business in land development led to interest in water rights
  • Became consultant to water utilities to help understand data
  • Started AQUAOSO to leverage data for better water management


[5:23] Chris’ insights from working on the Water Innovation Project

  • Water utility sector very fragmented, everyone building own solution
  • Just now changing business model to build scalable software solutions


[6:53] The controversial nature of water rights

  • Municipalities buy farmland, move water into utility (seen as stealing)
  • Incentivize farmers to work with utilities, move water to urban centers


[11:26] The idea behind AQUAOSO

  • Help organizations understand financial impact of water scarcity on operations
  • FICO-like score helps lenders understand water risk


[13:29] How AQUAOSO is driving better efficiency in the water management space

  • Out to help build water-resilient future
  • Make better decisions in light of extreme weather, water scarcity, etc.


[15:41] The complexities of watershed planning

  • Fragmented decisions lead to negative impacts on one another
  • Integrated planning brings stakeholders together for better decisions


[17:45] What water efficiency looks like

  • Depends on context (i.e.: river, farm, municipality, building)
  • Move water to right place at right time based on needs of broader community


[19:18] The links among water, climate and carbon

  • Water heavy, expensive to move + takes a lot of energy
  • Opportunity to track cost of pumping and associated carbon footprint


[21:32] Chris’ insight around the benefit of wetlands

  • Use economic incentives to establish new and save existing
  • Financially viable for individuals involved (land stewardship increases value) 


[24:34] How AQUAOSO is designing water markets based on equity

  • Democratization of data (e.g.: small, disadvantaged communities)
  • Serve large institutions AND small landowners 


[26:21] How geographic information systems (GSI) tech works in water management

  • Provides visualization of how water moves around, location of infrastructure
  • Ability to layer information (i.e.: water quality and cost)


[29:16] Chris’ experience as an entrepreneur in the water sector

  • Difficult to figure out scalable business model
  • Sales cycles of up to 18 months require patient capital


[30:56] How entrepreneurs should approach utilities

  • Do NOT come in with message of disruption
  • Meet customer where they are, enhance services provide community


[33:58] How AQUAOSO is disrupting the water industry

  • From financial perspective (customers are banks, not utilities)
  • Tie together financial impact of making better decisions around water


[35:30] Chris’ ultimate goal to transform the way we value water as a society

  • Take social, environmental and capital costs into account
  • Improve decision-making in policy, commodities and social responsibility


[37:30] What’s next for AQUAOSO

  • Expand to Pacific Northwest + industries outside agriculture
  • Become global water risk management platform used across industries


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Damned if We Don’t: Ideas for Accelerating Change Around Water edited by Christopher J. Peacock

Water Innovation Project

Water/Energy Nexus Hackathon


ASU Decision Theater

Nature Conservancy

Chris Peacock on the Water Values Podcast in 2014

Oct 01, 2019
93: Finding Wonder in Waste—with Tony Bova & Jeff Beegle of Mobius

We humans have a waste problem. We design things to do just one job and produce a lot of garbage as a result. Nature, on the other hand, transforms its leftovers into nutrients for the rest of the ecosystem. So, how can we create the same kind of closed-loop system? How can we take organic waste and turn it into a valuable resource?


Tony Bova and Jeff Beegle are the CEO and CSO of Mobius, a mission-driven chemical company focused on eliminating waste by leveraging industrial organic waste streams to create new materials and chemicals. Today, Tony and Jeff join Alexsandra and Christophe to discuss the idea behind Mobius and explain how they are using the lignin stripped from trees by paper companies to make biodegradable plastics for agriculture. 


They define the circular carbon economy, sharing their mission to capture lost carbon and facilitate a closed-loop system. Tony and Jeff also describe what differentiates Mobius from the traditional petrochemical industry and address what barriers to adoption they face. Listen in for insight around the technologies Mobius is developing for the horticulture and nursery industry and learn how they are creating a world where there is wonder in waste!


Key Takeaways


[2:18] Tony’s path to Reversing Climate Change

  • Learned about green chemistry as undergrad (e.g.: ibuprofen)
  • Graduate research on turning waste into valuable materials


[5:35] Jeff’s path to Reversing Climate Change

  • Undergrad in bioengineering, renewable energy tech project
  • Graduate research on poop as feedstock for energy/chemicals


[8:44] The inspiration behind Mobius

  • Paper companies strip lignin and burn or landfill
  • Idea to use lignin to make biodegradable plastics for ag


[13:51] Why we have a ‘waste problem’

  • Produce 400B tons of plastic every year
  • Take-make-waste vs. closed loop system


[15:56] The components of the circular carbon economy

  1. Technical nutrient cycle (i.e.: electronics)
  2. Bio-nutrient cycle


[18:38] The concept of ‘lost carbon’

  • Carbon emitted comes from few sources (e.g.: lignin, food waste)
  • Make into something else rather than burn or landfill


[22:22] The first lignin-based technologies created at Mobius

  • Containers for horticulture, nursery industry
  • Plant seed tray directly in ground (return carbon to soil)


[26:09] How Mobius differs from the current petrochemical industry

  • Traditional industry separates components of petroleum or oil
  • Compounders make pelletized plastics for converters
  • Mobius serves as compounder using waste vs. petroleum


[29:57] The chemistry of brewing beer

  • Leverages concepts science and engineering
  • Set of ingredients, matters how much and when added


[38:54] The barriers to adoption Mobius faces

  • Cost (petroleum and natural gas cheap)
  • Industry existed for long time
  • Different requirements for every application


[45:02] What it means for something to be biodegradable

  • Degrades in natural environment (bacteria, fungi eat as food)
  • Ask where, how much and how long


[49:18] What’s next for Mobius

  • More applications for lignin-based, biodegradable plastics (e.g.: mulch film)
  • Grant from Kroger to turn cooking oil into specific chemicals, plastics


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Circularity 20

Kroger Innovation Fund

Sep 24, 2019
92: How prices and data can communicate climate risk—Sarah Tuneberg of Geospiza

Sarah Tuneberg thinks it’s incredibly unproductive to argue about whether a particular flood or drought was caused by climate change. The fact is, catastrophic events are happening more and more frequently, and we have to take action to mitigate the risks. So, how can we use the data available to us to promote this kind of disaster resilience?


Sarah is the Cofounder and CEO of Geospiza, a software company that helps corporations visualize, understand and take action around climate risks. Sarah has 10-plus years of experience in emergency management and public health, and she is committed to developing data-driven, evidence-based solutions to reduce risk and enhance resilience, especially for the most vulnerable. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Georgia and her Master’s in Public Health from Tulane.


Today, Sarah joins Ross and Christophe to share the Geospiza origin story and discuss what inspired their pivot from serving state and local governments to large, multinational corporations. She offers an example of how a client is using Geospiza software to make strategic business decisions and describes how climate risk is changing the insurance industry as well as contract law. Sarah also addresses ongoing development in risky areas and explains who is likely to bear the brunt of climate change. Listen in for Sarah’s insight around why we don’t take action around disaster resilience and learn why she believes there is nothing natural about so-called natural disasters.


Key Takeaways


[1:04] Sarah’s path to reversing climate change

  • Work in international emergency management
  • Hurricane Katrina led to domestic space
  • Climate change impacts natural hazard environment


[3:53] The Geospiza origin story

  • Government consulting led to development of tech
  • Apply to climate change, natural hazard risks
  • Shift from serving government to large enterprise


[6:28] What inspired Geospiza’s pivot

  • State and local governments fear budget cuts
  • Value human resources over capacity building


[10:47] The argument against the repackaging of free data


[14:00] Why Geospiza focuses on multinational corporations

  • Governments lack organization, cohesion to change
  • Companies trying to mitigate risks of climate change


[15:14] Why it doesn’t matter if climate change caused a specific event

  • Catastrophic events more frequent, unpredictable
  • Must deal with consequences (cause irrelevant)


[18:09] A case study of how clients use Geospiza to change behavior

  • Company’s product touches Rhine twice
  • Unpredictable flow disrupts supply chain
  • Software enables decision-making around delivery


[20:46] The development of risky areas

  • Affordable housing built in places vulnerable to flooding
  • Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, Far Rockaway in NYC


[27:30] Sarah’s insight around flood insurance

  • Only available through federal government
  • Uninsured receive aid from FEMA


[28:38] How hail coverage is likely to change in the near future

  • Unprecedented # of storms in Colorado (10X premiums)
  • Coverage for homes + autos unavailable in 36 months


[32:23] How climate risk is changing the insurance industry

  • Insurance business = large investment companies
  • Count on future earnings from fossil fuels
  • Laws against extraction = trillions in economic loss


[36:46] How climate change will impact contract law 

  • Force majeure clauses eliminated (we know better)


[38:28] Why we don’t take action around disaster resilience

  • Human nature to react to what’s in front of us
  • Doesn’t earn LEED points (separate from sustainability)


[41:39] Our need for a moral mission to combat climate change

  • Same sense of pride, community as 9/11
  • ‘Out group’ necessary to unite us, spur action


[44:02] Who is likely to bear the brunt of climate change

  • Vulnerable populations with least resources 
  • Communities who gain least from CO2 emissions


[45:52] Why Sarah advocates for the term ‘human disasters’

  • ‘Natural’ removes human responsibility
  • Not natural to put people in path of hazards


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Sarah on Twitter

Sarah’s TEDx Talk

The Nature Conservancy


Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead & Kevin Maney

‘This High-Tech Solution to Disaster Response May Be Too Good to Be True’ in The New York Times

One Concern


The Coming Storm by Michael Lewis

‘FEMA Official Arrested for Fraud Over Hurricane Maria Recovery Effort in Puerto Rico’ on CNBC

Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future by Matthew E. Kahn

Beaches, People, and Change: A Political Ecology of Rockaway Beach After Hurricane Sandy by Bryce B. DuBois

New American Haggadah by Jonathan Safran Foer

London Climate Action Week

South Park Season 10 Episode 12: Go God Go

Sep 17, 2019
91: Love, Capital, & Regenerative Ag—with Dr. Philip Taylor of Mad Agriculture

“As we fall in love with the places we depend on, it forces us … to use virtue in all of our transactions, business and otherwise. And when we start building in love and empathy and compassion and reciprocity into every transaction that we make, the world will inevitably become a more beautiful place and things like climate change will go away.”


Dr. Phil Taylor is the Cofounder and Executive Director of Mad Agriculture, a venture that aims to restore our relationship with Earth through the story, community and the practice of good agriculture. Mad Ag works on-the-ground with producers to design Regenerative Farm Plans, heal mismanaged landscapes, and help farmers and ranchers thrive—ecologically and economically. Phil is also a fellow at the University of Colorado, where he teaches The Future of Food in the Masters of the Environment Food Systems program. 


Today, Phil joins Christophe and Alexsandra to explain climate change is a symptom of the deep disconnection between humans and our dependency on the Earth. He describes how Mad Agriculture was inspired by the poems of Wendell Berry, discussing the challenges the organization faces in calling for a radical reworking of the economy. Phil also offers insight into how the organization builds trust with growers and helps them break away from commodities markets. Listen in to understand how Mad Ag is catalyzing the transition to regenerative farming with a combination of capital and radical love.


Key Takeaways


[1:19] Phil’s path to reversing climate change

  • Desire to heal broken system (selves, land and relationships)
  • Climate change = symptom of disconnection with Earth


[3:57] What inspired Phil to study soil science

  • Enthralled by Earth’s beauty, learn how it works
  • Academic work not relevant to real world problems


[5:50] The origin of Mad Agriculture

  • Inspired by Mad Farmer poems of Wendell Berry
  • Call to radical reworking of economy


[7:15] The greatest challenges facing Mad Agriculture

  • Global market forces drive destruction
  • Hard to see system, takes courage to live outside


[11:43] What Mad Agriculture does

  • Help farmers thrive with regenerative ag (ecological + financial wealth)
  • Holistic design optimizes carbon coming into system
  • Provide access to community, money and markets


[18:13] How farmers can break away from commodities markets

  • Grow directly for brands
  • Monetize ecosystem services


[21:29] How Mad Agriculture approaches growers

  • Build trust with farmers
  • Understand every farm very different


[25:27] Why the transition to regenerative ag is slow

  • Difficult to break out of current system
  • Culturally less apt to take risks


[28:23] How Phil thinks about catalyzing change

  • Offer examples of respected farmers (e.g.: Steve Tucker)
  • Tour diversified land, innovative practices


[31:44] Mad Agriculture’s theory of change

  • Help people fall in love with their place
  • Develop inherent sense of reciprocity
  • Diversity leads to resilience (markets and climate)


[33:25] Phil’s insight around the grain revival

  • Staple crops that enrich earth rather than deplete
  • Rising wave of re-regionalization of rural areas


[37:42] The new agrarian culture 

  • Hyperconscious of inescapable bond with Earth
  • Understanding of dependence leads to affection


[39:39] What’s next for Mad Agriculture

  • Work with Boulder County farmers transition to regenerative
  • Bring 12,500 acres to Nori marketplace
  • Build Perennial Fund (capital for transition to organic)


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Mad Agriculture

Email or 

The Mad Farmer Poems by Wendell Berry

Carbon Cycle Institute


Marin Carbon Project

The Biggest Little Farm

Naturally Boulder

Gabe Brown


Regen Way Walk

Propagate Ventures

Steve Tucker

Green Cover Seed

The Land Institute

Robyn O’Brien

rePlant Capital

Hayden Flour Mills

Bluebird Grain Farms

Camas Country Mill

Anson Mills


Circularity 19

Charles Eisenstein

It All Turns on Affection: The Jefferson Lecture and Other Essays by Wendell Berry


Sep 10, 2019
90: Restoring Community & Climate Through Place-Based Economics—with Eric Kornacki

We live in a culture that stresses achievement and promotes the mythology of the rugged individual. And as a result, we feel increasingly isolated, viewing life as a series of transactions rather than relationships. We’ve forgotten that our actions have consequences on other people—and the planet. What if we made an effort to develop community with our neighbors and take care of each other? What if we created place-based economies to serve the needs of our own communities? Economies that work without exploiting other people or the environment?


Eric Kornacki is the President and CEO of THRIVE Partners, an organization created to provide communities with the tools to establish healthy, resilient, inclusive and vibrant economies. He is also the former Executive Director of Re:Vision, a venture that transformed one of Denver’s most marginalized neighborhoods by cultivating community food systems and developing a place-based economy. Today, Eric joins Christophe and Alexsandra to explain how a community college English class sparked his interest in the relationship between economic development and environmental degradation. He discusses his decision to invest in his own community first, rather than pursuing work in developing countries.


Eric describes Re:Vision’s work around food insecurity in southwest Denver, sharing how the community has changed through the development of a place-based economy. He also walks us through the neighborhood’s decision to create a food cooperative that keeps more than $11M in the community every year. Listen in for Eric’s insight into the connection between consciousness and climate change—and learn how THRIVE is working to create a movement that inspires other communities to implement a village economy.


Key Takeaways


[0:26] What sparked Eric’s interest in climate change

  • Drew economic development + environmental degradation as topics for paper
  • Inspired to create economy that works for people but doesn’t destroy planet


[3:42] Eric’s path to Reversing Climate Change

  • Degree in economics and international development
  • Solve problems on ground in developing countries
  • Discovered Schumacher’s idea of village economics


[8:13] Why Eric chose to work in Denver vs. overseas

  • Unethical to implement solutions without facing consequences
  • Decision to invest in own community first


[10:52] Re:Vision’s work in southwest Denver

  • Build relationships by addressing food insecurity
  • Develop largest community food system in country (2,000 gardens)
  • Create jobs in community with leadership opportunities


[15:38] How the community has changed through Re:Vision

  • Transformation from fear and isolation to trust and connection
  • Hope and possibility result of activating underused human capital


[19:39] The downside of our cultural focus on achievement

  • See life as series of transactions rather than relationships
  • Forget actions have consequences on other people + planet
  • Must develop higher consciousness to solve climate change


[23:48] The framework of a place-based economy

  • No export until needs met locally
  • Put other’s needs before own


[25:29] How Eric found the early adopters to start Re:Vision

  • Conversations where community already gathering (i.e.: parent groups)
  • Move to community to demonstrate ownership


[28:35] The role of the promotoras within Re:Vision

  • Community health workers (Central American strategy)
  • Lived experience viewed as important, give knowledge tools needed


[29:45] How a place-based economy keeps money in the community

  • Neighborhood losing $16M/year shopping for groceries elsewhere
  • Create cooperative owned by community rather than chain grocery store


[32:45] How the Re:Vision coop deals with seasonality

  • Sell vegetables in spring, summer and fall 
  • Indoor hydroponic farm and work with other vendors in winter


[34:21] How the coop concept has expanded beyond food

  • Nanny and community language coops have emerged
  • Local businesses serve needs of own community


[36:19] The idea behind Eric’s new venture, THRIVE

  • Create movement to help other communities develop place-based economies


[37:06] How Eric’s work connects to climate change

  • Re-localize economies, plant idea of relationships + connectedness
  • Model of resilience + self-sufficiency should global food system break down


[41:56] Eric’s challenge for Reversing Climate Change listeners

  • Put down phone, get plugged in where live


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Eric’s TEDx Talk

EF Schumacher

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by EF Schumacher

Books by Eckhart Tolle

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Books by Wendell Berry

The Maritime Northwest Garden Guide by Carl Elliott and Rob Peterson

Sep 03, 2019
89: Bioreactors, deploy! Turning nutrient runoff into fish food—with microTERRA

What’s the value in pitching your biomimicry solution to the guy selling you a wrench at Home Depot? Or explaining the overall vision for how your bioreactor will harvest microalgae to the field workers tasked with helping you build it? For the team at microTERRA, engaging the community in developing solutions is key to making important connections and leveraging the strengths of all involved to build the best possible system for removing pollutants from our waterways.


Marissa Cuevas, Mariana Elías, and Paola Constantino are the CEO, Project Manager and CTO of microTERRA, a sustainability startup building onsite water treatment systems with microalgae. The microTERA technology transforms wastewater into a sustainable protein source while cleaning the water. Today, Marissa, Mariana and Paola join Christophe and Alexsandra to share the microTERRA origin story and discuss how they are using a mix of biomimicry and technology to heal the planet.


Marissa, Mariana, and Paula explain how the microTERRA bioreactors turn the excess nitrogen and phosphorous in our waterways into fish food. They also describe their experiences in launching the microTERRA pilot in Mexico, discussing what they learned about leveraging every voice on the team to create a community of creative problem-solving. Listen in for insight around the pros and cons of sustainability policy for a biomimicry business like microTERRA and learn how they plan to scale their solution, first in Mexico and then around the globe.


Key Takeaways


[2:05] The microTERRA origin story

  • Learn risk of nitrogen and phosphorous in waterways
  • Connection between waste management and water
  • Concepts of synthetic biology (use nature to heal planet)


[4:56] How Mariana got involved with microTERRA

  • Background in biology and engineering
  • Restore waterways, scale up with technical systems


[7:32] How Paula got involved with microTERRA

  • Study sustainability at remote village in Netherlands
  • Leverage community to connect with common goal


[9:24] The fundamental ideas behind microTERRA

  • Animal manure, fertilizer = biggest water pollutant
  • Microalgae takes excess nutrients + turn into biomass
  • Harvest microalgae rather than letting die in water


[12:34] How the microTERRA bioreactors work 

  • Serve as house for microalgae to live and thrive
  • 17L capacity, installed in rows like solar panels


[13:59] The microTERRA business model

  • Use biomimicry to create high-quality fish feed
  • Sell to aquaculture farmers


[15:25] The microTERRA pilot adventure

  • Build bioreactors from scratch + prove assumptions
  • Manage materials and people (interns and farmers)


[18:07] What the microTERRA team learned from the pilot

  • Leverage every voice, strengths of each person
  • Engage community in solutions


[23:32] How microTERRA plans to scale their solution

  • Enormous risk in scale (one sick microalgae infects all)
  • Unite patch system with continuous flow 
  • Use known materials from ag sector for hardware


[30:10] What’s next for microTERRA

  • Build strategic partnerships, deploy tech on large scale
  • Potential to develop feed for pork, poultry and cows


[33:41] What it’s like to be an entrepreneur in Mexico

  • Flexible + dynamic creative problem-solving
  • Fewer regulations to comply with
  • Community contributes through connections
  • Challenge to find investors, less awareness


[37:42] The pros and cons of sustainability policy

  • Deploying microTERRA in US requires FDA approval
  • Clean water = positive externality in absence of regs


[41:34] The difference between the lab and the pilot

  • Train team in lab around startup timeline
  • Create value for business vs. research


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Singularity University


Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Klaus Lackner’s Paper on Modular Infrastructure

The Nature Conservancy



Vote for Nori on Verge

Jim Giles on Carbon Removal Newsroom EP023

Aug 27, 2019
88: How Slow Money Works...and when not to say "fiduciary"—Woody Tasch

There is more to life than money. But even the investors who believe that sentiment continues to feed the beast, putting much of their capital back into a system that thrives on consumption. What if we considered the impact of our investments as much as the returns? What if we designed our capital markets around restoration rather than extraction? What if we put Slow Money into local food systems and made soil health part of our ROI? 

Woody Tasch is the founder of the Slow Money Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital to local food systems, connecting investors to the places where they live. He is also the author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money and SOIL: Notes Towards the Theory and Practice of Nurture Capital.  Today, Woody joins Ross and Christophe to discuss how he developed the idea of Slow Money and explore the reasons why we can’t seem to get our money out of the markets and do something radically different with it—especially foundations whose investments are out of alignment with their missions. 

Woody introduces us to the concepts of innate value and shared risk, explaining how Wendell Berry’s ideas around belonging to a community inform his work on investing locally. He also covers the idea of blended value, weighing in on the non-financial aspects of sharing risk with farmers. Listen in for Woody’s distinction between agrobusiness and agriculture—and learn how Slow Money’s 0% loan program is growing a pool of capital and restoring soil health!


Key Takeaways


[1:13] Woody’s path to reversing climate change

  • 35 years in philanthropy, angel investing
  • Introduced to green revolution in 1979
  • Moved $75M into 750 small organic farms


[6:46] How Woody developed the idea of Slow Money

  • Greatest accumulation of wealth in history
  • Yet don’t take money out of system
  • Need to think long-term (generationally)


[13:17] Why few foundations align their investments + mission

  • Focus on making money to have more to give away
  • Bought into market growth as only way to grow assets


[16:34] Why divestment campaigns don’t totally work

  • Existing structure of foundations hard to deconstruct
  • Lose sight of innate value and shared risk


[21:58] How Woody defines shared risk 

  • Similar to CSA model (buy share of farm’s produce)
  • Admit to risk and take on piece, ‘all in it together’


[24:01] Woody’s insight around blended value

  • Continuum from giving money away to VC
  • Explore relationship with impact continuum


[25:27] Woody’s take on the non-financial aspects of shared risk

  • Neighbor’s barn burns down, loan money without interest
  • Investing in community makes innate value obvious


[30:06] What keeps Americans from realizing Berry’s vision

  • Urge to conquer, extract and exploit
  • Lack of belonging to places we live


[36:18] The difference between agriculture and agrobusiness

  • Farmers like Eliot Coleman = connection to land
  • Large-scale industrial ag (45 minutes/acre/year)


[41:52] Slow Money’s SOIL 0% Loan Program in Boulder

  • Individuals make annual donations of $250 to $50K
  • Grows pool of capital over time + builds soil fertility


Connect with Ross & Christophe



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Slow Money Institute


Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered by Woody Tasch

SOIL: Notes Towards the Theory and Practice of Nurture Capital by Woody Tasch

International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center

The Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture by Wendell Berry

Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered by E.F. Schumacher

‘Microplastics are Raining Down from the Sky’ in National Geographic

‘It’s Raining Plastic: Microscopic Fibers Fall from the Sky in Rocky Mountains’ in The Guardian

Video Game Addiction on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

John Elkington on Reversing Climate Change EP028

John Doerr

Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

Carlo Petrini & Slow Food

Jed Emerson & Blended Value

Joel Salatin

Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long by Eliot Coleman

Eliot Coleman

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Aug 20, 2019
87: The Ends of the World—with Peter Brannen

“It’s not over yet. We still have time to save the planet, but it is worrying that—especially going forward—where in the past a lot of our damage has been done by hunting, now we’re starting to pull these levers that are really responsible for the worst things that have happened in Earth history, these big injections of CO2. So, before we go too far down that road, because we know it leads [to mass extinction], we should consult the rocks and learn what they have to tell us.”


Peter Brannen is an award-winning science journalist with expertise in ocean science, deep time, astrobiology and the carbon cycle. Peter’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic and The Washington Post, among many other media outlets, and he is the author of the acclaimed The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions. Today, Peter joins Ross and Christophe to walk us through the five major mass extinctions in Earth’s history, discussing what events triggered each extinction and how plant and animal life changed each time.


Peter covers the current threat to coral reefs and shares his definition of fossil fuels, explaining how past mass extinctions generated the fossil fuels we use today. Listen in for Peter’s insight around the eerie shadow of extinction that follows human migration and find out what we can learn about managing the carbon cycle from previous extinctions to avert another ‘end of times.’


Key Takeaways


[1:46] How to think about the scale of geology and deep time 

  • Frame one footstep as century of time
  • Walk 20 miles/day for four years to beginning of Earth’s history


[6:25] The Ordovician mass extinction (445M years ago)

  • Underwater animal life gets off ground, reefs take off
  • Ice age drops sea level and causes 85% of life to go extinct


[11:18] The Late Devonian mass extinction (375M years ago)

  • Age of fish + first life appears on land
  • Trees as mechanism of mass extinction, initiate ice age 


[14:43] The End-Permian mass extinction (252M years ago)

  • Big reptiles, animals related to mammals and reefs in oceans
  • 96% of life wiped out by extreme volcanic eruptions


[19:50] How the Earth recovered after the End-Permian 

  • Took 10M years to recoup, miserable time
  • Life looks totally different in aftermath


[20:49] The ‘Permian Jr.’ mass extinction (200M years ago)

  • Volcanic event causes breakup of Pangea
  • Sets reign of dinosaurs in motion


[22:27] The instantaneous nature of the asteroid extinction

  • May have taken < 20 minutes (hot as pizza oven)
  • Less than 50K years considered fast geologically


[27:00] The current threat to the coral reefs

  • Devastating bleaching events + acidification
  • Tend to get wiped out in mass extinctions 
  • Supply 25% of Earth’s biodiversity


[31:30] Peter’s definition of fossil fuels

  • What happens when life preserved in rocks for long time
  • Humans undo photosynthesis by releasing CO2


[32:40] What role mass extinctions play in generating fossil fuels

  • Natural gas fracked today victim of Late Devonian
  • Organic matter preserved at bottom of ocean


[34:36] What characterizes the current potential extinction

  • Modern humans show up 300K years ago
  • Eerie shadow of extinction follows where people go
  • Foot on accelerator now but still time to avert


[41:38] Why it doesn’t matter if humans cause the rise in CO2

  • Geopolitical implications of immigration once tropics uninhabitable
  • Wet bulb temperature = no way to cool off, die of overheating


[45:20] What we can learn about changing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses from previous mass extinctions

  • Sequester CO2 in basalt rock, turn to limestone
  • Same process cooled Earth 200M years ago


[47:08] Why Peter has cause to be optimistic

  • Use information to energize vs. get depressed
  • Area of opportunity for carbon removal industry


Connect with Ross & Christophe



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Peter’s Website

Peter on Twitter

The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions by Peter Brannen

Techstars Sustainability Accelerator

Lee Kump

National Center for Atmospheric Research

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Dr. David Goldberg on RCC EP004

‘We Need to Capture Carbon to Fight Climate Change’ in Nature

Paris Agreement

Aug 13, 2019
86: For what shall it profit a congressman to act on climate but lose his seat?—Bob Inglis of republicEn

The Biblical Doctrine of Dominion engages Christians as stewards of the planet. Which faith communities embrace this message as a call to climate action? And how can we inspire more conservatives with Christian values to realize that we’re disrupting the balance the Creator intended and advocate for climate solutions?


Bob Inglis is a former Republican congressman representing South Carolina and the current Executive Director of republicEN, an EcoRight organization that supports a free market approach to climate change. Today, Bob joins Ross and Christophe to share the three-step metamorphosis that inspired his belief in climate change. He defines conservatism, discussing the link between Christianity and climate action and explaining why current conservative politics don’t reflect Christian values.


Bob weighs in on what the climate movement gets wrong when it comes to messaging and offers insight around how conservatives and progressives can come together, using climate change as a way out of the current polarization in politics. Listen in for Bob’s take on the pros and cons of voluntary offsets, cap and trade, and a carbon tax and learn why he believes America will lead the world to climate solutions!


Key Takeaways


[1:09] Bob’s path to Reversing Climate Change 

  • Climate denier for 6 years as congressman
  • Son urged to clean up act on environment


[2:59] Bob’s 3-step metamorphosis on climate change

  1. Wife and kids advocate for change
  2. Science education in Antarctica (evidence in ice core)
  3. Spiritual awakening at Great Barrier Reef


[9:12] How Bob defines conviction

  • Courage to admit when wrong
  • Grow + adapt with new information


[11:34] How Bob defines conservatism

  • Free enterprise solutions constrained by moral system
  • Look to answers rooted in faith and family
  • Accountability (pay for what you take)


[19:51] What the climate movement’s messaging gets wrong 

  • Communicates dislike and superiority
  • Approach with respect, message of hope
  • Solution aversion leads to rejection of science


[28:57] The link between climate action and Christianity

  • Young believers embrace message of stewardship
  • Dominion of service as modeled by Jesus


[34:27] How current conservative politics don’t reflect Christianity

  • ‘Nature of God revealed in things made’
  • Franklin Graham comments on immigration


[40:53] Bob’s take on voluntary carbon offsets

  • Step toward internalization of negative externalities
  • Havoc comes from lack of responsibility 
  • True cost in marketplace speed pace of innovation
  • Need government to step in as honest cop
  • Pave way for better tech, take away subsidies


[49:09] Bob’s insight on cap and trade vs. carbon tax

  • Voted against complicated Waxman-Markey 
  • For simple carbon tax (fee for ‘trash in sky’)
  • Need for consistency across US 


[53:46] How conservatives and progressives can collaborate

  • Polarization sure to pass (orthodoxies fluid)
  • Come together on climate action as model


[1:01:38] How the Green New Deal inspired conservative action

  • Enter competition of ideas, small government footprint
  • Bring America together to lead world to solution


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Join republicEN

Donal Manahan

Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center

Dr. Scott Heron

Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2009

Jack Kemp: The Bleeding-Heart Conservative Who Changed America by Morton Kondracke and Fred Barnes

Edmund Burke

Benji Backer on Reversing Climate Change EP074

Joel Salatin on Reversing Climate Change EP072

“Could the Ancient Jewish Practice of Shmita Be a New Tool for Sustainable Agriculture?” in Salon

Young Evangelicals for Climate Action

“Evangelist Franklin Graham Says Immigration ‘Not a Bible Issue.’ Bible Says He’s Wrong” in The Washington Post

Waxman-Markey Bill

Niskanen Center

R Street Institute

ClearPath Foundation

Alliance for Market Solutions

Green New Deal

Aug 06, 2019
85: The Gang Learns about Permaculture—with Blacksheep's Joshua Hughes, Sara Czarniecki, & Amanda Wilson

On 20 acres of formerly eroded land in Costa Rica grows turmeric, ginger and beans. Above that is a vineyard with superfood nuts. Above that are cacao trees, and above that grow trees for lumber. Permaculture is being used to regenerate the soil and build a profitable cooperative owned by the 150 people who live and work there.


Joshua Hughes, Sara Czarniecki, and Amanda Wilson are the CEO, COO, and CMO of Blacksheep, a regenerative resource management cooperative taking direct action against landbase destruction by investing in natural capital. Today, Joshua, Sarah and Amanda join Ross and Christophe to define permaculture and explain how Blacksheep began with the intention to recover that 20 acres of eroded land—and how the business has grown since then.


Joshua, Sarah, and Amanda weigh in on the structure of Blacksheep as a cooperative, describing how they make collaborative decisions and how ownership is divided among the group. They also discuss Blacksheep’s value-add approach to market access and how they think about certified organic and regenerative labels. Listen in for the Blacksheep philosophy around voting every day with your actions and learn how you can invest in their efforts to promote permaculture and regenerative business!


Key Takeaways


[1:43] How the Blacksheep team defines permaculture 

  • Philosophy of systems design
  • Stacking of functions (interoperability)


[6:07] The Blacksheep origin story

  • Joshua moved to farm in Costa Rica in 2006
  • Intention to recover eroded land


[12:01] Joshua’s insight around dams

  • Serve as giant biodigester
  • Produce methane similar to coal plant


[13:54] How the Blacksheep cooperative has grown

  • Invested with 10 friends and family
  • 150 people share ownership today


[15:34] Why cooperatives aren’t more common

  • Prevalent in late 1800’s (crushed by banks)
  • ‘People bring A game when part of things’


[18:07] How the Blacksheep team makes decisions

  • Collaborate, trust people with expertise
  • No formalized structure or bureaucracy


[20:53] Why the Blacksheep team is fundraising now

  • Weave together more cooperative action
  • Finance farmer’s needs (e.g.: processing facilities)
  • Activate businesses that do right thing


[25:20] Blacksheep’s value-add approach to market access

  • Processing facility to support ethical standards
  • Build brand to sell organic products in States


[28:32] How the Blacksheep team thinks about labeling

  • Securing USDA certified organic label
  • Regenerative label may exclude local farmers


[30:06] Josh’s insight around accessibility to quality food

  • 75% of world’s economy = personal relationships
  • Need investment from people with means


[32:25] The term Banana Republic

  • Countries didn’t have power to fight private tyranny 
  • US + Europe dissolved jungle, exploited all energy


[34:08] The idea that nothing exists in a vacuum 

  • Every decision impacts world as whole
  • Not just about private homestead


[39:07] The Blacksheep elevator pitch to investors 

  • Good forestry work, farming leads to profits
  • Carbon negative shipping with SAILCARGO 


[42:01] Blacksheep’s approach to community governance

  • Tired of waiting for someone at top to fix
  • Build alternative (vote every day with actions)
  • Create democratic systems within company


[45:21] Blacksheep’s direct + indirect impact

  • Successful business that proves model works
  • Inspire others to take similar action
  • Funnel institution money to regenerative business


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Bullock’s Permaculture Homestead

Community Supported Agriculture

Permaculture: A Designers’ Manual by Bill Mollison

Edward Abbey

John Stuart Mill


Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated, and Battling the Corporate Elite by Bruce E. Levine

Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America by Walter LaFeber

William Walker


Aspen Ideas Festival

David Attenborough

Jul 30, 2019
84: Good Biomass, Bad Biomass: Giant Reed Edition—Wendy Owens of Hexas Biomass

When it comes to biomass, giant reed ticks all the boxes. It’s a perennial grass that grows in marginal soil. It meets renewable fuel standards and sequesters a substantial amount of carbon. Not only that, giant reed revitalizes soil and facilitates an extremely high yield. So, what are its applications? Is there any downside to using it as raw material for products or fuel?


Wendy Owens is the founder and CEO of Hexas Biomass, a producer and distributor of sustainable biomass that can supplement or replace wood in multiple applications. Wendy’s team is dedicated to using sun, water and land to benefit people and the planet through renewable resources. Today, she joins Ross to discuss the process of growing giant reed for use in products or to produce energy. 


Wendy explains why giant reed does not displace food crops, describing how it takes up chemicals in the soil and facilitates carbon capture. She also addresses the trees displaced by giant reed, the concerns around bioremediation, and the risk of giant reed becoming an invasive species. Listen in for insight on how Hexas Biomass serves as an ecospecies bank and learn about their partnership with IKEA to replace a portion of the wood in its particle board with giant reed!


Key Takeaways


[0:54] Wendy’s path to reversing climate change 

  • Experience in materials engineering and biotech
  • Giant reed = ecologically sound plant with multiple applications


[2:13] What attracted Wendy to the giant reed

  • Positive impact on soil and environment
  • Least land necessary for highest biomass
  • Sequesters substantial amount of carbon


[4:30] Why giant reed does not displace food crops

  • Grows in marginal soil, high salt content and wastewater
  • Revitalizes soil and gives farmers income


[5:52] The benefits of producing giant reed

  • Take up chemicals and put nutrients into rhizome
  • Harvest green to use in digestor to produce energy


[7:45] How Hexas Biomass serves as a producer and distributor of giant reed

  • Ecospecies bank of ecotypes
  • Project to replace portion of wood in IKEA particle board


[9:05] Wendy’s insight on the trees displaced by giant reed

  • Wood from public lands (retire trees vs. cut down)


[11:08] A comparison of giant reed vs. tree yields

  • 3K—5K tons per big tree (40-year life cycle)
  • 2K tons per 100 acres of giant reed in single year 
  • 50X more biomass of giant reed in 80 years


[12:27] The perennial nature of giant reed

  • Plant once and harvest multiple times (i.e.: grass in yard)
  • Low maintenance, high yield and pest resistant


[13:47] The potential uses for giant reed

  • Replacement for wood (furniture, flooring, energy pellets)
  • 3X more ethanol per acre than corn


[18:11] The trend in manufacturing around finding nearby fuel sources

  • In service of energy independence
  • Hexas policy to grow within 60 miles of manufacturing facility


[20:38] The Hexas Biomass ecospecies bank

  • Collections of types of giant reed used to growing in certain conditions
  • Apply to new locations that work best (highest yield, fewest resources)


[22:44] How Hexas mitigates the risk of giant reed becoming an invasive species

  • Create buffer zones and monitor with drones
  • Chipped up to point where can’t grow


[27:03] How giant reed crops facilitate carbon capture

  • Rhizome serves as energy storage facility, grow more stalks next year
  • Don’t till soil every year (keeps carbon in ground for 20-year life cycle)


[32:02] The Hexas Biomass business model

  • Find customer wants to use giant reed to replace wood
  • Long-term contract with farmers not using land (rural revitalization)


[34:26] Wendy’s insight on the risks around bioremediation

  • Depends upon application (Will pollutant remain inert?)
  • Effort to apply to new purpose without causing harm


[38:05] What’s next for Hexas Biomass 

  • Promote opportunity to glean more customers
  • Pursue partnerships with timber companies


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Hexas Biomass

The Land Institute

The Land Institute on RCC EP062

PGE Study on Replacing Coal with Giant Reed

Using Closed-loop Biomass to Displace Coal at Portland General Electric's Boardman Power Planet Carbon Implications

Jul 23, 2019
83: Thaddeus Russell vs. environmentalism

Thaddeus Russell has always loved nature, and he is a fan of clean air and water. But he hates composting toilets, and he’s sick of environmentalists telling him what he should and should not do. In fact, he’s got an issue with the whole idea of sacrificing pleasure and freedom for the sake of the planet. Is there a way to address climate change without bringing morality into it? Can we reduce emissions without all the guilt and personal shaming? 


Thaddeus is the creator of Renegade University, the host of the Unregistered Podcast, and the author of A Renegade History of the United States. He argues that American society has been defined not by the elites and intellectuals, but by the rebels who challenged conventions, expanded the realm of desire, and created our personal freedoms. Thaddeus is a former history and philosophy professor with a PhD from Columbia University, and his work has appeared in Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and New York Magazine, among many other publications.


Today, Thaddeus joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain why he takes issue with the environmental movement. He challenges the moralist approach to political problems, describing how environmentalists leverage guilt and shame individual choices—while ignoring big emitters like the US military. Thaddeus also offers an overview of the Progressive Era, discussing the historical efforts to eliminate cultural diversity in the US and sharing his take on the parallels between progressives and environmentalists. Listen in for insight on what Thad sees as the anti-immigrant roots of the top environmental organizations and learn why Thaddeus believes in Nori’s hypothesis around leveraging greed to solve climate change.


Key Takeaways


[2:22] Thaddeus’ path to reversing climate change 

  • Grew up with radical socialist parents, loved nature + backpacking
  • Introduced to ecological movement in college (anarcho-communist)
  • Problem with deep ecology’s antagonism toward human beings


[10:25] The problem with a moralist approach to political problems

  • Anti-intellectual and anti-science, no need to study issue
  • Requires change in people’s character in order to solve


[13:23] An overview of the Progressive Era (1880’s to 1920’s)

  • Formed by intellectuals in response to ‘immigration problem’
  • Opened settlement houses as assimilation factories
  • Based on Puritan ideals (e.g.: selflessness, aversion to pleasure)


[22:04] The historical efforts to annihilate black and gay culture in the US

  • Project of Reconstruction to eliminate slave culture (music, dance)
  • Gay, black leaders promote assimilation to achieve equal rights


[26:26] Thaddeus’ take on how rulers think

  • Small group wants to manage people, give control to experts
  • Primary problem to control citizens + merge identity with society
  • Censor and punish pleasure-seeking (e.g.: rock-and-roll music)


[35:06] The progressive concept of social engineering

  • Conflict between rulers and people around bodies, desires
  • Assimilation + integration essential for order, efficiency + control


[44:25] The central role of guilt in the environmental movement

  • Moralize against greed, tell people what should/shouldn’t want
  • Rich person’s project (Americans have resources, time for guilt)
  • Evangelical Christian idea of living simply to be close to God


[48:02] The argument for centralized control to solve climate change

  • Reduce emissions with massive social engineering
  • Comparison to World War II (65M people died)


[51:52] Thaddeus’ view of climate change as a ‘phantom menace’

  • Useful to have abstract problem that can’t be seen
  • Greed in all of us = unseen enemy to eradicate


[58:00] The idea that oil & gas and big ag will solve climate change

  • Technology and deregulation revolutionized mass media
  • Leverage greed to fix problem, make life better + cheaper


[1:05:25] Why sustainability and open borders cannot coexist

  • Environmental organizations historically anti-immigration
  • Finite number of people any one locality can sustain


[1:12:25] Changing systems vs. the character of people

  • Criminal justice solved by shift in law (e.g.: legalize drugs)
  • Environmentalism concerned with personal shaming


[1:17:44] How the military and big ag contribute to emissions

  • US military one of top polluters, land use change = 20%
  • Individual actions alone not enough to reduce CO2


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Thaddeus’ Website

Renegade University

Unregistered Podcast

Unregistered Underground

A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell

Sierra Club

Slavoj Zizek

Murray Bookchin: The Ecology of Freedom

Edward Abbey

Hull House

The Man in the High Castle

Freedmen’s Bureau

Martin Luther King, Jr. Index of Sermon Topics

Andrew Sullivan

Larry Kramer

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas S. Kuhn

Books by James C. Scott

Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott

Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud

Cotton Mather

‘The Empty Radicalism of the Climate Apocalypse’ by Ted Nordhaus

Dr. James E. Hansen

Pol Pot

Bill McKibben

Naomi Klein

‘How Much Land Does a Man Need?’ by Leo Tolstoy

Rupert Murdoch

FCC Fairness Doctrine

David Brower

Kuznets Curve

Environmental Defense Fund

Jul 16, 2019
82: Better Farming Through Data—with Dr. Emma Fuller of Granular

You can only manage what you measure. And sophisticated sensors on modern tractors and combines offer growers an immense amount of environmental data. How can farmers put that data together in a meaningful way and use it to drive decision-making? Can we use that data to reward the growers who are already engaging in sustainable practices—and incentivize those who are interested in pursuing environmental stewardship?


Dr. Emma Fuller is a Lead Data Scientist with Granular, a farm management software company working to apply data science to the agriculture industry. In her role, Emma tracks consumer trends in sustainability and works with NGOs and startups to identify opportunities for Granular growers to get rewarded for their stewardship. Today, Emma joins Christophe and Michael Leggett, Director of Product at Nori, to discuss the partnership between Granular and Nori and share their pilot program’s progress to date.


Emma introduces us to Granular’s suite of farm management software and offers insight around the current trends in big ag and innovations in data collection for growers. She also addresses the way farmers think about climate change, offering insight on the best way to approach growers around adopting sustainable practices. Listen in to understand how Nori and Granular are working together to reward growers, tying financial incentives to environmental outcomes!


Key Takeaways


[2:07] Emma’s path to reversing climate change 

  • PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology
  • Study commercial fisheries, policy incentives
  • Work in commercial quantity ag led to Nori


[5:29] The mission of Granular

  • Help growers run strong businesses, steward land
  • Software for business, agronomy + land acquisition


[7:35] Emma’s insight on the top trends in big ag

  1. Increasing consolidation
  2. Generational change
  3. Pressure from consumers (e.g.: transparency)


[9:08] Emma’s role with Granular

  • Move from data wizard to product strategy
  • Identify opportunities to drive value for growers


[12:05] The lack of incentive structure around sustainability

  • Buyers request data from growers
  • No compensation in return (i.e.: long-term contract)


[15:25] The consumer challenge around food labeling

  • Terms used in marketing, no legal definition
  • Arguments around regenerative ag labeling


[19:14] Innovations in data collection on farms

  • Sensors on sophisticated tractors, combines
  • Fine-scale satellite imagery (drones)
  • Farm management software 


[24:25] What’s driving change in big ag

  • Consolidation (30K-acre family farms)
  • Mechanization facilitates efficiency


[29:53] The debate around small vs. large farms

  • Row crop margins $1 to $5 per acre
  • Power imbalance in how market food


[34:05] How farmers think about climate change

  • Hyper-aware of year-to-year weather conditions
  • Communication breaks down when villainized
  • Data gives opportunity to tell story of stewardship


[38:57] How to approach farmers about the Nori pilot

  • Validate those already engaged in stewardship
  • Financial incentive to change practices


[42:34] The partnership between Granular and Nori

  • Granular offers detailed data + way to reach farmers
  • Nori provides additional value for data collected


[47:34] The current status of the Nori pilot program

  • Offer Granular customers opportunity to participate
  • Improve processes around data translation


[52:28] How the Nori pilot is likely to evolve

  • Enroll more farmers + automate data transfer
  • Independent third-party verification adds value


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Emma on LinkedIn

Dannon White Wave

General Mills Regenerative Ag Guidelines

Patagonia Foods Regenerative Ag Guidelines

John Muir


Dr. Charles Massy on RCC EP053

The Art of Loading Brush: New Agrarian Writings by Wendell Berry

Trey Hill on RCC EP059



Jul 09, 2019
81: The Business of "Waste"—with Lindsey Engh

While a plastic straw ban might make us feel better, does it actually reduce consumption in the long-term? Does recycling really make a difference? As we think about waste management solutions, what questions should we be asking in terms of sustainability? What can we do to be more thoughtful about our waste and consider where our trash goes when we throw it AWAY?


Lindsey Engh began her career in philanthropy, serving as the cofounder and COO of Impact Hub Seattle, a coworking space designed to support innovation and positive social impact. In early 2017, she became a cleantech consultant, sharing her expertise in waste stream and recycling economics with clients including The Riveter, Lake Union Partners and Dwehl Housing, among many others. Today, Lindsey joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the need for solid waste market development in the US—now that China is no longer accepting our trash.


Lindsey shares the challenges around sorting recyclables and valuing trash as a commodity, challenging us to ask questions about the sustainability of our current waste management processes. She also explains why WTE is NOT renewable energy and how product regulations might address end-of-life ownership. Listen in for insight on recycling in a way that truly prevents the production of virgin materials and learn what you can do to develop a closer relationship with your trash!


Key Takeaways


[1:16] Lindsey’s path to reversing climate change 

  • Cofounder of Impact Hub Seattle
  • Interest in affordable housing led to waste management 


[4:29] The three primary problems in solid waste

  1. Creation of diverse domestic markets (need buyers)
  2. Product stewardship
  3. Individual consumer behavior change


[7:12] Why it’s difficult to value trash as a commodity

  • Many additives = many different kinds of plastics
  • Lack of tech required to sort (single stream recycling)


[11:47] The possibilities around requiring consumers to sort

  • No need to sort when China was buying for energy
  • Dual stream bins require consumer education


[14:49] The downside of recycling

  • Only makes difference if prevents production of virgin materials
  • No regulations around embodied carbon at end-of-life


[20:00] What we should be doing more of in the realm of trash

  • Ask questions about sustainability + make choices based on values
  • Think about solutions in context of local communities


[29:14] What we should start doing in the realm of trash

  • Product regulation (end-of-life ownership)
  • Consider pros and cons of virtuous regulation


[35:27] What we should stop doing in the realm of trash

  • Think about waste-to-energy as renewable
  • WTE drives down price of oil, generates more carbon


[44:07] Lindsey’s insight on the top goals for waste management

  • Long-term: value waste, dispose meaningfully + product stewardship
  • Create stopgap to deal with trash created in next 10 years 
  • Create domestic markets (focus on least processing for highest yield)
  • Recycling that prevents new products from being generated


[45:33] The idea of throwing trash ‘away’

  • Volatile commodity as availability of buyers changes
  • Problematic in terms of colonizing places we don’t care about


[49:26] Lindsey’s advice for RCC listeners

  • Consider relationship with things throw away
  • Make sure recyclables clean + well-sorted
  • Tour local transfer station and/or landfill


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Follow Lindsey on Instagram

Impact Hub Seattle

EPA Waste Reduction Model

Seattle’s Plastic Bag Ban

Seattle’s Plastic Straw Ban

Spokane’s WTE Facility

‘In San Francisco, Making a Living from Your Billionaire Neighbor’s Trash’ in The New York Times

Jul 02, 2019
80: 2020 Presidential candidates and their climate plans—with Zoya Teirstein

So many candidates, so little time! If you’re curious what some of the Democratic contenders for president are proposing when it comes to climate change, fasten your seatbelt. From plans to reach net zero emissions by 2045 to investments in direct air capture technology, the presidential hopefuls each have an ambitious climate platform. Who has the most aggressive approach? What are some of the more unique initiatives? And how achievable are the policy proposals currently on the table?


Zoya Teirstein is a climate reporter for Grist, an environment and climate change media platform based in Seattle. Her work has been featured in Mother Jones, Salon and The Verge, among many other publications. Today, Zoya joins Alexsandra and Ross to explain why climate change has become part of the cultural zeitgeist for the first time. She walks us through several of the presidential candidates’ climate plans, covering Biden’s shifting approach, Inslee’s comprehensive policy, and Warren’s initiative to green the military. 


Zoya also shares why an all-of-the-above approach is controversial, how feasible it would be to institute a carbon tax, and why there is a growing call for a separate climate debate.  Listen in for insight into where Bernie, Beto and Booker stand on climate change and learn what Mayor Pete, Michael Bennet and John Delaney are proposing in terms of climate policy.


Key Takeaways


[0:48] Zoya’s path to reversing climate change 


[2:16] Why climate change is in the cultural zeitgeist for the first time

  • Trump administration’s war on environment
  • Widespread youth movement frame as moral issue
  • AOC’s introduction of Green New Deal
  • Urgency in scientific reports (e.g.: IPCC)


[8:20] Joe Biden’s shifting approach to climate change

  • Widespread condemnation of ‘middle of the road’ policy
  • Shifted to net zero emissions by 2020, $5T climate plan


[12:39] Why an all-of-the-above approach is controversial

  • Includes coal and natural gas
  • Natural gas + fracking industry downplay methane emissions


[14:07] The growing call for a climate debate

  • Touches all other issues
  • Endorsed by 14 candidates


[19:53] Jay Inslee’s comprehensive climate policy

  • WA just passed suite of clean energy bills
  • Running as climate candidate ($9T plan)
  • Includes international component


[24:33] Elizabeth Warren’s approach to climate change

  • No drilling on public lands
  • Green the military (one of biggest emitters)
  • Invest in low carbon tech + push out to world
  • Put Americans to work in green economy


[29:29] Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke’s climate plans

  • Sanders yet to release policy (long history as climate hawk)
  • O’Rourke promise net zero emissions by 2050


[31:42] Cory Booker’s Environmental Justice Plan 

  • Pro nuclear energy, boost to EPA
  • Pay for pollution policy with companies


[32:52] Pete Buttigieg's approach to climate change


[34:09] Michael Bennet’s climate plan

  • Centrist candidate
  • Farming-centric package


[35:29] John Delaney’s plan for climate change

  • Introduce price on carbon
  • Invest in direct air capture technology
  • Fund by ending fossil fuel subsidies


[40:28] Zoya’s insight on the feasibility of a carbon tax

  • Delaney’s plan = revenue neutral
  • Eliminates 90% of emissions by 2050


[44:44] Bill Weld’s position on climate change

  • Challenge Trump from inside Republican party
  • Middle of the road, transition away from fossil fuels


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Zoya on Grist

Zoya on Twitter

“How Climate Change Worsened Violence in Syria” in Grist 

Green New Deal

IPCC 2018 Report on Climate Change

2018 National Climate Assessment

“We Broke Down What Climate Change Will Do, Region by Region” in Grist

Diamond Joe Biden in The Onion

“Presidential Hopeful Biden Looking for ‘Middle Ground’ Climate Policy” in Reuters

Sunrise Movement

Joe Biden’s Climate Plan 

Todd Tanner’s Conservation Hawks

Washington Initiative 1631

Jay Inslee’s Climate Plan

Paris Agreement

Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Green the Military

The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World by Jeff Goodell

“How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal is Being Built” in Grist

Justice Democrats

Oil Change USA

No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge

Cory Booker’s Environmental Justice Plan

Nathaneal Johnson on Grist

“Mayor Pete: 2020’s Stealth Climate Candidate” in Grist

Pete Buttigieg’s Climate Policy

Michael Bennet’s Climate Policy

John Delaney’s Plan for Climate Change

Andrew Yang on Carbon Removal Newsroom

The Daily Podcast

Chernobyl on HBO

Jun 25, 2019
79: Biochar or: Using Fire to Cool the Earth—with Albert Bates

We emit 37 gigatons of CO2 every year. If we turned our agricultural waste alone into biochar, we could bring that number down by one or two gigatons. If we poured our roads with biochar and started turning waste streams like seaweed and municipal waste into biochar as well, we could get that number up to 50 or 60 gigatons of stored carbon annually. And that kind of net gain would get us back down to a safe level of 350 ppm of atmospheric CO2—in time scales of decades.

Albert Bates is the author of several books on climate solutions, including Burn: Using Fire to Cool the Earth and The Biochar Solution. He is also a former environmental rights lawyer, mushroom farmer, brick mason and horse trainer. Albert cofounded the Global Ecovillage Network in 1995 and continues to serve as the organization’s representative in UN climate talks. He is also an advocate for the preservation of indigenous cultures and a leader in the movement to drawdown carbon with biochar.

Today, Albert joins Christophe and Alexsandra to share his unique path from the courtroom to the ecovillage, describing how he came to study terra preta soils and get involved in the biochar movement. He discusses the pore structure of charcoal in the rich soil of the Amazon and explains why biochar remains in the soil for thousands of years. Listen in for Albert’s insight around the waste streams that could serve as biochar source material and learn about the ecovillages and cities that serve as proof of concept for using biochar to draw carbon out of our atmosphere and oceans!


Key Takeaways


[2:47] Albert’s path to reversing climate change 

  • Attorney in Tennessee environmental justice case
  • Won by proving climate change real + quit law
  • Active in Global Ecovillage Network
  • Interest in Brazil’s terra preta soils
  • Integrate biochar into Ecovillage Movement 


[9:05] The pore structure of charcoal in Amazonian soil

  • Fractal (pits on walls of pores)
  • Large surface area populated with biodiversity


[14:39] Why biochar remains in soil for thousands of years

  • Very high temperatures change bond structure
  • Chases off all other gases, carbon hardens into itself
  • Difficult for microbes to digest (recalcitrant carbon)


[18:30] Examples of potential sources of biochar in waste

  • Dead limbs from harvesting fruits
  • Slash + sawdust from lumbering
  • Old pallets/furniture scraps from mill
  • Crop waste


[20:36] Problematic waste streams that could source biochar 

  • Seaweed contaminating coast in the Caribbean
  • Municipal sewage causing eutrophication of waterways


[22:42] The idea that not all biochar is created equal

  • Designer chars w/ different qualities fit certain purposes
  • Carbon cascade could generate a sequence of products


[25:40] How scaling the Ecovillage Model might influence biochar production

  • Microenterprise hubs produce a range of carbon drawdown products
  • Same basic process (pull carbon out of atmosphere and oceans)


[28:05] The roadblocks to harnessing waste streams for biochar

  • Cost vs. price dilemma (can’t compete with fertilizer)
  • Proof of concept realized through Ecovillage Network


[36:05] How Stockholm serves as a proof of concept for cities 

  • Biochar used to rejuvenate trees, clean air, and water
  • Reduce flooding + lock up carbon to meet Paris goals


[39:02] How listeners can learn more about biochar


[43:27] Albert’s insight on the unique uses of biochar

  • Charquila and charcolate
  • Mud + biochar = bricks


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Collision Tech Conference

International Biochar Initiative

US Biochar Initiative

Biochar 2019 in Fort Collins

IBI Webinar Series

Albert Bates

Burn: Using Fire to Cool the Earth by Albert Bates and Kathleen Draper

Mushroom People

Global Ecovillage Network

The Farm

Wim Sombroek’s Research

The Biochar Solution: Carbon Farming and Climate Change by Albert Bates

The Paris Agreement: The Best Chance We Have to Save the One Planet We’ve Got by Albert Bates

Ecosystem Restoration Camps

The EmerGENcies Programme

Jun 18, 2019
78: Turning CO2 waste into a profitable commodity—with Apoorv Sinha of CUT

“Carbon policy writ large … has not gone far enough to drive industrial players to change how they do business. In the interim, until policy catches up, or if the global sentiment gets to a point where there is a carbon tax around the world, the onus is on the entrepreneur to make a business case for today.” 

Apoorv Sinha is the Founder and CEO of Carbon Upcycling Technologies (CUT), a Canadian cleantech startup that is turning CO2 waste into a profitable commodity. CUT’s proprietary technology manufactures CO2-enriched nanomaterials, improving the performance and value of concrete, polymers and adhesives, and energy storage products. CUT is a finalist for the Carbon XPRIZE, and Apoorv has been honored as a Clean 50 Emerging Leader. 

Today, Apoorv joins Christophe and Alexsandra to introduce the concept of upcycling and explain the company’s intention to use today’s pollution to create the materials of tomorrow. He describes CUT’s manhole solution as well as its innovation in the realm of cement and plastics. Apoorv also shares his take on how policymakers can best facilitate innovation and scale in the climate solutions space. Listen in for Apoorv’s insight around accurate life cycle carbon accounting and find out why he believes it’s up to entrepreneurs to make the business case for climate solutions!


Key Takeaways


[1:55] Apoorv’s path to reversing climate change 

  • Around oil & gas industry whole life
  • Start company with ‘two 60-year-olds in oil patch’


[4:05] The idea behind Carbon Upcycling Technology

  • Use today’s pollution to create materials of tomorrow
  • Most efficient engines today still < 40% efficient


[7:52] How Apoorv applies the concept of upcycling

  • Fix carbon emissions into solid product
  • Use in plastics, concrete and improve performance


[10:52] Carbon Upcycling’s industrial tech business model

  • Reactor in NW Calgary captures 100 kg CO2/day
  • License tech to large operators or serve as vendor


[12:34] The CUT pilot project with the Carbon Conversion Center 

  • Partnership with construction company to replace concrete
  • Potential reduction of emissions up to 20% (for every yd3)


[16:05] How policymakers can enable entrepreneurs

  • Focus 10% of spending on solutions with carbon benefit
  • Drive innovation and scale in climate solutions space


[19:20] Carbon Upcycling’s role in the climate tech space

  • Systemic approach to meaningful reduction of emissions
  • Capture 6K of coal fire power plant’s 20K tons of CO2/day


[26:45] The Carbon Upcycling manhole solution

  • Corrosion barrier surface treatment for manhole covers
  • Tanks storing oil + grease from fast food last longer
  • Practical advantages = cost-effective, sets quickly


[30:17] Other products Carbon Upcycling is considering 

  • Concrete itself (replace cement with SCMs)
  • Plastic internal car parts


[34:43] Apoorv’s insight on life cycle carbon accounting

  • Consider net benefit vs. potential harm
  • Understand key assumptions of model
  • Use off-peak power as carbon-free electricity source
  • Opportunity to create standardizations


[41:52] The necessity of shifting assumptions with context

  • Reassess as scale solutions, cross boundaries
  • Can’t solve problem with same thinking


Connect with Ross, Alexsandra, & Christophe



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Carbon Upcycling Technologies

Carbon Upcycling on Twitter

Collision Tech Conference

Catherine McKenna

Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre

Christiana Figueres

The Paris Agreement

Rocky Mountain Institute

Amory Lovins

Plug and Play Tech Center in Stuttgart

The Buckminster Fuller Institute

Bloomberg NEF

Alexsandra’s Interview with Philipe Fonta

Origin Energy

Carbon Engineering

Meredith Adler at Student Energy

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell

Kyoto Protocol

Clean Development Mechanism


Jun 11, 2019
77: Using Drones to Fast-Track Reforestation—with DroneSeed

In the past 10 years, forest fires ravaged an average of 7M acres annually in the US. (This is up from 2.6M acres per year in the 10-year period from 1982 to 1992.) The current method of reforestation involves people with shovels, carrying 50-pound bags of one- to two-year-old trees up 60° slopes. But what if we didn’t have to wait for greenhouses to grow seedlings? What if we could plant the right biological mix of seeds as soon as the fire cools? And what if we could do it all with drones?


Grant Canary is the CEO and Matthew Aghai serves as the Director of Biological Research and Development at DroneSeed, a precision forestry startup using drone swarms to plant, protect and monitor seed growth. The company serves timber companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations, and the DroneSeed team is currently working with three of the largest foresters in the US, managing 1,000-plus acres. 


Today, Grant and Matthew join Ross and Christophe to share the DroneSeed value proposition, explaining the benefits of using their approach to reforest burnt land. They discuss the advantages of planting seeds over seedlings in terms of simplifying the supply chain and saving carbon. Grant and Matthew also offer insight into how they’re working with the FAA to navigate regulations and serve as a data source for the agency. Listen in for insight around leveraging reforestation to sequester carbon on a large scale and learn the ins and outs of DroneSeed’s ground-breaking, tech-driven planting system!


Key Takeaways


[0:38] Grant’s path to reversing climate change 

  • Mission to make dent in carbon emissions
  • Several bad ideas prior to DroneSeed


[4:41] Matthew’s path to reversing climate change

  • Wildlife degree + work in habitat restoration
  • Recognize need to amp up scale with tech


[6:33] The DroneSeed value proposition

  • Serve timber companies, nonprofits and government agencies
  • Plant seeds, protect + monitor growth with drone swarms


[8:45] How reforestation is done at present

  • People with shovels, bags of 1- to 2-year-old trees (50 lbs.)
  • Navigate 40° to 60° slopes, caloric burn of 2 marathons/day


[10:56] What’s causing the recent surge in forest fires 

  1. Management practices (need funding for thinning)
  2. Climate change 


[17:38] The benefit of using drones to reforest burnt land

  • Drop genetic material as soon as fire cools
  • Don’t have to wait for seedlings, fight invasive species


[18:47] How DroneSeed promotes seed variety

  • Focus on native plants, biological complexity
  • Balance landowner objectives with polyculture


[21:18] The advantage of planting seeds vs. seedlings

  • Simplify supply chain (remove greenhouse)
  • Don’t risk having too few, too many trees 


[27:22] The DroneSeed team’s precision system 

  • Identify optimal location for seed (multispectral imagery)
  • Plant puck where won’t get eaten or dry out
  • Use drone swarms, operate like NASCAR pit crew 


[34:35] How DroneSeed is working with the FAA

  • Precedent-setting waivers re: small unmanned aircraft rule
  • Live demos + pioneering skills tests with inspectors
  • Serve as data source, effective communication


[40:36] The argument for using reforestation to sequester carbon

  • Best method in terms of surface area issue
  • Source of cashflow for industries ($13/acre < CA price floor)


Connect with Ross & Christophe



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Boise Cascade

The Nature Conservancy

Federal Aviation Administration

Vestas Wind Energy

US Green Building Council

Federal Statute 107

Sierra Pacific

Colville Tribes

Jun 04, 2019
76: Innovations in Carbon Beneficial Building Materials—with Chris Magwood & Jacob Deva Racusin

Buckminster Fuller famously said that “waste materials are simply resources we haven’t found a use for.” So, what if we could use agricultural waste products like corn husks or coconut coir as building materials? The truth is that we can, and a number of innovative sustainable builders are working to not just reduce the carbon emissions associated with construction but turn homes and commercial buildings into carbon storage units. 

Chris Magwood is the executive director of The Endeavour Centre, a nonprofit sustainable building school in Ontario. He is also the author of seven books on sustainable building and the former operator of Camel’s Back Construction, a company responsible for the design and construction of 30-plus straw-bale homes and commercial buildings. Jacob Deva Racusin is the co-owner of New Frameworks, a carbon responsive building company offering services in green remodeling and new construction. He is a BPI-certified contractor and Certified Passive House Consultant and an active member of the Embodied Carbon Network’s Renewable Materials Task Force.

Today, Chris and Jacob join Ross, Christophe, and Alexsandra to explain how they each came to build straw-bale homes for their families—and how those independent ventures grew into businesses. They discuss the top themes covered at the Living Future Conference, including the connections between climate action and social justice and the need to leverage systems thinking as we scale climate solutions in building. Chris and Jacob share the possibilities around carbon beneficial multifamily buildings and walk us through the benefits of several carbon responsive building materials. Listen in for insight into end-of-life considerations for drawdown buildings and learn how we might leverage agricultural waste in a particular region to construct buildings that store carbon and reverse climate change now!



Endeavour Centre

New Frameworks

Living Future Conference

Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors by Chris Magwood

Chris, Jacob & Ace’s Carbon Drawdown NOW! Presentation

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land by Leah Penniman

Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows

Kate Simenon on RCC EP061

The Tyranny of Metrics by Jerry Z. Muller

Ann Edminster

Amanda Ravenhill on RCC EP019


Biomimicry Institute

WWF’s Greener Skies? Presentation

Fibersheds on RCC EP070

Carbon Leadership Forum

Embodied Carbon Network

Architecture 2030

Carbon Smart Materials Palette


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Key Takeaways

[0:45] Chris’ path to reversing climate change

  • Built first straw-bale house in Ontario for family
  • Grew into contracting + teaching business
  • Master’s to study climate impacts of building

[6:26] Jacob’s path to reversing climate change

  • Search for home (wife chemically sensitive)
  • Solution to build own straw-bale house
  • Cofound carbon responsive building company

[10:57] The top themes at the Living Future Conference

  • Climate action + social justice simultaneous
  • Approach from systems thinking perspective

[14:19] The concept of decolonizing buildings

  • Put life back in soil AND plant stock in building
  • Connection between ecological + social justice

[18:26] The value in both reductionist AND systems thinking

  • Start with simple answer (e.g.: switch out foam for fiberboard)
  • Consider product chain as scale up, look at systems
  • Example to study embodied impact of passive house

[24:41] The possibilities around carbon beneficial multifamily buildings

  • Biogenetic materials in interiors (non-toxic certifications)
  • Moderate-story, mixed-use can store more carbon than skyscrapers

[32:24] Other innovative carbon beneficial building materials

  • Hempcrete
  • Coconut coir
  • Aggregate from carbonated waste
  • Agricultural residue

[40:59] How to identify ag waste for building materials

  • 10% of straw grown in US annually could insulate 2M homes
  • Map ecological services provided by developing regions

[45:38] The end-of-life considerations re: carbon stored in buildings

  • Build new construction to last long time
  • Make dismantlable
  • Turn into biochar, use stalk for fuel

[48:36] Why it’s easy to measure carbon storage in buildings

  • Variables skew numbers in energy-efficient buildings
  • One pound of straw = 48% carbon 

[50:44] How listeners can promote drawdown building

  • Organizations like Carbon Leadership Forum, Architecture 2030
  • Encourage alignment of regenerative ag + building industries
  • Support regional manufacturing (e.g.: micro-factories on farms)
  • Involvement in execution of climate policy
May 28, 2019
75: A Chicago Lullaby (All About the Green New Deal)—with Rhiana Gunn-Wright

If you’re asked to picture an environmentalist or climate activist, what do you see? Is it a white guy with a beard who wears a Patagonia fleece and rides his bike to work? Whether you agree with the policy or not, one of the benefits of the Green New Deal lies in the fact that it ‘builds a bigger tent.’ By addressing the twin pressures of climate change and income inequality, the proposed legislation opens the conversation about climate to a wider audience—one that includes everyone from the rural population in traditionally red states to people living on the south side of Chicago.

Rhiana Gunn-Wright is the Policy Director at New Consensus and one of the architects behind the Green New Deal. Before New Consensus, Rhiana was the Policy Director for Dr. Abdul El-Sayed’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign in Michigan. She has also worked as the policy analyst for the Detroit Health Department and served as a policy intern for former First Lady Michelle Obama. Rhiana earned her BA in African American and Women’s Studies at Yale and her master’s in Comparative Social Policy from Oxford.

Today, Rhiana joins Ross, Christophe, and Ramez to share a high-level overview of the Green New Deal, explaining how it leverages an economic mobilization framework to tackle climate change and income inequality. She describes how public response to the bill has surprised her, discussing the criticisms she finds useful and some of the writers offering constructive analysis. Listen in for Rhiana’s insight around aspects of the Green New Deal with the potential for bipartisan support and learn how the policy might include new groups in the conversation around climate change—and help the US lead on a global scale!



New Consensus

Green New Deal

Institute for Women’s Policy Research

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed

California Consumer Privacy Act

Senator Markey

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the Green New Deal

Green New Deal Articles in Jacobin

Ramez’s Article on the Green New Deal

Jerry Taylor’s Open Letter to Green New Dealers

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger

Rhiana on The Ezra Klein Show

Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Graeber

The Paris Agreement

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Connect with Ross & Christophe 


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Key Takeaways 

[1:25] Rhiana’s path to reversing climate change

  • Raised by mom and grandmother on south side of Chicago
  • African American/Women’s Studies at Yale, Rhodes Scholar
  • Joined gubernatorial campaign for Abdul El-Sayed in MI
  • Approached by New Consensus to write Green New Deal

[10:03] A high-level overview of the Green New Deal

  • Tackle climate change + income inequality
  • Leverage economic mobilization framework

[11:57] The definition of economic mobilization

  • Country throw full might behind problem
  • Solve by investing in industries, private sector
  • Government plays active role in shaping markets

[12:52] Why the timing is right for the Green New Deal

  • Rising levels of income inequality
  • Need to bring down global emissions 50% by 2030

[16:23] What has surprised Rhiana about the response to the Green New Deal

  • Public reaction, both positive and negative (protests)
  • Senator Markey as cosponsor of bill 

[19:45] Rhiana’s insight around state action on climate change

  • Impressed by innovative policy models, use of resources
  • Green New Deal provides framework + financial support

[22:16] The aspects of the Green New Deal with bipartisan potential

  • High-paying jobs, investment in rural + deindustrialized areas
  • People control electricity, public-private partnerships

[25:51] The criticisms of the Green New Deal Rhiana finds useful

  • Land use + energy-efficient public housing
  • Productivity/prosperity without growth

[30:04] The best places to read criticisms of the Green New Deal

[32:39] Rhiana’s take on the criticism around labor without value

  • No shortage of work to be done
  • People move where productive work available

[38:17] What the Green New Deal can do on a global scale

  • US lead world in tech (cheap, easily exported)
  • Signal take seriously, reinvigorate global commitment
  • Influence trade policy
May 21, 2019
74: A Conservative Approach to Climate Solutions—with Benji Backer

In our polarized political climate, we are led to believe that ALL conservatives are irrational climate deniers, and ALL liberals are dead set on a large-scale policy solution that will shut down the American economy. But if you turn off the TV and close your social media tabs, you might discover that Democrats and Republicans actually agree on a lot more than we think. So, how do we get both parties to the table to talk about climate solutions? What is the best approach for getting right-of-center thinkers to engage in the discussion? How can we leverage the best of conservative principles to design a solution in which the markets and policy work hand in hand?

Benji Backer is the President of the American Conservation Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to educating and empowering conservatives to engage in environmental conversations and promote free-market and pro-business environmental solutions. Benji speaks at events across the country, and his work has appeared on CNBC, The Hill, and Townhall, among many other media outlets. Currently a junior at the University of Washington, Benji was named one of RedAlert’s Top 30 Under 30 conservatives in 2015. 

Today, Benji joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share his definition of what environmentalism should be, in contrast to what the term has come to represent. He discusses the principles of conservatism and offers insight on getting conservatives involved in the conversation around climate change. Listen in for Benji’s free-market approach to developing climate solutions and learn how liberals and conservatives can find common ground when it comes to reversing climate change.



American Conservation Coalition

ACC on Twitter

Benji on Twitter

‘Believing in Climate Change, But Not Behaving Sustainably: Evidence from a One-Year Longitudinal Study’ in the Journal of Environmental Psychology

Todd Myers on RCC EP052

Trey Hill on RCC EP059

The Paris Agreement

Green New Deal

Benji on the Van Jones Show

Young America’s Foundation

Edmund Burke

Robert Nisbet

SMBC comic

William Buckley

Michael Oakeshott

David Hume

Arthur Brooks

Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America from the Culture of Contempt by Arthur C. Brooks

Congressman Mike Gallagher

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein

The Nature Conservancy

National Audubon Society

Sierra Club

World Wildlife Fund

Ken Burns

Bryan Caplan

Van Jones

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


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Key Takeaways

[1:13] Benji’s path to reversing climate change

  • Active in conservative politics since age 10
  • President of American Conservation Coalition

[3:23] The need for rural voices in environmental policy decisions

  • Urban voice motives good but knowledge lacking
  • Live in nature, know importance of protecting environment

[5:24] Benji’s definition of what environmentalism SHOULD be

  • Care about + want to protect environment
  • Doesn’t mean support massive reform packages 

[7:34] The principles of conservatism

  • Limited government, common sense solutions
  • Balance local, state and national decisions

[11:26] Contemporary conservative voices worth listening to

[18:38] How to get conservatives involved in the climate conversation

  • Role of capitalism, markets in climate solutions
  • Innovation to reduce emissions

 [22:21] The free market approach to reversing climate change

  • Carbon capture and storage
  • Growth of clean energy
  • Markets + policy work hand in hand

[26:28] Benji’s insight on convincing conservatives re: climate change

  • Focus on national security, jobs and military
  • Pride in leading world + doing things first

[31:18] The failure of Washington state’s revenue-neutral carbon tax

  • Liberals didn’t like where money went, conservative support
  • ‘What is this really about then?’

[34:30] How to find common ground between liberals and conservatives

  • Start with non-climate issues (i.e.: National Park backlog, endangered species)
  • Focus on shared goals of clean air, water + protect future generations

[38:16] Why it’s crucial to understand the opposition’s argument

  • Better understand way others look at life
  • Get things done, even if don’t agree
May 14, 2019
73: Using De-extinct DNA to Restore Grasslands in Pleistocene Park—with Nikita Zimov & George Church

A significant amount of carbon has been stored in Arctic permafrost for tens of thousands of years. And unless we take radical steps to restore the ecosystem that we destroyed there, the permafrost will melt and release 1400 GT of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. This dwarfs the amount humans generate annually and would accelerate climate change on an exponential scale. So, what can we do to reestablish the grasslands and reintroduce the animals that used to dominate the region? And what do we do if the wildlife that supported the ecosystem have since gone extinct? Can we use ancient DNA to create hybrid elephant-mammoths with the potential to thrive there? 

Nikita Zimov is the Director of Pleistocene Park, a project in northern Siberia using wild grazing animals to reestablish climate-stabilizing grasslands in the region. The initiative began in 1988, and to date, the 20 km^2 is home to 8 major herbivore species. George Church is a Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and pioneer in the realm of genome sequencing. Through his work with Revive & Restore, George and his team are working to de-extinct the genes of the woolly mammoth to save the Asian elephant from extinction and populate Pleistocene Park.

Today, George and Nikita join Ross and Christophe to share the vision for Pleistocene Park and the ground-breaking work in genome editing that supports the reintroduction of megafauna to the region. Nikita explains why restoring grasslands to the Arctic is crucial in mitigating climate change, and George discusses his work to make elephants compatible with warm and cold temperatures. They also cover the ethical questions regarding genome editing and the worst-case scenarios around restoring the grassland ecosystem in Siberia. Listen in to understand the potential to scale and perhaps replicate Pleistocene Park around the globe and learn how to support George and Nikita’s work to prevent the degradation of permafrost and reverse climate change!


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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warmingedited by Paul Hawken

Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creaturesby Ben Mezrich

Pleistocene Park

Pleistocene Park on Facebook

Pleistocene Park Foundation

Revive & Restore

Woolly Mammoth Revival on Revive & Restore

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[1:31] George’s path to reversing climate change

  • Fascinated with mammoths as kid (1964 World’s Fair)
  • Apply next generation sequencing to ancient DNA
  • Multiple edits to elephant genome, cope w/ new needs 

[3:40] The definition of genome sequencing

  • Ability to read and write DNA
  • Synthesize or edit to hybrid of ancient + modern species

[4:59] Nikita’s path to reversing climate change

  • Father’s idea to restore grassland in Arctic
  • Took over family business

[5:43] The vision for Pleistocene Park

  • Grasses need animals to compete with shrubs, trees
  • Bring animals back and mitigate climate change

[8:35] Why grassland is valuable to the Arctic

  • Current sparse vegetation can’t store much CO2
  • Restored soil could store 100kg of carbon/m2
  • Prevent degradation of permafrost

[14:29] Why Pleistocene Park needs megafauna

  • Trample snow in winter to protect permafrost
  • Support grass in competing w/ other vegetation

[16:50] George’s work to edit the elephant genome

  • Done necessary # of edits in pigs, human cells
  • Nuclear transfer to African elephant eggs or grow embryo in lab
  • Resistant to herpes, compatible w/ warm + cold temperatures

[19:40] The ethical questions associated with genome editing

  • Impact on modern species
  • Ability to reverse changes

[21:30] The groundbreaking nature of George’s work

  • First time organism depends on functioning of de-extinct genes
  • Develop cold-resistant elephants (‘elemmoths’)

[22:27] George’s take on what could go wrong

  • Permafrost melts, release 1400 GT on CO2+ methane
  • Cold-resistant elephants fail to breed well

[24:35] The opportunities around genome editing with other animals

  • George’s focus to support endangered species (vs. extinct)
  • High-quality DNA available from passenger pigeons, aurochs

[26:50] Nikita’s plans to scale Pleistocene Park

  • Relatively easy to extend 10X (no competing financial interest)
  • Need to replicate in Alaska, Canada for meaningful impact

[29:25] The Russian government’s position on climate change

  • Land for Pleistocene Park given tax-free
  • Shift to accept idea that climate change real

[31:38] The potential for unforeseen consequences at Pleistocene Park

  • Worst-case scenario to do nothing
  • Greatest concern = working quickly enough
  • Trees doomed anyway if permafrost thaws
  • Ecosystem big enough for migration

[37:47] What’s next for George

  • Communicate possibility of reversal through film of Woolly
  • Experiments on ground + in lab

[38:53] What’s next for Nikita

  • Introduce new animals, extend territory of park
  • Increase # of herbivores + introduce predators
May 07, 2019
72: Biomimicry, Politics, and Lunatic Farming—with Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms

“What does forgiveness look like? What does loving your neighbor look like? I think … one of the reasons we have this physical creation is so that God could demonstrate what forgiveness looks like, what neighborliness looks like. And guess what? Forgiveness does not look like a farm that has to use more and more drugs all the time to keep its animals healthy. Forgiving is not a farm that has to use more chemicals to keep its soil healthy or keep the bugs away. A forgiving farm is one that has resilience.”

Joel Salatin is the self-proclaimed ‘Christian libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic farmer’ behind Polyface Farms, a $3M operation in Swoop, Virginia, serving more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, 10 retail outlets and a farmers’ market with its salad bar beef, pigaerator pork, pastured poultry and forestry products. Feature in both The Omnivore’s Dilemma and Food, Inc., Polyface is known for its environmentally-friendly farming practices modeled around the natural systems of the biological world. Joel also serves as the editor of The Stockman Grass Farmer, the writer of the Pitchfork Pulpit column in Mother Earth News, and the author of 12 books, including The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation and Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front.

Today, Joel joins Ross and Christophe to share his practice of duplicating nature’s patterns on the farmscape. He offers his take on the flaws in the environmentalist approach to climate change and where the Christian faith community, libertarians, and economists fall short. Joel also describes how the regulatory environment is prejudiced against small-scale operations, exploring the way oversight stifles innovation. Listen in for Joel’s insight on food choice as a human right and learn how to take responsibility for your own consumer choices around food!



Polyface Farms

Joel’s Daily Blog: The Lunatic Farmer

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollen

Food, Inc.Documentary

Living Soils Symposium

The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for All God’s Creation by Joel Salatin

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann

Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front by Joel Salatin

Milton Friedman

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

F.A. Hayek

Michael Pollan

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[0:39] Joel’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up on family farm in Shenandoah Valley of VA
  • Grown to $3M business with 20 full-time staff

[2:44] Joel’s farming practices

  • Duplicate nature’s pattern on farmscape
  • Mimic way animals moved (choreography)

[6:06] How humans have pillaged the land

  • War consequence of exploitation of resources
  • More weight of animals 500 years ago than today

[8:09] The idea of active management

  • Use hands, intellectual ability to heal land
  • Environmentalism by participation (not abandonment)

[9:49] Joel’s criticism of the environmentalist approach

  • Assumes elite know more than crowd
  • Oversight prejudicial to small-scale operations
  • Oversight unnecessary with real-time feedback loop

[18:28] Why Joel is an advocate for food emancipation

  • Regulatory oversight demands something that harms us
  • Food choice as much human right as other freedoms

[21:42] Joel’s criticism of the Christian faith community

  • Power over vs. responsibility to environment
  • Hypocrisy drives people away from religion

[28:20] Joel’s criticism of libertarians

  • Fails to recognize ‘it takes a village’
  • Farming should leave MORE commons

[31:02] The danger in measuring GDP alone

  • Views prisons, soil liability, etc. as assets
  • No way to account for asset losses + liability incursions

[33:52] Why Joel wants to eliminate crop insurance and subsidies

  • Picks winners and losers in marketplace
  • Power stacked to promote orthodoxy

[39:46] How to take responsibility for your consumer choices

  • Movement defined by participants
  • Question orthodoxy, rewarded with access

[45:33] The innovation around Joel’s eggmobile

  • Portable henhouse follows cows’ movement
  • Serve as biological pasture sanitizers + produce eggs
Apr 30, 2019
71: Creating Carbon Beneficial Fashion Through Fibersheds—with Becky Porlier of the Upper Canada Fibreshed

Mass-produced clothing generates 37 tons of CO2 for every ton of fast fashion, making it the second dirtiest industry in the world. But there is a better way. A way to produce clothes locally with natural fibers grown in regenerative ways. A way that is at least carbon neutral, if not carbon beneficial. And that method of hyperlocal textile manufacturing is facilitated by fibersheds.

Becky Porlier is the cofounder of the Upper Canada Fibreshed, a nonprofit dedicated to building a regional fiber system centered around local fibers, local dyes and local labor. An affiliate of the international Fibershed network, Becky and her team seek to nourish bioregional textile communities of producers and consumers who value soil health, sustainable agriculture, and the health of the biosphere. 

Today, Becky joins Ross, Christophe and guest host Lorraine Smith to explain the fundamentals of a fibershed, discussing how they serve as a climate solution. She shares her approach to engaging farmers and shepherds and describes how big brands might get involved in the fibershed movement. Becky also offers insight around the negative aspects of fast fashion in terms of poor working conditions and environmental destruction. Listen in to understand how consumer demand could affect change in the fashion industry and learn how you can be a part of the fibershed community!



Upper Canada Fibreshed

Lorraine Smith's website

Living Soils Symposium

Regeneration Canada

The Montreal Protocol

Alice Waters

Rebecca Burgess’ Blog


Peggy Sue Collection

Kevin Carson

Jacquard Loom

The Rana Plaza Disaster

Michelle Holliday

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Connect with Ross & Christophe 


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[2:03] How Montreal is a leader in the climate solutions space

[5:02] Becky’s path to reversing climate change

  • Outdoor kid with environmental leanings
  • Interest in food sovereignty during master’s studies
  • Inspired by Alice Waters+ Rebecca Burgess

[6:40] The fundamentals of a fibershed

  • Geography (way to think about resource base)
  • Labor, materials + skills necessary for clothing/textiles 

[7:48] How fibersheds serve as climate solutions

  • Fast fashion = highly intensive carbon footprint (37 tons of CO2per ton)
  • Fibershed garments either carbon neutral or carbon beneficial 

[11:17] Becky’s approach to engaging farmers and shepherds

  • Focus on reconnecting dislocated community
  • Frame as improving soil vs. carbon farming

[12:48] How to get big brands involved in the fibershed movement

[16:39] How regional systems would impact uniformity

  • Natural dyes available vary by region (e.g.: plants, tree bark)
  • Distinct differences among hyper-regionalized clothing 

[22:08] What makes fibersheds incredible carbon sinks

  • Leverage processes that enhance soil
  • Produced with renewable resources
  • Textiles have multiple uses, go beyond clothing

[26:41] The parallels between technology and textiles

  • Root of both words = weaving things together
  • Jacquard weavingcreates patterns with binary system

[30:04] What fibersheds can learn from other industries

  • Make systems more efficient
  • Update supply chain 

[31:29] The negative aspects of fast fashion

[35:52] The fastest way to facilitate change in the fashion industry

  • Starts with consumer demand
  • Conscious of where clothes grown and sewn

[37:26] How did natural fiber lose in the marketplace

  • Petroleum-based materials cheaper
Apr 23, 2019
70: The Nori Marketplace Pilot Program—with Michael Leggett and Ryan Anderson from Nori

You’ve got to crawl before you walk. The Nori team aims to have their carbon removal marketplace up and running this year, and to that end, they are currently running a pilot program with a handful of farmers and ranchers in the US. So, what does the process look like? What is their progress on the software product to date? What milestones has the team reached—and what are their next steps?

Michael Leggett serves as the Director of Product, while Ryan Anderson joined the team as a consultant in January and is now the Supply Development Lead. Prior to Nori, Michael led design teams at Google and Facebook, and Ryan served as a Strategy Lead and Ecological Economist at the Delta Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to solving complex environmental challenges in the Midwest. Today, Michael and Ryan join Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share Nori’s progress to date. 

They walk us through the pilot program, discussing how the team is leveraging COMET-Farm modeling to measure the additionality of carbon stored. Michael describes Nori’s milestones in terms of software product development, and Ryan explores the value of a self-service portal for participating farmer-suppliers. Listen in for insight around the unique aspects of the Nori forward contract auction and learn how the team is incorporating feedback from suppliers, verifiers, and an expert peer-review committee as they work toward a 2019 launch of the marketplace!



Trey Hill on RCC EP059

Ryan Anderson on RCC EP058



Nori Market App Demo

Invest in Nori

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Connect with Ross & Christophe 


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[2:17] The intent of the Nori pilot program

  • Test product + methodology with US farmers, ranchers
  • Incorporate participant feedback in real time
  • Use COMET-Farm modeling to quantify carbon removal 

[8:58] How Nori thinks about additionality

  • Measure carbon stored by NEW practices
  • Relative to established dynamic baseline 

[11:38] Nori’s milestones in terms of its software product

  • Minimal version for suppliers, verifiers and buyers
  • Product available to farmers to enter data themselves
  • Forward contract auction simulation (buy + sell CRCs)

[18:29] The benefits of a self-service portal for suppliers

  • Empower farmers to make business decisions
  • Generate estimates of what stand to gain (simple + free)

[24:34] How the forward contract auction works in Nori

  • Parties agree on amount + price for future transaction
  • De-risk acquisition and sale of commodity
  • Nori combines with single-price Dutch auction
  • Gives participants optionality 

[35:58] The role of the peer review committee in the pilot

  • Critical for transparency, integrity + objectivity
  • Weigh in on methodology (e.g.: additionality, permanence)

[39:21] Michael’s insight on the verification process

  • Work to create value by solving real problems
  • Partner w/ traditional market verifiers to write guidelines
Apr 19, 2019
69: Fighting US Energy Policy with the Youth Climate Lawsuit—with Andrea Rogers of Our Children’s Trust

The amended complaint of the youth climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, includes a Prayer for Relief stating that “Defendants have violated and are violating Plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by substantially causing or contributing to a dangerous concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that, in so doing, Defendants dangerously interfere with a stable climate system required by our nation and Plaintiffs alike.” In other words, the government isn’t just sitting back while climate change happens, they’re implementing an energy policy that actively contributes to the problem.

Andrea Rogers is Senior Staff Attorney with Our Children’s Trust, an organization working to elevate the voice of youth in an effort to secure the legal right to a stable climate system. Andrea is a graduate of the Arizona State University School of Law, where she served as co-executive editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology. Her impressive resume includes roles as In-House Legal Counsel for the Snoqualmie Indian Tribe and Staff Attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center. Andrea’s environmental law practice is dedicated to reducing pollution and fighting climate change. 

Today, Andrea joins Ross and Christophe to explain why Juliana v. US qualifies as a constitutional law case, sharing the progress of the case to date and discussing how it provides a framework for decarbonization. She describes the nuances of the government’s duty to protect its citizens and counters the argument that the government didn’t know its energy policy contributed to climate change. Andrea also offers insight around the role of public trust doctrine in Juliana v. US, the court’s ability to influence policy, and the government’s defense in the case. Listen in to understand the role of the judiciary in setting new precedent and learn how you can support Our Children’s Trust in furthering this landmark case.



Our Children’s Trust

Join Juliana

No Ordinary Lawsuit Podcast

Juliana v. US

Professor Mary Wood

DeShaney v. Winnebago County

Obama at the 2018 Rice University Gala

Obergefell v. Hodges

Brown v. Board of Education

McCleary v. State of Washington

DC v. Heller

Green New Deal

Jimmy Jia on RCC EP057

Jeff Sachs

Evolved Energy Research

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Review RCC on iTunes


Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[1:38] Andrea’s path to reversing climate change

  • Father founder of environmental law
  • ASU for Science and the Law program
  • Wrote litigation manual for 2011 suit
  • On team filed Juliana v. US in 2015

[5:11] The legal flaw of laws passed to protect the environment

  • Prior to passage, file on ‘nuisance grounds’ (judge’s discretion)
  • Laws legalized certain levels of air, water pollution

[8:20] Why Juliana v. US qualifies as a constitutional law case

  • Youth born into dangerous climate system
  • Consequences infringe on liberty

[10:29] The argument that the government doesn’t have a duty to protect

  • Not obligated to take action to protect
  • Prohibited from authorizing policy that causes harm
  • Duty to protect if place person in position of danger (e.g.: DeShaney)

[13:10] The argument that the government didn’t know it was contributing to climate change

  • Control energy systems, future with policy
  • Duty to certain amount of knowledge re: consequences 

[15:19] The progress of Juliana v. US to date

  • Judge Ann Aiken found right to stable climate system = attribute of liberty
  • Government moved to dismiss case 12 times (prevent from going to trial)

[19:10] The cases that inspire Andrea’s team as precedent

[22:50] The role of public trust doctrine in the case of Juliana v. US

  • Government cannot allow substantial impairment of resources
  • Plaintiffs denied access to beaches, crab on Oregon coast
  • Constitutional injury = loss of home + mental health impacts

[26:54] Why Our Children’s Trust seeks to hold executive agencies liable

  • Obligated to implement authority in way that doesn’t violate constitutional rights
  • Seeks declaratory + injunctive relief (as opposed to damages)

[28:37] Andrea’s insight on the court’s ability to influence policy

  • Cannot dictate how legislative, executive branch implement policy
  • No way to force elimination of fossil fuel subsidies

[29:54] The role of the judicial branch in setting new precedents

  • Liberal courts willing to expand notion of individual rights
  • Constitutional traditionalists hesitate to apply discretion in interpreting law 

[32:27] How Juliana v. US provides a framework for decarbonization

  • Must show that injuries redressable
  • 21 experts developing pathways to get US off fossil fuels

[36:29] The other issues that might use Juliana v. US as precedent

  • Gun violence
  • Institutional reform 

[41:18] The role of the Supreme Court

  • Bulwark to protect constitutional rights
  • Expected to change with societal norms

[44:18] The government’s argument regarding Juliana v. US

  • Children not harmed differently from anyone else
  • Contest what experts say economically, technically feasible

[46:00] The grounds on which Our Children’s Trust might lose their case

  • Standing (youth must show personal injury differs from others)
  • Must prove US energy policy responsible for problem
  • Court must accept role to review executive, legislative actions
Apr 16, 2019
68: One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Biofuel—with Stephen Johnson of Illinois Clean Fuels & Mark Fitz of Star Oilco

The US is the Saudi Arabia of garbage. And Illinois Clean Fuels is working to use our surplus of municipal waste as its primary input, turning trash into biofuel. This solves two problems at once, providing a sustainable source of energy through a process that captures and stores CO2 underground. So, how does it work?

Stephen Johnson is the Founder and CEO of Illinois Clean Fuels, a synthetic fuel project projected to produce more than 400M+ gallons of ultra-clean, climate-friendly diesel and jet fuel from municipal garbage every year. Mark Fitz is an advisor for Illinois Clean Fuels and the President of Star Oilco, a full-service oil company known for its outside-the-box solutions for fleets seeking to incorporate biofuels in their daily operations.

Today, Stephen and Mark join Alexsandra and Christophe to explain how the Illinois Clean Fuels gasification process works and what they are doing to eliminate the life cycle footprint of the fuel. They also discuss what’s holding back the widespread use of biodiesel and how Illinois Clean Fuels is working to overcome those roadblocks. Listen in for insight around how some prominent airlines and oil and gas companies are providing leadership around climate change and backing critical innovations in the space!



Illinois Clean Fuels

Star Oilco


Combustion & Catalysis Laboratory at Columbia University

Gas Works Park

Imperium Renewables

Nat GeoArticle on Deforestation for Palm Plantations

REB Geismar Plan in Louisiana

Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative

Aaron Stash of United Airlines


United’s Emissions Reduction Pledge

Oil and Gas Climate Initiative


Phillips 66 and Renewable Energy Group Collaboration

Carbon Removal Newsroom


Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:59] Stephen’s path to reversing climate change

  • Research on oil supply as hedge fund manager
  • Interest in alternative fuels, Fischer-Tropsch tech
  • Found way to use biomass as part of process 

[6:30] Mark’s path to reversing climate change

  • Family owns oil company
  • Indulge to ‘play with biodiesel’

[9:36] How the ICF gasification process works

  • Chemically convert garbage to hydrogen + carbon
  • Reassemble into fuel

[11:29] How ICF recycles leftover tar back into the process

  • Anything not converted into gas locked up in slag of glass
  • Must also remove impurities in SimGas cleanup step 

[15:58] How ICF’s renewable diesel results in negative emissions

  • Burns more completely than conventional fuels
  • Capture and lock excess CO2underground

[17:29] What differentiates Illinois Clean Fuels

  • Best available tech for disposing of waste
  • Recapture energy with no environmental side effects

[21:09] Why we aren’t using biodiesel jet fuel

  • Palm oil used as feedstock (necessitates deforestation)
  • Better to use waste rather than grow more vegetable oil

[27:40] What we can expect from Illinois Clean Fuels

  • Fundamental processes proven and scaled separately
  • Integrate synthetic fuel, carbon capture + use of biomass

[31:26] What’s holding back biofuel adoption

  • Can’t compete on price point
  • Overcome by way of scale (30K barrels/day)

[32:52] How some airlines and oil & gas companies are providing leadership

[35:29] What is shifting the mindset in traditional oil and gas

  • Superior tech + regulations
Apr 09, 2019
67: Advancing the Campaign for a Climate Nobel Prize—with Helene & Raoul Costa de Beauregard

The Nobel Prize was established in 1895 to recognize advancements that have the greatest benefit to humankind. As the need for climate solutions becomes more and more crucial, it seems only fitting that the Nobel Committee consider adding an award for progress in the realm of reversing climate change.

Helene and Raoul Costa de Beauregard are the leaders of the campaign for the creation of a Climate Nobel Prize. They believe that climate change is the defining issue of our time and that climate actions should be ‘supported and rewarded with the highest distinction.’ Helene served in the Ministry of Ecology for the French government from 2009 to 2013 before Raoul’s role with Amazon brought the couple to Seattle six years ago. She is also the founder of GarageHop, an app designed to reduce the emissions generated looking for parking. 

Today, Helene and Raoul join Ross and Christophe to discuss the movement to create a Climate Nobel Prize. They make the case for recognizing role models in the effort to reverse climate change and explain the need to reshape the conversation around ACTION. Helene shares what she learned from her work as a carbon market expert, including the need for incentives to make people change their behavior, and Raoul describes how the Amazon business model might be used to address climate change. Listen in as we debate Helene’s top three climate solutions and learn how you can be a part of #ClimateNobelPrize!

Apr 02, 2019
66: Building a Business Around Cleantech Innovation—with Tom Ranken of the CleanTech Alliance

The Pacific Northwest boasts several world-class research institutions, making the region a hub for cleantech R&D. But how do you move from the lab to the marketplace, building a business around your new innovation? What government programs are available to help your startup gain traction early on? And what industry associations offer programs for entrepreneurs and advocate for cleantech companies large and small?

Tom Ranken is the President and CEO of the CleanTech Alliance, a trade association working to drive clean technology innovation and job growth. The 300 member organizations represent a variety of industries and business models, all inspired to create products that are better, faster, cheaper, cleaner and safer. Prior to joining the Alliance, Tom served as Cofounder and CEO VizX Labs, President and CEO of Axio Research Corporation and President of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association.

 Today, Tom joins Ross, Alexsandra and Christophe to discuss what makes the Pacific Northwest a hub for cleantech. We talk about the need for products and services to ultimately stand on their own in the marketplace as well as the role policy can play in supporting early-stage companies. Tom shares his definition of cleantech and walks us through the trajectory of the industry since he started working with the CleanTech Alliance in 2010. Listen in for Tom’s insight into current trends in cleantech and learn how companies of all sizes are innovating in the cleantech space!



CleanTech Alliance

Cascadia CleanTech Accelerator

Idaho National Laboratory

National Energy Technology Laboratory

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Clean Energy Fund

Demand Energy

Doosan GridTech

Hudson Technologies: Energy Saving Assessments

Boeing: 2018 Environment Report


Connect with Ross & Christophe 


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:49] Tom’s path to reversing climate change

  • Background in banking, biotech
  • Eight years in current role

[1:50] The role of the CleanTech Alliance

  • Trade association advocates for members
  • Events, PR and program for entrepreneurs

[3:43] Why the Pacific Northwest is a cleantech hub

  • Leading research institutions in region
  • Energy efficiency efforts best in country

[5:46] How the Clean Energy Fund supports early-stage companies

  • Competition for grants (Department of Commerce)
  • State funds portion, reduces cost to utility

[10:03] Tom’s insight on government ‘picking winners’

  • Early-stage technologies inherently risky
  • Share risk with company itself and utility

[12:56] The trajectory of cleantech as an industry

  • Many companies tanked in economic downturn
  • R&D continues to be extraordinary in region

[14:50] Tom’s definition of cleantech

  • Broadly defined as energy (renewables, efficiency)
  • Resource efficiency plays (e.g.: insect farming)

[20:00] Tom’s take on sharing ideas in the pre-competitive space

  • Government-supported research, share in early stages
  • Companies need some protection once commercializing

[22:16] The current trends in cleantech

  • Battery technology (software and hardware)
  • Commitment of large companies like Boeing, Microsoft

[25:41] How large corporations benefit from reducing emissions

  • Financial incentives (reduce costs, access to funds)
  • Attract talent and customers
Mar 26, 2019
65: Translating Climate Data into Art—with University of Washington Doctoral Candidate Judy Twedt

Climate data is overwhelming. And being inundated with numbers can make you feel disconnected or even hopeless, especially if you’re not a mathematician or a scientist. So, how can we help people connect with important data sets like the Keeling Curve or the satellite record of Arctic Sea ice? Is there a way to transform the data into art, giving people a new way to talk about climate change?

Judy Twedt is a doctoral candidate at the University of Washington who shares climate science through data-driven music compositions. Her soundtracks are designed to emotionally connect us to the evidence of our rapidly changing planet and encourage us to become better stewards of the Earth we share. Judy has a master’s in atmospheric sciences, and her current research is supported by scholarships and fellowships from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and local philanthropic organizations.

Today, Judy joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain how she translates climate data into music. We listen to one of her pieces based on the satellite record of Arctic Sea ice, and she describes the meaning behind the chords and key changes. Judy discusses the intent of her work to connect people with the data, evoke an emotional response, and empower listeners to talk about climate change in a new way. Listen in for Judy’s insight around meeting people where their values are and learn how she initiates conversation around climate change in her own civic community.



Judy’s Website

Judy’s TED Talk

Kristina Lee: ‘Arctic Sea Ice’

‘What Climate Change Sounds Like’ in Crosscut

The Keeling Curve

Satellite Record of Arctic Sea Ice

Ice Core Data

Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe’s TED Talk

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Johnathan Haidt

King County Climate Caucus

Sufjan Stevens

Carbon Removal Newsroom


Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[1:04] Judy’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up in Tacoma, family of musicians
  • Interest in natural world from childhood
  • Shift to career in environmental science
  • Idea to make soundtracks of climate data

[5:13] How Judy translates data into music

  • Use satellite record of Arctic Sea ice
  • Each chord represents season of year
  • Right hand notes = one month of data
  • Above/below long-term average

[10:24] Judy’s motivation to share data through music

  • Teaching large undergrad lecture classes
  • Need to connect with important data sets
  • Evoke emotional response

[13:27] Judy’s insight on the key changes in her piece

  • Reflect ice entering different state regularly
  • Dissonance when majority of months statistical outliers

[16:29] How Judy’s work gives people hope and agency

  • New modality to open conversation
  • Every new approach = important experiment

[18:28] Judy’s take on meeting people where their values are

  • Value relationship, recognize different approaches
  • Don’t try to change identity but identify overlap

[20:59] How to initiate conversation outside your bubble

  • Find common ground (i.e.: economic interest of workers)
  • Connect with civic community 

[25:00] The connection between social justice and climate change

  • Food security concerns among fishing community in Alaska
  • Higher asthma rates around highway corridors
Mar 19, 2019
64: Restoring Soil Health for Resilient Farms—with Louise Edmonds of Intuit Earth

“We’ve got to nurture the land, nurture ourselves and nurture each other. That’s really what being human is about, and if we can get into that essence then we might have a future on the planet.”

Healthy soil is key in restoring biodiversity, protecting against pests and disease, and improving water use and photosynthetic efficiency. Healthy soil supports healthy animals and healthy humans. And healthy soil sequesters carbon from the atmosphere, effectively reversing climate change.

Louise Edmonds is the Eco-Agripreneur behind Intuit Earth, a company created to support farmers in restoring the carbon and water cycles on their land and bringing resilience into their systems on an environmental and economic level. Intuit is focused on restoring soil health, and to that end, the team produces Biodynamic Organic Compost specifically designed for the swan coastal plain sandy soils. Louise is also working with the Australian government to implement its new carbon sequestration pilot program.

Today, Louise joins Ross and Christophe to discuss her obsession with aerobic composting and her role in changing Australia’s climate and soil health policy. She shares the details of their carbon sequestration pilot project, discussing how the country’s policy has changed over time and why corporate leadership is motivated to put carbon on the balance sheet. Listen in to understand how Intuit Earth is involved in implementing Australia’s carbon sequestration program and learn how Louise is working to return the Wheatbelt of Western Australia to its former, biodiverse glory!



Intuit Earth

Louise on LinkedIn

Ecofeminism (Critique. Influence. Change.) by Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva

Green Revolution

Dr. Elaine Ingham

Luebke Compost

Kyoto Protocol

Dr. Christine Jones

The Paris Agreement

Carbon Disclosure Project

Dr. Charles Massy on RCC EP053

Ian and Dianne Haggerty

Books by Vandana Shiva

No-Till on the Plains

Carbon Removal Newsroom


Connect with Ross & Christophe


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube

Nori on GitHub


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[1:37] Louise’s path to reversing climate change

  • Ecofeminism course in first year of university
  • Learned composting in biodynamics course
  • Connection between compost and soil

[7:23] Louise’s focus on aerobic composting

  • Intensively managed and monitored (living entity)

[9:07] The difference between compost tea and compost extract

  • Tea diluted in water (feed, brew and use in fields)
  • Extract liquified in water (microorganisms + biproducts)

[10:27] Louise’s role in Australia’s climate and soil health policy

  • Work selling carbon offsets + understanding soil sequestration
  • Approached government in 2007 re: establishing methodology

[12:57] How Australia’s climate policy has changed over time

[17:19] Why corporate leadership is motivated to participate

  • Many countries working toward zero-carbon economy
  • Likely to tax exports that undermine efforts

[18:36] How adversity drives change

  • Healthy soil stores water, more resilient in drought

[20:58] Australia’s carbon sequestration pilot project

  • Methodology = measure increase in carbon in soil
  • Maintain permanence for minimum of 25 years
  • 20 farmers located in each agricultural region
  • Consider scale and create support networks 

[25:30] The role of Intuit Earth in Australia’s program

  • 4-year education/training program for farmers
  • Imbed new paradigms in rural institutions (e.g.: extension agents)
  • Involved in measurement, finding buyers for credits 

[27:00] How data is collected and verified in Australia’s system

  • Soil samples from each paddock tested in lab
  • $24/hectare for testing, 2 tons of carbon profits $50/hectare 

[31:13] Louise’s mission for Intuit Earth

  • Regenerate Wheatbelt of Western Australia

[32:05] How much compost is needed to restore the soil

  • 30 tons of compost covers 13K-hectare farm
  • ‘Little good compost goes long way’
Mar 12, 2019
63: Reading Nutrient Density to Improve the Quality of Our Food—with Dan Kittredge of the Bionutrient Food Association

Our current agricultural systems produce food with little nutritional value. And even the products labeled organic are not necessarily more nutrient dense. We assume that every carrot is as healthy as the next, but in truth, there is enormous variation and our existing standards assess process—not quality. So, is there a reliable way to determine the nutritional value of a particular food? To compare one carrot with another and make an informed decision on what to buy?

Dan Kittredge is an organic farmer and founder of the Bionutrient Food Association, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of our food supply. The organization works with growers, consumers and purveyors of food, providing the information and relationships necessary to create a market for high-quality food. Dan’s team has developed a prototype ‘bionutrient meter,’ a spectrometer that reads the nutrient density in foods, allowing consumers to compare nutritional value and make decisions accordingly.

Today, Dan joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the assumption that all food has the same nutritional value, explaining why the organic label can be misleading and how his organization is working to help consumers choose the most nutrient-dense food. We speak to the many benefits of producing food with high nutritional value (including carbon sequestration) and Dan describes how the conventional ag mindset impacts our health. Listen in for Dan’s insight around the open-source ethos of the Bionutrient Food Association and learn how you can get involved as a citizen scientist—and host your own spectrometer house party!



Bionutrient Food Association

Real Food Campaign

Soil & Nutrition Conference

The Bionutrient Meter

No-Till on the Plains

Northeast Organic Farming Association

Joel Salatin

Mother Earth News Egg Study

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

Greg Austic

Dan Kane

Carbon Removal Newsroom


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Key Takeaways

[0:55] Dan’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up on organic farm, parents ran NOFA
  • Yields improved after learning to work WITH nature
  • Started educational nonprofit to share practices

[8:32] Why the organic label can be misleading

  • Standard assesses process rather than quality
  • Indicates ‘less bad’ but not necessarily ‘more good’
  • Nutritional value is better gauge of food quality

[14:47] The assumption that all food has the same nutritional value

  • Huge variation in nutrient density among same crop
  • Plants part of biological rather than mechanical system
  • Food with flavor comes from living ecosystem

[21:46] How Dan wants to affect change through consumer dollars

  • Give people ability to choose more nutritious food
  • Technology called spectroscopy reads frequency
  • Inspire shift in management practices

[29:49] Dan’s take on privilege and the availability of nutritious food

  • Cost of production decreases when produce healthy crops
  • Farmers growing healthy food can outcompete conventional ag
  • Historical Indigenous model proves can be done with low tech

[33:28] The challenge of shifting the traditional mindset

  • Violation of life’s principles leads to death
  • Poor food quality leading to cancer in children
  • Unable to make coherent decisions

[38:46] The open-source ethos of the Bionutrient Food Association

  • Technology can’t belong to any one entity (held in commons)
  • Model of life to flourish by supporting each other

[43:34] How we can get involved with Dan’s organization

Mar 05, 2019
62: The Shift to Perennialization in Agriculture & the Broader Culture—with Fred Iutzi & Tim Crews of The Land Institute

To maintain annual agriculture, we wipe out perennial vegetation and effectively destroy everything on the landscape in order to plant crops every year. The negative consequences of this ecological disaster include soil erosion, loss of organic matter, and loss of nutrients. So, what if we shifted to a perennial crop system that regrows from year to year without having to be reseeded? Could such a transition facilitate a broader cultural shift toward sustainability and justice? And what impact would perennialization have on reversing climate change?

Fred Iutzi and Tim Crews serve as President and Director of Research, respectively, at The Land Institute, a nonprofit based in Salina, Kansas. The organization is focused on developing perennial grains, pulses and oilseed bearing plants grown in diverse crop mixtures known as perennial polycultures. The team of 40 plant breeders and ecologists on six continents are collaborating to create an agricultural system that mimics natural systems, producing ample food and reducing the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.

Today, Fred and Tim join Ross and Christophe to discuss the literal and figurative meanings of perennialization and share The Land Institute’s mission to create first a commercially viable method of perennial grain production and then a functional agro-ecosystem. We explore why people made the transition to annual crop production and the challenges around scaling up small, 20x20 proof-of-concept plots. Listen in to understand how perennial crops reverse climate change and learn how the new agriculture of perennialization can revitalize rural America.



The Land Institute

Land Institute on Facebook

Land Institute on Twitter

Land Institute on YouTube

Land Institute on Instagram

Land Institute on LinkedIn

Carbon Removal Newsroom

Peterson Farm Bros on YouTube

Wes Jackson

New Roots for Agricultureby Wes Jackson

Nature as Measure: The Selected Essays of Wes Jackson by Wes Jackson

Long Root Ale

Books by James C. Scott


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Key Takeaways 

[1:26] Fred’s path to reversing climate change

  • Emphasis on homecoming inspired return to family farm in IL
  • Position at Land Institute in 2016 to promote stable agricultural future

[4:07] Tim’s path to reversing climate change

[5:26] The literal and figurative definitions of perennialization

  • Perennial crops regrow from year to year without reseeding
  • Promote culture of respect + regeneration for planet and each other

[7:53] Why people made the transition to annual crop production

  • Young perennials take longer to establish
  • Collecting + re-sowing will select for non-shattering traits

[12:26] The theory of change for The Land Institute

  • Challenge dominant paradigm, promote perennial agriculture
  • Proof of concept (two perennial crops in commercial production)

[16:59] The Land Institute’s mission to create a commercially viable method of grain production

  • Scale up from two to 12 crops with substantial yield, ability to be intercropped
  • First step in creating functional agro-ecosystem

[21:21] The challenges around scaling up small proof-of-concept plots

  • Need to scale up R&D first, then production
  • Kernza less predictable in larger fields (50% crop failure)

[27:21] Monocrop vs. diverse landscapes

  • Monocrops easier to harvest, manage with mechanization
  • Harvest equipment challenge easier to solve than biological

[30:26] How perennial crops fit into reversing climate change

  • 40% to 60% of carbon in soil with perennials, 15% to 20% with annuals
  • Perennials improve carbon inputs, decrease respiration losses in soil organic matter

[35:10] The difference between soil organic matter and soil organic carbon

  • Carbon comprises 58% of soil organic matter
  • Matter includes phosphorous + nitrogen (necessary for stability)

[36:36] The relationship between annuals and the decline of rural America

  • Perennial crops self-perpetuating, self-sustaining over time
  • New ag to end soil exploitation parallels new culture to end boom-bust cycle

[40:36] How to get involved and learn more about The Land Institute

  • Spread word to promote societal commitment to perennials
  • Become leverager of resources and action
Feb 26, 2019
61: Leveraging the Life Cycle Assessment for Useful Carbon Accounting with Professor Kate Simonen

The processes of building material extraction, manufacturing, transportation and construction are ALL responsible for carbon emissions. So, how do you compare these embodied costs to make the best choices around which materials to use? How do you know whether it’s better for the environment to retrofit an existing building or build a new, passive one? How do you determine whether a building truly qualifies as zero-carbon? The primary tool we use to measure environmental impact is the life cycle assessment.

Kate Simonen is a carbon accounting expert and professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Washington. As a licensed architect and structural engineer, she has an extensive background in high-performance building systems, seismic design and retrofitting, and net-zero energy construction. Kate’s research is focused on environmental life cycle assessment and innovative construction materials and methods. She is also the founding director of the Carbon Leadership Forum, a research effort focused on advancing low-carbon construction.

Today, Kate joins Ross and Christophe to share the ins and outs of life cycle assessments, or LCAs. She explains how to draw systems boundaries in a useful way and describes what makes for a good versus bad LCA. Kate walks us through the stages of building, discussing how LCAs can be applied in each phase and sharing the CLF’s aim to increase awareness around why material choices matter. Listen in for Kate’s insight on the trend toward green building, the opportunities for storing carbon in the built-environment, and the three ways you can get involved in the life cycle assessment space!



Carbon Leadership Forum

I, Pencil

Jimmy Jia on RCC EP057

Klaus Lackner

Andrew Himes on RCC EP011

US Green Building Council

ISO Standards for LCAs

The EC3 Tool

Interface Carpet

Embodied Carbon Network

Architecture 2030 Carbon Smart Materials Palette


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Key Takeaways 

[1:39] Kate’s path to reversing climate change

  • Trained as architect/structural engineer
  • Zero carbon buildings team
  • Impact of manufacturing of materials

[4:06] How to draw systems boundaries in a useful way

  • Standardized methods (e.g.: people exist no matter what)
  • Depends on goal of LCA (global impact vs. process comparison) 

[7:17] How LCAs are applied in the stages of a building

  • Embodied costs
  • Use costs (operating, repair and maintenance)
  • End-of-life

[12:35] The rise of construction in the developing world

  • Equivalent of Manhattan every 35 days for 30 years
  • Potential to be material efficient + carbon sinks

[17:53] The practical uses of LCAs

  • Product-specific (environmental product declaration)
  • Whole-building LCA to make improvements

[20:47] What constitutes a good LCA

  • Defines systems boundaries, consistent data
  • Follows ISO Standards(transparent processes)

[25:48] The use case for the EC3 Calculator

  • Differentiate between materials up supply chain
  • Makes product procurement decisions easier 

[28:57] The trend toward green building in architecture/engineering

  • Understand complexity of environmental impact
  • Work toward zero operating energy by 2030

[32:40] The opportunities for storing carbon in the built environment

  • Conventional materials like carpet
  • Carbon fiber furniture

[34:04] Why wood is making a comeback

  • New manufacturing techniques
  • Renewed interest in material
  • Changes to building code (allows taller)

[36:58] Kate’s insight around forest management

  • Reduce fires and improve air quality
  • Harvest wood for buildings when fires threaten

[38:11] How to get involved in the LCA space

Feb 19, 2019
60: Connor Birkeland, Renewable Energy Research Fellow

The need for energy innovation has never been more urgent. To effectively reduce climate change, we need to implement new technologies at scale quickly. Yet, the politics and regulations that dictate the energy industry make it incredibly difficult to put new ideas into practice. Despite the challenges around change, the use of solar energy continues to grow as production becomes more and more affordable. So, how do we navigate public policy and continue to innovate in a space where brilliant ideas can take a decade to adopt on a large scale?

Connor Birkeland is research fellow working with Seattle City Light through the US Department of Energy Solar Technology Office. He is passionate about creating more effective environmental and energy policy by way of creative thinking and data-driven analysis. Connor has 10 years of hands-on experience working in renewable energy, and he earned his Master’s in Public Policy and Governance from the University of Washington Evans School. Connor has a specific interest in policy analysis, economic modeling and utility management.

Today, Connor joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explore the lay of the land in solar energy. He covers the main drivers of cost in solar, explaining why the industry has been able to scale exponentially in recent years. Connor shares his frustration in working with a public utility, walking us through the pros and cons of regulating the space and the challenges of innovating in such an entrenched industry. Listen in for Connor’s insight around the environmental impact of hydroelectric power and learn how the blockchain might play a central role in energy innovation!



Element 8

Itek Energy

The Solar Foundation

US Energy Information Administration

Georgetown, TX

UL 1741

Edward Abbey

John Muir

Clean Line Energy

ASU Decision Theater

Order No. 1000

Electric Rule 21

IEEE 1547


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Key Takeaways

[2:12] Connor’s path to reversing climate change

  • Undergrad in astrophysics (NASA satellites)
  • Solar installations in Colorado
  • Master’s in renewable energy policy

[4:24] The current overview of solar energy

  • Drastic changes in last 10 years (price drop)
  • Able to scale exponentially

[7:32] The main drivers of cost in solar

  • Soft costs (permitting, customer acquisition, interconnection)
  • Cost reduction of aluminum, glass and PV backsheet

[11:35] The life cycle of a solar panel

  • 25-year warranty, rated to last much longer
  • Annual cell degradation rate of 0.5%

[14:30] Connor’s frustration with working at a utility

  • Apathy of employees nearing retirement 

[15:49] The environmental impact of hydroelectric power

  • Decomposition of trees releases CO2
  • Dams cause flooding, canyons underwater
  • Prevents breeding and flow of fish

[19:58] The challenges around innovating in the energy space

  • 8-10 years for utilities to adopt ideas on large scale
  • None of Clean Line’s HVDC lines built after 10 years
  • Must navigate policy, politics and regulations 

[26:02] The pros and cons of regulating utilities

  • Mitigate moral hazard of quasi-monopolies
  • Causes lack of innovation in space 

[28:09] The blockchain’s role in energy innovation

  • Facilitates use of tech (i.e.: smart solar inverter)
  • Provides secure communication structure 

[31:23] Connor’s take on the future of energy

  • Shift to renewables in light of high risk (e.g.: CA fires)
Feb 12, 2019
59: Trey Hill of Harborview Farms

No-till agriculture promotes soil health and sequesters carbon, so why isn’t everybody doing it? The practical reality is that farmers are limited by their infrastructure and financial obligations. Making a change is not always profitable and often means fighting against a father who’s mastered the conventional system. To facilitate large-scale change, we need a market that allows farmers to get paid for growing crops unconventionally.

Trey Hill is the champion of change behind Harborview Farms, an agricultural operation that produces corn, wheat, and soybeans for the Mid-Atlantic region. Harborview focuses on sustainable farming and environmental stewardship, treating the land as a canvas rather than a commodity. Trey’s creative approach combines traditionalism with technology and environmentalism, making him an ideal candidate for Nori’s pilot program

Today, Trey joins Ross and Christophe to discuss how working with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation led him on a path to environmentalism. He shares the fundamental idea behind cover crops and speaks to the rising use of technology in agriculture. Trey also offers his take on what farmers and environmentalists have in common and the advantage of a market-based approach to promoting regenerative practices. Listen in for Trey’s insight on the practical realities of farming green and learn about his experience as part of the Nori pilot!



Harborview Farms

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Pilot Episode of RCC

National No-Tillage Conference

Dr. Charles Massy on RCC EP053

Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth by Charles Massy

Chester River Watershed Observatory

Center for Agroecology & Sustainable Food Systems

Granular Farm Management Software

‘Soil My Undies’ Challenge in Modern Farmer

USDA Farm Service Agency


Video of Trey’s Cereal Rye


Connect with Ross & Christophe 


Nori on Facebook

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Key Takeaways

[0:45] Trey’s path to reversing climate change

[8:33] The fundamental idea of cover crops

  • Monocultures fail to build ecosystem (unnatural break)
  • Plant other grasses for more diversity
  • Sequester carbon year-round
  • Lower fossil fuels burned, fertilizers 

[13:49] The practical realities of farming green

  • Limited by infrastructure, financial obligations
  • Organic no-till never been done before 

[19:30] Trey’s take on farmland as canvas

  • Cover crops bring abstract way of thinking
  • Relatable to those outside industry

[22:30] How to bring farmers and environmentalists together

  • Focus on commonalities (e.g.: work for less than deserve)
  • Avoid accusations, political topics

[26:53] Trey’s experience with the Nori pilot program

  • Monetize carbon already sequestering
  • Develop market to facilitate change

[36:16] Why Trey supports a market-based approach

  • Drop in commodities prices + overproduction
  • Trend to consolidation (economies of scale)

[44:32] The rise of technology in agriculture

  • Crop health map based on satellite imagery
  • Allows to fine tune nitrogen management
  • Team learns from each other at rapid pace 

[48:20] How Trey is taking planting green to the next level

  • Leverage technology for more biomass
  • Healthier soil = better future 

[52:27] Why slugs have become Trey’s nemesis

  • No-till environment creates habitat
  • Can only kill with contact (live underground)
Feb 05, 2019
58: Ryan Anderson of Delta Institute

We typically think of value and ROI in monetary terms, but what about the social value of an investment? Or its environmental return? The field of ecological economics is built around the idea that the health of our land serves as the foundation of our economy, and we know that assigning a monetary value to ecosystem services helps us to be better stewards to these resources. So, how do we put carbon sequestration on the balance sheet? How do we build market incentives to reverse climate change at scale? And how do we talk to investors about deploying capital in ways that create real value for the landscape AND provide a healthy financial return?

Ryan Anderson is the Strategy Lead with the Delta Institute, a nonprofit working to collaborate with communities to solve complex environmental challenges across the Midwest. They identify opportunities for market-based environmental solutions and then proceed to design, test and share those solutions for the social, environmental and economic benefit of their community partners. Ryan joined the team at Delta in 2007, and his role involves connecting innovative people and ideas to specific resources and places. Currently, he’s focused on reversing climate change by working with farmers to sequester carbon in the soil, creating a more inclusive and regenerative economy in the process.

Today, Ryan joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the principles of ecological economics and the debate around financializing ecosystem services. He describes his work with The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), sharing its successes and failures and explaining what Nori can learn from his experience with the project. Listen in for Ryan’s advice to impact investors on diversifying their portfolios with farmland and learn about the Delta Institute’s recent report on valuing the ecosystem service benefits of regenerative agriculture practices.




The Delta Institute

National No-Tillage Conference

Carbon Farming Innovation Network


Ecological Economics: Principles and Applicationsby Herman E. Daly and Joshua Farley

The Chicago Climate Exchange

Wendell Berry

Pope Francis’ ‘On Care for Our Common Home’

Robert Costanza’s ‘The Value of the World’s Ecosystem Services and Natural Capital’

Dr. Charles Massey on RCC EP053

Good Derivatives: A Story of Financial and Environmental Innovationby Richard L. Sander

Cap-and-Trade Discussion on RCC EP031

North Dakota Farmers Union

Iowa Farm Bureau

Waxman-Markey Bill

The Paris Agreement

US Climate Alliance

4 Per 1000 Initiative

Delta Institute & Farmland LP Report

Farmland LP

Earth Economics


Henry George


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Key Takeaways

[2:29] Ryan’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up in Chicago (hub for futures)
  • Independent study on ecological econ
  • Master’s at University of Leeds 

[7:59] The principles of ecological economics

  • Fusing of ecology and economy
  • Imbedded view of natural + human systems

[9:44] Ryan’s take on financializing ecosystem services

  • Must be on balance sheet
  • Makes us better stewards to resources
  • Values beyond monetary (i.e.: social, aesthetic)
  • Market incentives necessary for speed, scale

[16:28] Basic market terminology

  • Derivatives
  • Forwards vs. futures
  • Commodities

[21:52] The function of The Chicago Climate Exchange

  • Anticipated regulatory future for carbon emissions
  • Voluntary membership created ‘policy laboratory’
  • Ag/forestry contain costs for industrial emitters
  • Delta Institute brought in as aggregator for IL

[28:19] The successes and failures of CCX

  • Mass involvement, engagement from membership
  • Members pulled back after failure of Waxman-Markey

[33:44] What Nori can learn from CCX

  • Test methodology, make accessible to farmers
  • Model for participation at scale quickly

[38:46] The mission of the Delta Institute

  • Collaborate with communities across Midwest
  • Solve complex environmental challenges
  • Pilot innovative ideas, scale via partnerships

[42:18] Ryan’s advice for impact investors

  • Deploy capital to create real value on landscape
  • Leverage farmland to diversify portfolio

[47:41] Ryan’s hope for the Nori pilot

  • Expand across North America, world
  • Farmers join and benefit (boost to stay on land)
Jan 29, 2019
57: Clean Tech Entrepreneur Jimmy Jia

Sustainable energy is a wicked problem. As we solve one aspect of the challenge, others arise—and the very definition of the problem evolves over time. Yet admitting uncertainty is unpopular. No one is holding a picket sign that reads, “It depends on a number of factors that are mutually interdependent.” So, what should we be thinking about as we work toward a sustainable energy future?  

Jimmy Jia is an entrepreneur, author, educator, strategist and speaker at the intersection of sustainable energy and business. As the founder and CEO of Distributed Energy Management, he supports companies in right-sizing their energy consumption to reduce wasted utility spending. Jimmy also serves on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy in San Diego and the Executive Committee of the CleanTech Alliance in Seattle. He teaches the Sustainable Energy Solutions Certificate at Presidio Graduate School, and Jimmy is the author of Driven by Demand: How Energy Gets Its Power.

Today, Jimmy joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss the wicked problem of energy, offering his insight around energy transitions and the value proposition of sustainable energy. He explains the concepts of a microgrid and a smart grid, speaking to the nuances of those terms and the challenge of assigning a formal definition to either one. Jimmy also addresses what Nori might learn from the Renewable Energy Credit (REC) market and how Nori fits into the overall energy balance framework. Listen in for Jimmy’s advice to consumers regarding sustainable consumption and get his take on nuclear energy, the rise of cooperatives, and even the feasibility of the Dyson sphere!



Driven by Demand: How Energy Gets Its Powerby Jimmy Jia

I, Pencil

Wendell Berry

Bill McKibben


Helion Energy


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Key Takeaways

[0:44] Jimmy’s energy journey

  • Developed interest during MBA 10 years ago
  • Link between materials science + energy market
  • Explore physics of energy, business realm 

[4:56] How the laws of thermodynamics apply to business

  • Value proposition = useful energy out
  • Sustainable system requires discussion of demand

[7:12] Jimmy’s insight around energy transitions

  • Must define start point and end point
  • Start with value prop + work backwards

[12:48] How to frame the value prop of sustainable energy

  • Define societal benefits want to achieve
  • Find cheapest method (financially, in energy)
  • Look at energy as demand-side issue 

[14:35] Jimmy’s advice for consumers

  • Efficient solution usually best practice for sector
  • Consume well to consume sustainably

[15:49] Why energy qualifies as a ‘wicked problem’

  • Definition of problem evolves over time
  • People find way to consume each new source 

[22:00] The concept of the microgrid

  • Generic term for small power infrastructure
  • ‘Self-sustaining’ but boundaries hard to define

[25:06] The idea of the smart grid

  • Internet-enabled data available
  • More granular as evolves (i.e.: sensor in toaster)

[27:55] What Nori can learn from the REC market

  • Separates power production from fact that green
  • No way for consumer to know if bought green electron

[32:00] How Nori fits into the energy balance framework

  • Play in ‘waste box’ (carbon, pollution space)

[36:44] Jimmy’s take on nuclear energy

  • Tech today very different from 30 years ago
  • Some use rather than generate waste
  • Different risks, benefits among types

[39:48] The rise of energy cooperatives

  • Community choice aggregation in California
  • Adds retail layer separate from utility 

[41:46] The feasibility of the Dyson sphere

  • Sensitivity to gravitational distribution makes unlikely
  • Smaller units (swarm) viable but far away
Jan 22, 2019
56: Kyle Murphy, Executive Director of CarbonWA

About 65% of Washington voters support action on climate change. But after six years of working to pass legislation for a carbon tax, the state has yet to put a price on emissions. How do political divisions make the mission so challenging? What alternative solutions are advocates exploring? And how might the Nori marketplace fit into a broader policy framework? 

Kyle Murphy is the Executive Director of CarbonWA, a nonprofit committed to move Washington State toward zero carbon emissions. The organization is composed of students, activists, scientists, economists and concerned citizens who share the moral obligation to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean, renewable energy. CarbonWA is dedicated to passing equitable, evidence-based carbon-reduction policies, and Kyle has been leading the charge since 2015. A passionate advocate for change, he has a background in campaign management, fundraising, public speaking, communications and climate change policy.

Today, Kyle joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss the ongoing effort to put a price on carbon in Washington State. He shares the competition of ideas around enacting a carbon tax, the challenge of dealing with diverse stakeholders, and the CarbonWA approach to the issue of accountability. Kyle addresses why I-732 and I-1631 may have failed despite public support of climate action and explains the appetite for alternative solutions like regulations or a citizen’s dividend. Listen in for Kyle’s insight on how climate policy differs from the legalization of marijuana or gay marriage and learn how emitters might employ Nori to earn credits within the context of a carbon tax bill.





Greg Rock on RCC EP036

Milton Friedman

Washington Initiative 732

Washington Initiative 1631

‘The Left vs. a Carbon Tax’ in Vox

Todd Myers on RCC EP052

Aldyen Donnelly on RCC EP031

Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2018


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Nori White Paper

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Key Takeaways

[1:25] Kyle’s path to reversing climate change

  • Snorkeling as kid, desire to save fish
  • Career running climate policy campaigns

[4:24] The efforts to put a price on carbon in WA

  • Cap and trade system proposed in 2010
  • Revenue-neutral carbon tax on ballot in 2016 

[6:30] The competition of ideas around a carbon tax

  • Revenue neutral = same amount of taxes
  • I-1631 used money for carbon-reducing projects 

[9:45] How carbon pricing differs from cap and trade

  • Carbon pricing, tax or fee puts dollar amount on emissions
  • Emitters buy, trade permits at auction in cap and trade

[10:38] The challenges of dealing with different stakeholders

  • Use of revenue (conservative vs. progressive interests)
  • Lack of basic political give and take

[15:00] Why I-1631 failed while despite public support of climate action

  • General aversion to taxes
  • Perceived lack of accountability, effectiveness

[20:03] The potential for carbon regulations in Washington State

  • Narrow approach to single facet of problem
  • Proposals to ban HFCs, set low carbon fuel standard 

[23:28] How states might deal with carbon leakage

  • Tax rebate for businesses likely to jump border
  • Exempt if do something else to reduce emissions 

[25:24] Kyle’s take on a regional alliance to prevent carbon leakage

  • Little enthusiasm around issue in Idaho, Wyoming
  • Original vision for west coast alliance unsuccessful 

[27:48] How climate policy differs from gay marriage or marijuana

  • Requires primary economic shift (change energy system)
  • Similar in scope to issue of slavery

[29:16] How fast climate change might ‘solve itself’

  • Electricity production within reach (perhaps by 2045)
  • Still need breakthrough in transportation, industry

[30:37] How CarbonWA handles the issue of accountability

  • Access to power not same as power
  • Remains independent of political party

[33:22] The benefit to a citizen’s dividend policy

  • Easy to sell to electorate, adds durability
  • Easy to balance total revenue of program

[36:18] How Nori might fit into the broader policy framework

  • Carbon tax bills with clause re: carbon sequestration
  • Payers could claim credit, wouldn’t have to pay tax

[37:47] How Nori is considering issues of justice/fairness

  • Think about how land used prior to farming
  • Consider indigenous people who don’t own land
Jan 15, 2019
55: Jaycen Horton, Nori's Principal Blockchain Architect

To make Nori work, the data of carbon removal must be somehow transferred from a model like COMET-Farm to the blockchain—and that is precisely the infrastructure that Jaycen Horton is building at Nori. So, how does communication between the software work, exactly? Why did Nori choose to build on the Ethereum blockchain? And what is the benefit of building in an open-source community?

Jaycen is the Principal Blockchain Architect at Nori. He has extensive experience as Lead Software Engineer at Dell, Security Engineer at Wells Fargo, and at ASU Decision Theater. Jaycen’s career has focused on peer-to-peer and distributed technologies, most recently drilling down to smart contracts and cutting-edge UX technology. He is also the co-organizer of the largest blockchain meetup in the state of Arizona, Desert Blockchain, and a contributor to the ground-breaking book, Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DApps

Today, Jaycen joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share his background in blockchain technology and how he came to join the Nori team. He explains his initial skepticism around Bitcoin, the advantage of Ethereum’s smart contracts, and the reasons Nori chose to build on the Ethereum blockchain. Jaycen describes the API that Nori is building, offering insight around the way it connects to COMET-Farm and the value of sharing the API in an open-source community. Listen in to understand the function of Nori’s backend software and learn where to go for more information about blockchain technology!



Certified Bitcoin Professional

Ross’ Article on Ethereum


Protocol Labs


Carbon Harvest

Carbon Removal Seattle

Reversing Climate Change EP013


Nori on GitHub

Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DAppsby Andreas Antonopoulos and Gavin Wood

Jaycen in Hacker Noon

Hacker Noon

Andreas Antonopoulos

Books by Andreas Antonopoulos

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Moneyby Nathaniel Popper

That Book on Blockchain: A One-Hour Introby Jonathan B. Morley



Truffle Suite

Desert Blockchain Meetup


Key Takeaways

[0:51] Jaycen’s background in blockchain technology

  • Access to video cards, GPUs at ASU in 2010
  • Play with Bitcoin ‘like science experiment’ 

[3:54] Jaycen’s skepticism around Bitcoin early on

  • Protein folding similar but more useful
  • Not obvious could be used to exchange value

[6:14] How Ethereum changed the landscape

  • Smart contracts allow to build business
  • Financial agreements among multiple parties
  • Money executes transaction (no third party)
  • Value associated with programmability

[11:13] Jaycen’s insight on poor blockchain use cases  

  • High-speed or low-cost transactions
  • Check state into blockchain vs. all computations

[15:07] The fundamentals of blockchain technology

  • Nodes = participants in system, download info to store on network
  • Only two components among decentralization, security and speed

[19:16] Why Nori chose the Ethereum blockchain

  • Open-source community of talented developers
  • Functional blockchain

[20:45] Jaycen’s take on public vs. private blockchains

  • Purpose of blockchain = work with people don’t trust
  • Incentivizes behavior to cooperate

[22:50] The integration of carbon removal and blockchain tech

[28:34] The significance of developing an API

[33:27] The parallels between scientific method and open-source software

  • Modify yourself as necessary
  • Peer review to identify flaws 

[38:34] The function of Nori’s backend technology

  • Pull in and process COMET-Farm data
  • Store in smart contract on blockchain 

[41:28] Why Nori is sharing its API

  • Allows for purchase/sale of digital assets
  • Infrastructure makes other things possible

[43:04] The open-source ethos

  • Take advantage of genius outside organization
  • Idea easy to duplicate = no longer novel 

[46:51] Where to learn more about blockchain tech

Jan 08, 2019
54: Gillian Muessig of Sybilla Masters Fund

Nori has ambitious plans to reverse climate change by using the blockchain to enable the people who draw down CO2 from the atmosphere to get paid for doing so. And the team is in the process of building the infrastructure necessary to make that happen. But how do they go about talking farmers, for example, into using the platform? How do they convince companies to buy CRCs? How do they make the business case for carbon removal?

Serial entrepreneur Gillian Muessig currently serves as General Partner at Sybilla Masters Fund, a division of Outlines Venture Group focused on funding diverse and inclusive founding teams. She is also the cohost of CEO Coach, a show designed to break down the art of business development. Gillian is best known as Founding President of Moz, the world’s leading provider of marketing applications and metrics reporting software. With more than 25 years of experience helping small businesses become global brands, she is a sought-after keynote speaker, board director and advisor to companies on four continents. One of the world’s most active entrepreneur-mentors, Gillian has helped more than 1,000 companies launch, grow, pivot and thrive. 

Today, Gillian joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to advise the Nori team around making the business case for carbon removal. She shares her own entrepreneurial journey and the most important qualities of a successful entrepreneur. Gillian explains how the blockchain fits into Nori’s business model and offers her take on the startup’s garbage collector metaphor. Listen in for Gillian’s insight on the best way to approach farmers and potential CRC buyers and learn how Nori can scale faster if the founders are willing to ‘give away their Legos.’



Sybilla Masters Fund


CEO Coach


Connect with Nori


Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways 

[1:15] Gillian’s path to entrepreneurship

  • ‘Grand Dame of internet marketing’ in early years of web
  • Survived dot-com bust with revenue-share agreements
  • White Hat SEO = deserve to be found in search results
  • Enough right decisions to make company survive 

[11:07] The qualities of a successful entrepreneur

  • ‘Invent the wheel, don’t reinvent the wheel’
  • Use available templates for what has been done 

[15:01] How the blockchain fits Nori’s business model

  • Facilitates trust between two or more parties
  • Harder to breach 1K people vs. single bank

[17:34] How Nori’s approach to climate change is different

  • Remove rather than avoid new emissions
  • Create self-reinforcing feedback loop
  • Restore carbon balance in this century

[21:52] Gillian’s take on the garbage collector metaphor

  • Help companies look beyond budget
  • Consumers less likely to do business with litterers

[24:37] The history of industrial pollution

  • No consequences to polluting air, water and ground
  • Regulations established around liners
  • Government sues to clean up, collects $ from polluters

[27:41] Gillian’s advice around approaching farmers

  • Address financial hit of transition to regenerative ag
  • Focus on how to monetize ‘doing the right thing’
  • Show data from farmers who have already done it

[37:32] The value in persuading a buyer’s board of directors

  • Legal and financial responsibility to company
  • Board priorities carried out by C-suite leadership

[42:08] Gillian’s advice for avoiding founder-itis

  • Must eventually hire sales/business development
  • Focus on WHO to approach and HOW to do so 

[45:32] Gillian’s favorite mistakes as an entrepreneur

  • Challenge around ‘giving away Legos’
  • Knock on door one more time



Jan 02, 2019
53: Dr. Charles Massy, Farmer and Author

With the Industrial Revolution and the development of a mechanistic mindset, we have come to view ourselves as entities separate from the earth. In fact, the earth has become a subset from which we extract profits. This attitude has led to industrial farming practices that destroy the land and an industrial food complex that strips the nutrients from the foods we consume. What if we combined the best of science and mechanics with the indigenous understanding that we are dependent on the earth to sustain us? What if we adopted—on a large scale—the regenerative agricultural practices that produce nutrient-rich foods, restore the soil, and remove carbon from the atmosphere?

Dr. Charles Massy is a farmer, writer, and self-professed shit-stirrer. He has managed a 5K-acre sheep and cattle property for the last 40 years and conducted research in the areas of innovation in the Merino sheep and wool industries, regenerative landscape management, and climate change. Charles is a research associate with the Fenner School of Environment and Society at Australian National University and the author of Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth.

Today, Charles joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain how the industrial approach damaged his own family farm and how draught and debt led him to the practices of modern regenerative agriculture. He discusses the dangers of economic rationalism and how we can work within the capitalist framework to profit from sustainable practices. Charles offers insight around the lack of nutrients in food produced by the industrial complex, describing the health impacts of processed and fast food as well as the opportunity to reestablish a human connection to our food through community gardens. Listen in to understand how an emergent mind combines the best of science with an indigenous or organic worldview and learn how regenerative farmers and urban consumers can collaborate to initiate the healing process and reverse climate change along the way!



Climactic Podcast

Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture, A New Earth by Charles Massy

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Aldo Leopold

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Books by Wendell Berry

Books by Carolyn Merchant

Ian and Dianne Haggerty

Companies vs. Climate Change

Dialectic of Enlightenment by Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno

Mary Oliver

Don Huber

The Poison Papers

Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science by Carey Gillam

UN Food & Agriculture Organization


Acres USA

Landcare Australia

Paul Hawken

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[1:28] Charles’ path to regenerative agriculture

  • Took over 5K-acre family farm at 22
  • Industrial approach led to damage/debt
  • Search for alternative led regenerative ag

[6:16] The geology of Australia

  • 2/3 up to 3.8B years old (scarce nutrients)
  • Western prototype suited for different climate

[7:58] The indigenous mindset

  • People indivisible with Mother Earth
  • Mechanistic mind views as separate

[10:42] The profitability of regenerative practices

  • Must function within capitalist framework
  • Haggerty’s doubled yield with 1/6 cost input

[14:36] The idea of economic rationalism

  • Must revolutionize system from within
  • Danger in arrogance, focus on profits

[19:56] The truth about industrial agriculture

  • Food empty of most essential nutrients
  • Poisoned by chemicals (e.g.: glyphosate)

[23:16] The myth around the necessity for industrial ag

  • 70% of food supply comes from peasant farms
  • Current farmland could feed 11B

[24:57] The cost to consumers for shifting to regenerative

  • Low if grow own food, use community gardens
  • Opportunity cost to human health if don’t change

[30:00] The idea of the innovator’s dilemma

  • Big companies lose connection with consumer
  • Difficult for mammoth corporations to pivot

[31:53] Charles’ insight on developing an emergent mind

  • Combine best of science with caring for earth
  • Humility keeps open to adaptation

[35:00] How self-interest is tied to sustaining the earth

  • Best regenerative farmers are top businesspeople
  • Take care of ecosystem that facilitates profitability

[37:58] Who Charles is trying to reach

  • Farmers open to new practices
  • Health-conscious urban consumers

[43:12] How agriculture can take the lead in healing the earth

  • Industrial agriculture played major role in destruction
  • Best climate solutions come from regenerative ag

[45:08] Charles’ take on our spiritual connection to the earth

  • Spiritual element critical to emergent mind
  • Elimination is ‘what got us into trouble’
Dec 26, 2018
52: Todd Myers, Environmental Director at Washington Policy Center

“The man who says it can’t be done should get out of the way of the woman who’s doing it. We focus all the time on politicians and what they’re going to do. Meanwhile, we’re becoming more energy efficient every day. We’re using fewer resources every day. We’re finding a way to do more with less, quietly, every day. But [the free market is] where the solutions are coming from.”

Todd Myers is the Director of the Center for the Environment at the Washington Policy Center. One of the leading experts on free-market environmental policy, Todd has authored numerous studies on environment issues as well as the ground-breaking book Eco-Fads: How the Rise of Trendy Environmentalism Is Harming the Environment. His research on the failure of Washington’s green building mandate continues to receive national attention, and Todd has 20 years of experience in the environmental space.

Today, Todd joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to discuss the role of the Washington Policy Center and the connection between economics and environmentalism. He offers insight around the shortcomings of both liberals and conservatives when it comes to climate policy, addressing the Democrats' failure to track results and the Republican messaging of denial. Todd shares his free market approach to carbon reduction, his take on the connection between poverty and deforestation, and his frustration with subsidies and policy incentives that don’t produce a significant reduction in CO2. Listen in to understand role of technology in helping us do more with less and learn how Todd is working to address climate change in a way that promotes prosperity and personal freedom.



Washington Policy Center

Elinor Ostrom

‘Beyond Markets and States’ by Elinor Ostrom

Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action by Elinor Ostrom

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate by Naomi Klein

Todd’s TEDx Talk on Smartphones

Paul Ehrlich

Nest Rush Hour Rewards

Todd’s Op Ed in Crosscut

Sightline Institute

The Breakthrough Institute

Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

The Economics of Non-Human Societies by Gordon Tullock

‘How Capitalism Saved the Bees’ in Reason



Connect with Ross & Christophe 


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[1:01] The role of the Washington Policy Center

  • State-based public policy think tank
  • Free-market solutions to climate change

[2:21] The link between economics and environmentalism

  • Economics = study of allocation of scarce resources
  • Environmentalism = concern about scarce resources

[4:45] Todd’s insight on where both parties fall short

  • Blue states have paved over nature
  • Red states send wrong message with denial
  • Must track results to ensure policy works

[9:43] Todd’s take on the failure of 1631

  • Money raised in hands of appointees
  • No metrics for success 

[13:00] Todd’s free market approach to carbon reduction

  • Assign simple price (revenue neutral)
  • Incentivize technology solutions

[16:44] The role of technology in solving climate change

  • Facilitates better use of scarce resources
  • Prevents deforestation, promotes energy efficiency
  • Leverage blockchain to raise consumer confidence 

[20:42] The connection between poverty and deforestation

  • Tech improvements facilitate higher yields on less land
  • More deforestation in impoverished areas of Africa

[26:43] Todd’s argument against Jevons paradox

  • Improvements in energy efficiency overwhelm rebound
  • US population + GDP increasing yet energy use flat

[28:27] How some policy incentives encourage risky behavior

  • Subsidies, insurance requirements to live on coast
  • Poor decisions based on price distortions, politics

[31:53] Why politicians focus on image rather than results

  • Incentive to not admit when wrong (humility doesn’t play)
  • Governor Inslee not on track to meet any climate targets

[37:07] Who Todd looks to to challenge his ideas

[40:22] The evolution of Todd’s beliefs about climate change

  • Real and worth doing something about
  • Approach that works with prosperity, personal freedom

[44:31] Todd’s experience as a beekeeper

  • Amazing complex creatures capable of calculus
  • Hive immunity (more efficient than individual system)
Dec 18, 2018
51: Joseph Majkut, Director of Climate Policy at Niskanen Center

How do you talk to leaders in Washington DC about the climate challenge? Is there a way to frame the risk that will inspire policymakers on both sides of the aisle to take action? How might a carbon tax work—and would that be preferable to a regulatory approach?

Joseph Majkut serves as the Director of Climate Policy at the Niskanen Center, a nonpartisan think tank that works to promote an open society and takes an activist stance on climate change. An expert in climate science, climate policy, and risk analysis for decisionmaking, Joseph’s writing has been featured in scientific journals, public media, and environmental trade press. Prior to joining Niskanen, he worked on climate change policy as a congressional science fellow, and Joseph holds a PhD from Princeton in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

Today, Joseph joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss the origin of the Niskanen Center and how its libertarian roots make it different from other advocacy organizations. He offers insight around the politics of climate change, explaining how he thinks about framing the climate challenge and why it’s important to address the issue from an empathetic perspective. Joseph shares his approach to managing risk in the form of a carbon tax, describing how the tax might work, who should pay and how the money could be used. Listen in for Joseph’s argument against a regulatory approach and learn how the Niskanen Center advocates for policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



Niskanen Center

Joseph on Twitter

Cato Institute

IPCC Report

Robert Nisbet

David Hume

Jerry Taylor

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climateby Naomi Klein

Mauna Loa Website

Paul Hawken

Aldyen Donnelly on RCC EP031

Joseph’s Op Ed in The Hill


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:49] What makes Niskanen special

  • Federally-focused think tank, advocacy organization
  • Libertarian view with activist stance on climate change

[3:39] Joseph’s background as a research scientist

  • Studied amount of CO2 absorbed by ocean
  • Clear understanding of carbon budget

[5:35] The ocean’s role in climate change

  • Ocean holds enormous amount of CO2 (prevents some warming)
  • Ability of ocean to take up with same efficiency might change

[9:24] The social cost of carbon

  • Attempt to quantify financial damages
  • What we’re willing to pay to reduce emissions 

[13:20] How climate change impacts weather events

  • ‘Worse’ storms = subjective measure
  • Can quantify for individual events (i.e.: x% rainier) 

[15:43] The origin of the Niskanen Center

  • President Jerry Taylor worked at Cato Institute
  • Founded to shift view of climate, raise concern
  • Libertarian ideal to protect life, liberty, and property

[20:34] Joseph’s insight on the politics on climate change

  • Solution aversion to large government intervention
  • Niskanen aims to move thinking on conservative side

[24:40] How Joseph thinks about framing the climate challenge

  • Greenhouse gas emissions product of ‘good stuff’
  • Risk-management to avoid fundamentally different climate state

[28:39] Joseph’s take on how to address climate change

  • Carbon tax to manage risk (price on emissions)

[31:19] Joseph’s thoughts on how a carbon tax would work

  • People respond by using resource more efficiently
  • Turn efforts of engineers toward problem want to solve

[36:31] Joseph’s argument against a regulatory approach

  • Emissions pervasive in economy (different from past issues)
  • Don’t know safe amount of greenhouse gasses

[41:14] Joseph’s view of who should pay the carbon tax

  • As high in production chain as possible
  • Policy design to consider poor (not in position to change lives)

[45:49] How the money from a federal carbon tax might be used

  • Some back to households to offset costs
  • Portion to make economy more productive
  • Investments in reducing costs of green energy/climate adaptation
Dec 11, 2018
50: Jimmy Daukas of American Farmland Trust

America’s farms are disappearing at an unsustainable rate of 1.5 million acres per year. Yes, this has implications in terms of food production, but it also impacts our ability to deal with climate change. Through conservation practices and regenerative innovation, agricultural lands have the potential to sequester a great deal of carbon in the soil—and that can’t happen if development continues to erase our farms and ranches. So, how do we protect our best land and promote agriculture as a natural climate solution?

Jimmy Daukus is the Senior Program Officer at American Farmland Trust, an organization dedicated to saving the land that sustains us. AFT is working to protect the best farmland, promote environmentally sound practices and keep farmers on the land. In his current role, Jimmy is focused on national initiatives to combat climate change, engage non-operating landowners in conservation practices, and save America’s most productive, versatile and resilient agricultural lands. Jimmy has been with AFT for 21 years, serving as VP for Programs and Managing Director for Agriculture & Environment, and he led the organization’s campaign to transform US policy through the 2008 Farm Bill. 

Today, Jimmy joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss the importance of American Farmland Trust’s mission to protect farmland and explain the significant impact of land use on climate change. He describes AFT’s role as a protector of food-producing land, offering insight on how they work with both farmers and policymakers to identify the barriers to implementing conservation practices and advocate for policy changes and incentives. Jimmy addresses the need to make progress across the continuum of agricultural practices, elevating farming and ranching as a natural climate solution. Listen in for Jimmy’s take on the competition for land use and learn how agriculture can be a major player in reversing climate change.



American Farmland Trust

Ben Kessler on RCC EP037

Farms Under Threat Report

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warmingedited by Paul Hawken

NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program

IPCC Report

Gabe Brown

Jennifer Moore-Kucera


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:47] Jimmy’s path to reversing climate change

  • Grew up in CT, farmland converted to suburban homes
  • Work at AFT combines interest in land, ag and environment 

[3:11] Where farmers fit into the climate issue

  • Front lines of impact (weather-based industry)
  • One of most important solutions (sequester carbon in soil)

[4:37] The importance of AFT’s mission to protect farmland

  • How we use land has big impact on climate change
  • Sprawling development increases vehicle miles, energy use
  • Farmland protection + compact growth = less emissions 

[7:15] The barrier for new and beginning farmers

  • Access to affordable land 

[9:41] AFT’s role as a protector of food-producing land

  • 5M acres of ag land converted annually (unsustainable)
  • Identify most productive, versatile and resilient land
  • Promote use of marginal lands for solar, reforestation
  • More attention to carbon sequestration on ag lands 

[15:22] How AFT works with farmers and policymakers

  • Identify barriers and test solutions on ground
  • Tweak policy based on what works best

[17:56] Jimmy’s insight on the need for policy incentives

  • Ag land can’t compete dollar for dollar with housing
  • Better off to protect best land, promote smart growth

[20:00] How a carbon market could make a difference for farmers

  • Low margin, risky business
  • Benefit from additional revenue streams

[22:44] The disconnect between renters and landowners

  • Extend leases to facilitate conservation practices (5 years)
  • Establish communication and trust to change dynamic 

[26:21] How to make progress across the continuum of ag practices

  • Conventional—conservation—organic—regenerative
  • Convert 100M acres of conventional to cover crops
  • Innovations in regenerative ag to lead way
  • Elevate agriculture as natural climate solution in policy

[29:08] Agriculture’s role in reversing climate change

  • Cropland potential to sequester 11B tons/year
  • Ag and forests could be 37% of global solution

[31:19] Jimmy’s view of the politics of climate change

  • Emphasize what matters to particular audience
  • Address productivity, resilience with farmers

[35:53] The policy changes necessary to promote conservation

  • Current subsidies favor conventional ag
  • Crop insurance premiums to reflect lower risk
Dec 04, 2018
49: Ethan Steinberg, Harry Greene, & Jeremy Kaufman of Propagate Ventures

The business of the future is a good cooperator, working with other players in a particular space to drive progress. Collaboration is a core part of the ethos at Propagate Ventures as their team looks to leverage agroforestry to contribute to the growing pool of climate solutions and help build a world where people live in a symbiotic relationship with the ecosystem.

Propagate Ventures is an organization that develops and manages agroforestry investments. They work with farmers to design and install tree-crop systems that work in tandem with existing farm operations to stabilize soil health, sequester carbon, and generate economic returns. Co-founders Ethan Steinberg, Harry Greene, and Jeremy Kaufman are on a mission to provide regenerative solutions and make agroforestry the foundation of agriculture. To date, the firm has 150 acres under management and 3,400 acres under advisement.

Today, Harry, Ethan, and Jeremy join Ross and Christophe to discuss Propagate Venture’s progress since their last appearance on the podcast and their growing focus on place-based solutions. They share the Propagate business model, including their two main income streams and their systems approach to cumulative value. The Propagate team also offers insight around the yield of timber versus shrubs, the nuances of organic certification, and their key role in data management for Nori. Listen in to understand why agroforestry is the most cost-effective way to draw down carbon immediately, how Propagate’s practices may filter into mainstream agriculture, and how the spiritual aspect of their work complements the cooperative future of business.



Propagate Ventures

Propagate Ventures on RCC EP003

Gregory Landua

Regen Network


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes



Key Takeaways

[2:12] Propagate’s progress in the last year

  • 150 acres under management
  • 3,400 acres under advisement

[4:50] The concept of ecological succession

  • Non-brittle climates (evenly distributed precipitation)
  • Left to rest, land turns to forest

[7:09] Why Propagate is based in the Hudson Valley

  • Midwest of Northeast = hub for regenerative ag
  • 1K-acre farms grow sustenance crops effectively

[8:18] The Propagate Ventures business model

  • Project-level investment opportunities
  • Match economic cycles with photosynthesis
  • Trees as asset can be separate from land itself

[12:17] The pros and cons of timbre vs. shrubs

  • 25X more shrubs/acre than timbre
  • Shrubs require more hours of management
  • Shrubs yield faster than silvopasture (25 years) 

[16:26] Propagate’s two main income streams

  • Ecosystem services (i.e.: carbon sequestration)
  • Productivity of crop produced from tree as asset

[20:56] The systems approach to cumulative value

  • Stress crop diversity (i.e.: currants, apples, chestnuts, etc.)
  • View within larger context of watershed part of

[23:33] How to assure what you’re eating is healthy

  • Know where food comes from, know your farmer
  • Certifications may follow letter but not spirit of law
  • Cattle on ‘organic dairy’ farm may not be grass-fed

[28:52] The concept of container farming

  • Grow food in shipping containers in urban areas
  • Can’t sequester carbon in shipping container

[30:24] The cost accounting of direct carbon capture

  • Agroforestry best way to drawdown immediately

[31:31] The cultural component of organic farming

  • Celebrations around food build community
  • Food tastes better, higher nutritional value 

[34:27] Propagate’s key role in data management for Nori

  • Capture data around carbon sequestration for market validation
  • Tell story of what differentiates from orchard down street

[36:25] How Propagate filters into mainstream agriculture

  • Practices stabilize soil health and increase nutritional profile
  • Economic benefit will influence management decisions
  • Transfer knowledge to next generation (ecosystem vs. factory) 

[39:30] The spiritual aspect of Propagate’s work

  • Sensory feedback in observing farm firsthand
  • Outdoor days vs. spreadsheet days

[46:32] The cooperative future of business

  • End goal to live in symbiotic relationship with ecosystem
  • Regenerate = build things up (relate to/learn from each other)
Nov 27, 2018
48: Risalat Khan, Climate Activist

Stories connect. And if we want to motivate people to engage in climate advocacy, authentic communication is key. Risalat Khan believes in the power of people to inspire each other, realize the urgency and join the global civic movement to reverse climate change. But for climate activism to facilitate real transformation, we must reach more and more people in a story-driven way and leverage public momentum to influence policy.

Risalat is an activist and intrapreneur from Bangladesh who was named one of the Young Climate Campaigners to Watch by The Guardian in 2015. Risalat was part of the small core team with Avaaz that spearheaded the largest climate marches in history, turning out 800K people in 2000 cities around the globe. As a member of the World Economic Forum Global Shapers Community, he spoke on a Stepping Up Climate Action panel with Al Gore and other leaders in the space. Risalat earned his BA in Environmental Studies and Geology from Amherst and his MPA in Environmental Science and Policy from Columbia University, and he is passionate about addressing climate change, biodiversity loss and other existential challenges.

Today, Risalat joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to discuss his upbringing in Bangladesh, explaining why his home country is particularly vulnerable to climate change and what is already driving displacement from coastal areas to cities. He shares his most memorable experiences meeting Al Gore, working on the Paris Climate Agreement, and most recently, visiting the Arctic as a part of the FutureTalks initiative. Listen in for Risalat’s insight around motivating people to engage in climate advocacy, even those who are right-of-center, and learn how we can inspire each other to hold leaders accountable and reach a collective understanding that puts the planet first.




Stepping Up Climate Action

The Age of Consequences

Risalat at the WEF


Climate Brain Trust NYC

Propagate Ventures

Global Shapers Community

World Economic Forum

IPCC Report

UN Security Council

The Paris Agreement

People’s Climate March

FutureTalks Arctic Expedition

An Inconvenient Truth

The Consensus Climate Solution


Connect with Nori 


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:57] Risalat’s path to reversing climate change

  • Upbringing in Bangladesh
  • Father as environmental activist
  • Major in environmental studies, geology
  • Understand urgency of climate change

[4:45] Why Bangladesh is vulnerable to climate change

  • Tens of millions displaced to cities, compete for resources
  • Engaged in community-based adaptation work for decades 

[7:16] What drives displacement in Bangladesh

  • 500K people move to capital city every year
  • Salinity intrusion or homes swept away 

[8:42] Risalat’s most memorable experiences

  • Part of Climate March, Paris Agreement

[10:54] How protest facilitates change

  • Power comes from people (constituents)
  • Signals pent-up demand to politicians

[12:52] Risalat’s trip to the Arctic

  • Part of FutureTalks initiative
  • Witness open seas where used to be ice

[15:46] Risalat’s message to senior climate leaders

  • Stress urgency of need to reduce emissions
  • May include disruption of global economy

[18:15] The additional force necessary to create change

  • Social movements to hold leaders accountable
  • Civil disobedience to block fossil fuel projects 

[21:40] Risalat’s caution against betting everything on carbon removal

  • Transition away from fossil fuel to clean energy
  • Not one or other but BOTH (more shots on goal)

[27:56] What needs to change in the realm of climate advocacy

  • Realize interconnectedness of global challenges (e.g.: biodiversity crisis)
  • Reach collective understanding to put planet first 

[29:51] How to engage people right-of-center in climate activism

  • Revenue-neutral carbon tax (bipartisan initiative in US)
  • Communicate security dimensions of climate change
  • Understand impact of climate on refugee crisis

[35:27] Risalat’s take on what motivates people to engage

  • Authentic communication, vulnerability
  • Connect in story-driven way

[39:07] Risalat’s insight on the power of people

  • Inspire each other to engage in variety of ways
Nov 20, 2018
47: David Grinspoon, Astrobiologist

Like it or not, humans have become the dominant agent of change on the planet, and as we proceed further into the Anthropocene period, we have a responsibility to accept responsibility and find a way to gracefully integrate our presence. But what if we are not the only ones who have experienced this phenomenon? What if the process of inadvertent planetary change is universal? What if the climate challenges we face are a natural part of planetary evolution?

David Grinspoon is an astrobiologist and award-winning author whose research focuses on the climate evolution of Earth-like planets and the potential for life elsewhere in the universe. David serves as a Senior Scientist at the Planetary Science Institute and Adjunct Professor of Astrophysical and Planetary Science at the University of Colorado, and he has received the Carl Sagan Medal for Public Communication of Planetary Science. He was also the inaugural Chair of Astrobiology at the US Library of Congress, where he studied human impact on Earth systems. David is the author many books, including the ground-breaking Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future.

Today, David joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to discuss the significance of the study of space in understanding our own planet. He offers insight around our obligation to learn to work WITH the planet, the concept of Great Filter events, and the utility of viewing our current challenges in the context of planetary evolution. David also shares his take on the longevity of civilizations and the growing alignment of local self-interest and global interests when it comes to climate solutions. Listen in for David’s predictions of where we’ll be 100 years from now and learn about the spiritual aspect of his work in connecting us with something larger than ourselves.



David Grinspoon

Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future by David Grinspoon

Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Plutoby Alan Stern and David Grinspoon

Carl Sagan

Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Spaceby Carl Sagan

SETI Institute

Our Final Century: Will the Human Race Survive the Twenty-First Century? by Martin Rees

Books by Carl Sagan


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[3:33] David’s path to reversing climate change

  • Always been ‘space geek’
  • Rise of astrobiology in planetary science
  • Influence of Carl Sagan, activism
  • First Chair of Astrobiology (Library of Congress) 

[7:13] The significance of the study of space

  • Priceless info about own planet + how it works
  • Other examples of planetary evolution 

[10:08] The role of humans in running the planet

  • We have agency, moral obligation to prevent catastrophe
  • Knowledge of Earth gives us responsibility to act 

[15:00] David’s insight on the Anthropocene

  • New geological era, humanity as dominant agent of change
  • Not realistic to stop changing planet without mass die-off
  • Learn to work WITH planet, ‘gracefully integrate presence’

[21:12] The idea of Great Filter events (Fermi paradox)

  • No evidence of other technological civilizations
  • May mean most don’t make it through ‘tech adolescence’
  • Potential that others struggling with similar issues
  • Inadvertent planetary change = stage of evolution
  • Sign of maturity to realize impact, change behavior

[28:52] David’s take on the longevity of civilizations

  • Useful time scale of 10K years recorded human history
  • Leverage technology to work for, not threaten survival
  • Hopeful to imagine others have survived challenges 

[34:53] The alignment of self-interest and global interests

  • Money to be made in reversing climate change
  • Examples of local innovation that impacts planet as whole

[38:57] David’s view of the next 100 years

  • Trends in right direction to minimize damage
  • Equal parts foresight and tragedy (not worst case)
  • Post-fossil fuel world, population will level off/decline

[42:48] The spiritual aspect of David’s work

  • Makes us feel connected to things larger than selves
  • Redefining selves as species = spiritual challenge
  • Tipping points in physical and social systems
  • Daily activities informed by fact that global species


Nov 13, 2018
46: Hunter Lovins, Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions

Historically, civilizations collapse when there are high levels of inequality and depleted resources. Hunter Lovins argues that we either solve the climate crisis now, or we lose everything we care about. But the good news is, we CAN build an economy in service to life, one that reverses climate change—at a profit.

Hunter is the President and Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a nonprofit dedicated to the development of innovative climate change and sustainability solutions for companies, countries and communities. A renowned author and champion of sustainable development, Hunter has 35-plus years of consulting experience in the realm of sustainable agriculture, energy, business, water, security and climate policy. She lectures regularly to audiences around the globe and serves as a professor of Sustainable Management at Bard MBA. Time Magazine recognized Hunter as a Millennium Hero for the Planet, and Newsweek referred to her as the Green Business Icon.

Today, Hunter joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to discuss her work helping to design MBA programs in sustainability and walk us through the fundamentals of the Bard program in New York City. She share the impetus for her new book, A Finer Future, explaining how we can solve climate change quickly AND at a profit. Listen in for Hunter’s insight on the eight principles of regenerative capitalism, the role of human dignity in Gross National Wellbeing, and what YOU can do to support a regenerative economy in your local community.


Connect with Nori 


Nori’s Republic Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes



Natural Capitalism Solutions

A Finer Future: Creating an Economy in Service to Life by Hunter Lovins, Stewart Wallis, Anders Wijkman and John Fullerton

Bard MBA in Sustainability

John Lewis

David Brower

Earth Island Institute

Rocky Mountain Institute

Richard Gray

Presidio Graduate School

Conference of the Parties on Climate Change

Laura Gitman

Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Index

IPCC Report on Climate Change

HANDY Thought Experiment

Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity

Dr. Robert Costanza

Jacqueline McGlade

Richard Wilkinson

Kate Pickett

The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett

Chris Laszlo

Andrew Winston


Key Takeaways

[1:35] Hunter’s path to reversing climate change

[4:28] Hunter’s work creating MBA programs in sustainability

  • San Francisco in 2002, first accredited program
  • Idea to bake sustainability into all classes (vs. add-on)
  • Eventually created own business school in Bard

[7:08] The fundamentals of the Bard program

  • Diversity of students (Wall Street, entrepreneurs, NGOs)
  • Teaches to drive change in world
  • Use city as living lab (i.e.: sustainability consulting) 

[9:15] The impetus for Hunter’s book, A Finer Future

  • Bhutan’s concept of Gross National Happiness
  • High levels of inequality + overrun resources = collapse
  • Tasked with reinventing global economy
  • Global team of scholars build economy in service to life
  • Solve climate crisis at profit (better business)

[15:28] How to solve climate change quickly at a profit

  • Fall in cost of solar, storage (e.g.: batteries)
  • Electric and driverless cars
  • Carbon storage through regenerative agriculture
  • Apply science of holistic grazing to grasslands

[30:53] Hunter’s take on the appeal to greed

  • Neoliberal narrative of ‘greedy bastards’ is wrong
  • Pre-human species that survived cared for good of whole
  • Move toward genuine equity, safe and just space for all

[33:19] Nori’s aim to blend economics with meaning

  • Humans drives to acquire, defend, bond + make meaning
  • ‘Global weirding’ of weather (i.e.: hurricanes, draught)
  • Solve climate crisis OR lose everything we care about

[36:31] Hunter’s insight on the original neoliberals

  • Good intentions to fight what had trashed planet
  • Missed individual human dignity core to sense of happiness

[38:58] John Fullerton’s eight principles of regenerative capitalism

  1. Right relationship
  2. Holism
  3. Empowered participation
  4. Edge effect abundance
  5. Circularity
  6. Seeks balance
  7. Ability to entrepreneur
  8. Honors place

[45:02] Hunter’s call to action for listeners

  • Join WEAll, build own regenerative economy locally
  • More interconnected = more resilient
Nov 06, 2018
45: Paul Polizzotto, Founder of EcoMedia & GiveWith

“When brands underwrite human empathy, great things happen for brands.”

Corporations are not obligated to contribute to nonprofit organizations. But what if serving the underserved would drive sales? What if addressing the most pressing social issues would improve profits? What if making the world a better place would increase share price? Paul Polizzotto has demonstrated that social impact does, indeed, drive business value, and he is on a mission to transform commerce and afford resources to our most urgent social issues. 

Paul is a serial social entrepreneur with 30-plus years of experience in improving the environment, health and education. Most notably, Paul is the Founder and President of CBS EcoMedia, a program enabling advertisers to fund social improvement projects through their advertising buys. He is also the Founder and CEO of GiveWith, a technology platform designed to power collaborations between brands and nonprofits in support of social impact initiatives. Paul is a frequent guest lecturer at business schools throughout the US, and he serves as a Senior Fellow at USC’s Marshall School of Business. 

Today, Paul joins Ross and Christophe to explain how he is leveraging transactions between brands and consumers to bring much needed resources to the most pressing issues of our time. He describes how EcoMedia applies social impact as a sales incentive and how he is expanding that proven business model beyond media to other industries via GiveWith. Paul offers insight around how his work pairs nonprofits with corporations to move people in need to the front of the line. Listen in for Paul’s advice to aspiring social entrepreneurs and learn how brands that underwrite human empathy can increase their share price and profits.



Paul on LinkedIn

Paul on Twitter



Larry Fink’s Letter to CEOs

The Climate Group


Dell’s Green Packaging

New Horizons’ Pluto Pics

USC’s Social Entrepreneurship Program


Connect with Nori


Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori on Facebook

Nori on Twitter

Nori on Medium

Nori on YouTube


Nori White Paper

Subscribe on iTunes


Key Takeaways

[0:34] Paul’s journey as a social entrepreneur

  • Grew up surfing, curious about pollution (Santa Monica Bay)
  • Pioneered method to prevent run-off from polluting waters
  • Idea to add social impact to sale of advertising via EcoMedia
  • Direct $100M to 250 nonprofits, 700+ projects
  • GiveWithexpands proven business model to other industries
  • Leverage transactions to bring resources to pressing issues

[11:42] Paul’s insight on social impact and activist investors

  • Use ESG ratings to see risk and opportunity
  • Drive sales, improve price and increase share price
  • From cost-center to revenue-generator

[16:26] How GiveWith shifts the role of the nonprofit

  • Nonprofit world based on ask, generates $400B
  • Serving needs of underserved drives business success
  • Nonprofit becomes corporate business partner

[21:28] How current conditions facilitate Paul’s approach

  • Precise measurement of business value through tech
  • Business model has been working for 20+ years

[23:37] How Paul is applying innovation to societal issues

  • People in need, most pressing issues last in line
  • Move to top line, center of transaction
  • Additional value for buyer and seller
  • Resources grow from $400B to $19T

[30:06] Why Paul is encouraged by recent events

  • Federal government relaxing regulations
  • Companies going in opposite direction

[32:08] Paul’s story-empathy-action model of marketing

  • Consumer-brand transaction facilitates something new
  • Brand asks consumer to agree, underwrites empathy

[36:51] Paul’s wonder at the beauty of the planet

  • Optimistic about next generation, human resilience
  • ‘How about we protect this?’

[40:12] Paul’s advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs

  • ‘Paddle out’
Oct 30, 2018
44: Lorraine Smith, Sustainability Consultant

We can learn a lot if we listen to the trees—and pay attention to the party going on underneath! Nature has much to say about how to realign our industrial value chains, embrace biodiversity, and maintain soil microbiology. The question is, are we smart enough to listen and move toward a regenerative economy? 

Lorraine Smith is a writer and independent consultant who advocates for the shift to a regenerative economy. Lorraine has consulted for leading change-agents and large companies since 2004, and she is a sought-after speaker in the realm of sustainability and corporate innovation. Lorraine collaborates regularly with John Elkington’s team at Volans and sits on the Sustainability Advisory Board of Fibria, a large Brazilian forest products company. She also serves on the Board of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility and the Review Council of the Future Fit Business Benchmark. Lorraine is currently working on her first book, a series of essays exploring the relationship between people and trees.

Today, Lorraine joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to share her ‘silver lining’ approach to environmentalism, explaining how a shift in the conversation can lead to true progress. She discusses her work with corporate boards, describing the value of understanding a company’s current circumstances and humbly checking your assumptions at the door. Lorraine offers insight around accelerating the rate of change and helping business think beyond emissions reduction to elevate the use of products that use CO2 as feedstock. Listen in to understand how we can expand the way we think about sustainability and create a regenerative economy based on the natural process that has been evolving for 3.8 billion years!



Lorraine’s Website

Lorraine’s Blog

Lorraine on Facebook

Lorraine on Twitter

Lorraine on LinkedIn

Lorraine on Instagram

Lorraine on Medium



John Elkington

Canadian Business for Social Responsibility


Forest Stewardship Council

The Donella Meadows Project

Cleantech Group

The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet by Kristin Ohlson

Brazil’s Carbon Index





On Liberty by John Stuart Mill


Key Takeaways

[2:59] Lorraine’s path to reversing climate change

  • Playground fight led to think about humans in wider world
  • Role in financial services: Who cares how money invested?
  • Volunteered to help farmers spin through weaving group
  • Eventually hired to work at CBSR(still board member)

[8:05] Lorraine’s current work in the climate space

  • Explore themes of regenerative economy through writing
  • Contribute to teams (e.g.: Volans, Fibria)

[9:40] The themes of Lorraine’s forthcoming book

  • Relationships between humans and trees
  • Patterns we haven’t picked up on
  • Possibilities for how we can BE in wider world

[13:01] The ‘silver lining’ approach to environmentalism

  • Broaden mindset to shift conversation
  • Realign industrial value chains, human interaction

[16:33] Lorraine’s work as a consultant to companies

  • ‘Can’t convince anyone of anything’
  • Understand present circumstances
  • Check assumptions at door

[21:53] Our role in the deforestation supply chain

  • Don’t recognize what we’ve lost (i.e.: soil microbiology)
  • Come from place of privilege, work to avoid catastrophe

[25:12] Lorraine’s insight around what we can do

  • Amplify what works using nature’s instructions
  • Incentivize behavior through financial mechanism
  • Inspire people to understand ‘party beneath trees’

[26:52] Lorraine’s advice on accelerating the rate of change

  • Worth focusing on emerging knowledge that can help
  • Energize what’s working (i.e.: carbon in soil)
  • Embrace what nature teaches about biodiversity
  • Value of art to inspire reveling in what feels right

[33:59] How companies can go beyond emissions reduction

  • Requires shift in understanding, how fit into carbon story
  • Encourage use of products using CO2as feedstock

[38:19] The evolving language of environmentalism

  • Greenhouse effect—global warming—climate change
  • Changes understanding of warning over time

[42:37] The dichotomy of being open-minded vs. permissive

  • Draw line when something isn’t okay
  • Not so open-minded that ‘brain falls out’
Oct 23, 2018
43: Anne Biklé, Biologist and Environmental Planner

When Anne Biklé started rehabilitating her Seattle backyard to plant a garden, she didn’t anticipate the return of carbon to the soil. But after a few years, she got curious and invited a soil scientist from the University of Washington to compare samples from the original dirt behind the garage with samples from the Eco-Lawn, perennial beds, and vegetable bed. The results were astonishing. The Eco-Lawn had 5% more carbon than the baseline sample, the perennial beds came in at 8% more carbon, and the heavily amended vegetable bed had a full 12% more carbon. Imagine the impact if every gardener applied the same processes and principles. And what if farmers applied the ideas at scale?

Anne is a biologist and environmental planner with what she calls "a bad case of plant lust," and her career spans the fields of environmental stewardship, habitat restoration, and public health. She is also the co-author of The Hidden Half of Nature, a thought-provoking book about leveraging the cultivation of microbiomes to transform agriculture and medicine. Anne and her husband, professor of geomorphology David Montgomery, speak regularly on the topics of soil health, conservation and sustainable development. 

Today, Anne joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to share the origin of her interest in the soil and appreciation of the natural world. She walks us through the process of rehabilitating the soil in her backyard garden, describing how she collected the necessary mulch and organic matter as well as the stunning experience of watching life return to the yard. Listen in to understand the concepts of biodynamic agriculture and learn how Anne came to recognize the significance of microbial life in the health of the soil AND the human body!



Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign


Dig2Grow on Twitter

The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Healthby David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé

Mary Oliver Poetry Foundation

Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver by Mary Oliver

Dream Work by Mary Oliver

Rudolf Steiner

2018 Biodynamic Conference

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life by David R. Montgomery

Kiss the Ground


Key Takeaways

[0:49] Anne’s interest in the soil

  • Plant lust in college at Santa Cruz
  • Garden with house in Seattle

[5:00] Anne’s insight on dirt vs. soil

  • Soil includes living organisms
  • Dirt = dead parts (rock fragments)
  • Plants interact with both

[7:47] The magic of the natural world

  • Soil one of most biodiverse places
  • Humans can’t see most life forms
  • Watch insects ‘better than birding’

[12:03] The emergence of life in Anne’s backyard

  • Demolished lawn for blank slate
  • Life returned (i.e.: evolution of life on Earth)

[15:56] How Anne rehabilitated the soil in her garden

  • Collect mulch and organic matter
  • Coffee grounds, wood chips and leaves
  • Conserve water, feed life of soil
  • Buffet for trillions of species of soil life
  • Flow of carbon from plant into soil

[22:37] Our recent understanding around soil

  • 25-50% of carbon in atmosphere from topsoil
  • Depletion of nutrients from change in land use

[24:00] Anne’s advice on starting your own garden

  • Visit native vegetation communities
  • Mimic processes, materials 

[30:13] How the garden impacts Anne’s consumption

  • Garden and farmers market for food
  • Source own organic matter

[33:34] The concept of biodynamic agriculture

  • Respect for, understanding of cycles
  • Farmers work with metabolism of soil
  • Soil seen as grand engine 

[37:31] The parallels between plant root systems and the human gut

  • Microbiome in colon = grazing pasture
  • Soil as digestive tract of Earth
Oct 16, 2018
42: The Designer’s Role in Reversing Climate Change with Michael Leggett & Jacob Farny of Nori

If you’re a technologist or designer who happens to be passionate about reversing climate change, what do you do? Join an advocacy group? Donate to a nonprofit organization? Write your congressperson? What if you could leverage your skill set and play an active role in reducing the amount of CO2in the atmosphere? 

Jacob Farny is the Principal Product Designer at Nori. His background in design and consulting spans a variety of industries, from healthcare to retail to big data. Jacob’s role at Nori leverages his training in human computer interaction and user research. Michael Leggett serves as Nori’s Director of Product. His resume includes 13-plus years of building design teams at Google and Facebook, where he led several projects in user experience, including Gmail, Messenger, and Facebook Ads.

Today, Jacob and Michael join Ross and Christophe to explain the concept of human-centered design and how it informs their work at Nori. They discuss the challenge of teaching users what they need to know without making a product too complex and walk us through the three pillars of high-quality product design. Listen in for insight around how the Nori product adds a third layer to the typical product design model and learn how the team is applying their unique skill sets to reverse climate climate change.



The Hitchhiker’s Guide Series

Earth in Human Hands: Shaping Our Planet’s Future by David Grinspoon

The Design of Everyday Things by Don Norman

Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign


Key Takeaways

[2:39] Jacob’s role at Nori

  • User interface, research
  • Product workflow (based on personas)

[4:13] The concept of human-centered design

  • Start with users, find appropriate solution
  • Experience matters more than features

[8:30] Jacob’s roots in Indiana

  • Grew up surrounded by farmland
  • Developed ‘Bill’ persona

[13:46] Michael’s journey to Nori

  • Grew up considering form and function
  • Job at Google as designer (10 years)
  • Moved by Inconvenient Truth
  • 100-day plan to work in climate space

[17:46] Michael's role at Nori

  • Storytelling (investors, customers, each other)
  • Contribute ‘strong opinions held loosely’ 

[20:57] The abstracting vs. teaching design schema

  • Transparent about important stuff
  • Drive car without understanding engine
  • Leverage mental model (relate to familiar) 

[24:28] The three pillars of quality product design

  1. Simple—don’t make people think
  2. Useful—solve real problem
  3. Well-made—reliable, robust and beautiful 

[27:11] The Nori Design Team three-layer cake metaphor

  • Products include front- and back-end
  • Nori adds methodologies for storing CO2
  • Design instruction manual to measure, verify
  • Must consider how fits into ‘Bill’s life’

[31:28] What has surprised Jacob and Michael

  • Mitigation vs. carbon capture and storage
  • Concepts of soil science (inexact models)

[36:25] Nori’s so-called software approach  

  • Provides route for technologist to work on issue
  • Potential users part of marketplace test


Oct 09, 2018
41: Gaya Roshan, CEO of Dashboard Earth

To date, the environmental movement has relied on fear and shame to persuade people to change their behavior. The problem is, guilt is not a lasting motivator. What if we used a different approach and incentivized positive action instead? What if people were rewarded for pursuits that benefit the climate AND humanity?

Gaya Roshan is the CEO of Dashboard Earth, a technology platform designed to encourage the adoption of climate-friendly behavior and reward action in the form of a coin redeemable for eco-products, services and donations. Dashboard Earth crowdsources the limitless number of climate solutions from local governments, environmental groups and individuals, giving each and every one of us the opportunity to take eco-actions that make a meaningful difference. Gaya has spent the last 15 years working with some of the world’s most visionary environmentalists as a researcher, filmmaker and consultant in the realm of deep ecology.

Today, Gaya joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to share her background in filmmaking and climate solutions and explain why she made the shift to the technology space—despite being a self-proclaimed technophobe. She walks us through the basics of the Dashboard Earth app, discussing how it matches unmet needs with unused resources and rewards positive action. Gaya offers insight around Dashboard Earth’s city-by-city approach to defining climate solutions, addressing how the app affords agency to the individual and encompasses lifestyle, behavior and consumption. Listen in to understand the benefit of multiple forms of currency and learn how Dashboard Earth and Nori are working to monetize activities that benefit the climate!



Dashboard Earth

Buckminster Fuller Institute

Regen Network

ORA Systems

Data-Driven Yale

Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperityby Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Bancor Network

SDG Compacts



Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign


Key Takeaways 

[1:34] Gaya’s interest in the climate space

  • Stepfather made one of first films on climate change
  • Interest in how beliefs shape relationship to climate
  • Grew up in nature on rural west coast of Scotland 

[4:10] Gaya’s background in filmmaking

  • Most reasonable way to change minds
  • Deeply learn body of work in making feature 

[5:31] Gaya’s shift to the technology space

  • Inspired by need to do things differently
  • Tech is melting systems we’re used to

[7:24] The fundamentals of the Dashboard Earth app  

  • Solutions available but incentives all wrong
  • Match unmet needs with unused resources
  • Crowdsource wide range of solutions (by city)
  • Reward action with coin redeemable for goods/services 

[10:54] Gaya’s insight around climate solutions

  • Need to decouple climate from energy
  • Includes lifestyle, behavior and consumption

[16:00] Why Gaya maintains a particular focus on meaning

  • Climate gives opportunity to be heroic
  • Human capacity for healing robbed by consumerism

[18:41] How Dashboard Earth assigns value to climate action

  • Team’s opinion early on
  • Eventually float currency through reinsurers, cities

[20:29] How Gaya was influenced by Bernard Lietaer

  • Connect unmet needs with unused resources
  • Need for multiple forms of currency (yin and yang) 

[23:46] The concept of demurrage

  • Money decreases in value over time
  • Encourages use of money

[25:03] The timeline of Dashboard Earth

  • Benefit Corp in March (protect by mission)
  • Beta version live after October
  • LA will be first city

[29:24] The link between Dashboard Earth and Nori

  • Monetize activities that benefit climate
  • Use incentives over fear, shame and guilt
Oct 02, 2018
40: Jon Connors, Community Development at Starfish Mission

What happens when you create a space where blockchain proponents can share deep conversation and connection, creating a pool of talented people interested in developing solutions to our most challenging political, financial, and ecological problems?

Jon Connors is the Community Development Lead at San Francisco’s Starfish Mission, a pioneering hub for the blockchain community dedicated to changing the way we approach commerce, communication and governance. Starfish hosts industry events, provides a popular co-working space, and offers training for developers, investors and business leaders. Jon is also the founder of Blockchain for Ecology, a marketing vehicle built to promote the unique organizations working to solve ecological problems with blockchain technology.

Today, Jon sits down with Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share the idea behind Starfish Mission and explain his interest in both blockchain technology and ecological projects. He discusses his vision for a regenerative economy that functions appropriately rather than dumping an expense (e.g. nuclear waste disposal) on the rest of us. Jon offers insight around the potential to regenerate and flip land, the restrictions on silvopasture in the US, and the need for inclusion in the blockchain/ecology movement. Listen in to understand Jon’s current work around providing unconditional crypto token grants through Good Work Network and learn how the token economy incentivizes socially beneficial behavior to reverse climate change.



Starfish Mission

Jon’s  Article on Regenerative Returns

Blockchain for Ecology

Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

East End Eden

Farmland LP

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warmingedited by Paul Hawken


Regen Network



Blockchain for Social Impact

San Francisco Psychedelic Society

Global Climate Action Summit

Soil Not Oil

Crypto for Humanity

Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperityby Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Moneyby Nathaniel Popper


Key Takeaways

[1:23] Jon’s interest in blockchain technology

  • Study of financial statement analysis
  • Desire to participate in ecological restoration
  • Ability to disintermediate nation state (e.g.: Pentagon)

[4:15] The idea behind Starfish Mission

  • 84 events in 5 months on small budget
  • Developer-focused community hub

[6:34] Jon’s idea around flipping land

  • Visited East End Eden on Cycle2Evolve bike trip
  • Research on prices of farms in area
  • Use regenerative ag to flip in 7-10 years
  • Increase in value from $15K/acre to $30K/acre

[10:21] Jon’s insight on silvopasture  

  • FDA categorizes as ‘biohazard’
  • 9-month waiting period

[14:02] The impetus behind Blockchain for Ecology

[17:11] Jon’s vision around ecology and the blockchain

  • Build on top of existing blockchain
  • Kickstart regenerative ag, food + fiber industry

[18:10] The Starfish Mission approach to sharing knowledge

  • Haven for deep conversation, connection
  • Great ideas and talent to create solutions

[20:52] How the token economy incentivizes behavior

  • Channel greed into socially beneficial action
  • Shift away from ‘conquest mentality’ 

[25:34] The necessity for diversity in the movement

  • Opposition from indigenous rights groups
  • Focus on those who don’t have resources

[30:15] The potential around small-scale currency

  • Value within individual neighborhood
  • System only considers overarching solution
Sep 25, 2018
39: Peter Fiekowsky, Founder of Healthy Climate Alliance

“We don’t do it for ourselves. It’s like planting a tree that you’re never going to sit under. As long as we’re looking at ‘what’s good for me,’ we’re going to keep doing the status quo as we’ve been doing. If we look at it as, ‘I’m part of humanity’ … it makes a lot of sense to provide a planet that our grandchildren can live on.” 

Peter Fiekowsky is the Founder and President of the Healthy Climate Alliance, an organization committed to removing 1 trillion tons of CO2from the atmosphere and restoring the Arctic ice. Peter is also the co-founder of 300X2050, and he is committed to leaving a world we’re proud of for our children.

Today, Peter joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share his goal to reduce carbon in the atmosphere to 300 parts per million by 2050. Peter discusses his favorite methods of CO2 removal, permanent sequestration in limestone and ocean fertilization. He also shares the cutting-edge techniques for restoring the Arctic and the relative cost of those tactics. Listen in to understand the moral imperative around reversing climate change and get Peter’s take on overcoming the partisan divide around the issue.



Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Healthy Climate Alliance

Global Climate Action Summit

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Blue Planet


Sean Hernandez on RCC EP015


Steve Desch at ASU

Pleistocene Park

The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities and the Remaking of the Civilized Worldby Jeff Goodell

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religionby Jonathan Haidt

Ramez Naam on RCC EP035


Key Takeaways

[2:34] Peter’s interest in reversing climate change

  • Volunteer for poverty reduction
  • Moral, not scientific issue
  • Goal of 250-300 ppm by 2050
  • Take 1 trillion tons out of atmosphere 

[9:37] Peter’s favorite method of CO2 removal

  • Take CO2+ calcium to make limestone
  • Use for concrete, road beds (50B tons/year)
  • Permanent sequestration, carbon negative

[14:45] The benefit of sequestering carbon in the ocean

  • Restore photosynthesis (fish, seaweed = biproducts)
  • Add iron through ocean fertilization
  • Similar to effect of Mount Pinatubo 

[21:15] The top techniques to restore the Arctic  

  • Spray floating sand on ice (reflects sun)
  • Pump seawater on top of ice in winter

[24:14] The cost of restoring the Arctic

  • Use wind power to pump nearby water
  • Less costly than Navy patrol of open ocean 

[28:05] The moral imperative of reversing climate change

  • Use religion as framework
  • Civil society won’t survive 2° increase 

[32:29] Peter’s work with Congress

  • Jamie Raskin introducing Healthy Climate Resolution
  • Revive commitment to children (social permission)

[36:06] How to overcome the partisan feeling around climate change

  • Appeal to values people care about (division artificial)
  • Turn from zero sum to ‘all in it together’

[39:37] Peter’s take on the need for a sustainable population

  • Create ‘social norm of one’
  • Birth rate declines with wealth
Sep 18, 2018
38: Nori’s Token Economics with CEO Paul Gambill

We know that Nori is on a mission to reverse climate change by building a platform that pays people to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But how exactly will the token economics of that platform work? Why is Nori creating its own cryptocurrency separate from its carbon removal certificates? And how can we get involved and invest in Nori?

Today, Paul joins Ross and Christophe to explain Nori’s token economics and the general need for alternative currencies. They discuss how Nori tokens could serve as the reference price for carbon, why Nori tokens are separate from carbon removal certificates (CRCs), and how Nori tokens might drive innovation. Paul speaks to the challenge around creating a finite number of tokens and complying with SEC regulations. Listen in for insight on how Nori is leveraging the JOBS Act’s Regulation D exemption to sell tokens in accordance with securities law.



Nori’s Crowdfunding Campaign

Nori White Paper

Cryptoeconomics on Conversations with Tyler

Rethinking Money: How New Currencies Turn Scarcity into Prosperityby Bernard Lietaer and Jacqui Dunne

Klaus Lackner on RCC EP007

Klaus Lackner on RCC EP023

National Futures Association

Financial Industry Regulatory Authority

Paul’s Blog on Security Tokens

SEC v. Howey Co.

JOBS Act Rule 506 of Regulation D


Key Takeaways

[1:27] Nori’s latest initiatives

[4:12] The fundamentals of token economics

  • Number created to serve ecosystem
  • How issued (mined or minted)
  • Where demand comes from

[5:20] The need for alternative currencies

  • Helps small, localized communities create value
  • Example: trash exchanged for bus tokens in Brazil

[8:34] How Nori could serve as the reference price for carbon

  • Idea for business model during ICO trend
  • Provide capital for carbon removal projects
  • Each token = one ton of CO2
  • Useful for policy makers, corporations & academics

[11:39] Why Nori tokens are separate from CRCs

  • Tokens act as commodity (liquid market)
  • Insurance reserve in case of leakage, overestimation

[15:47] How Nori tokens could drive innovation

  • High scoring CRCs = more tokens immediately available
  • New market incentives to reduce estimation error

[18:24] The challenge around creating a finite number of tokens

  • Too many means price too low to incentivize participation
  • Too few creates problems in future if price too high
  • Nori used modeling to decide on 500M tokens

[21:32] The definition of a security

  • Includes stocks, bonds and investment contracts
  • SEC rules to limit possibility of risky investments

[25:31] The parameters of an investment contract (i.e.: the Howey Test)

  • Expectation of return based on third party
  • Companies selling tokens qualify

[26:44] How Nori is working to comply with SEC rules

  • 506(c) of Reg Dexemption allows sale to accredited investors
  • A+ exemption opens to non-accredited investors (up to $50M)
  • Nori offers class A token for 7.5¢, class B token for 15¢
  • Meet with regulators to discuss implied dictum

[33:14] The breakdown of Nori’s 500M tokens

  • 100M on sale now
  • 250M sold in batches over time
  • 100M in insurance reserve
  • 50M for Nori team

[34:43] Why Nori needs the blockchain

  • Provides immutable ledger
  • Trace how CO2removed
Sep 11, 2018
37: Ben Kessler, Holistic Grazing Specialist

What if we could have our meat and eat it too? The current system of meat production in feed lots is devastating for the environment, but there is a better way. A way that would restore our grasslands and reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. This method is known as holistic grazing.

Ben Kessler is a holistic grazing specialist with a long family history in ranching. His great-great-great-grandfather owned a 25k-acre ranch in southwest Texas in the 1880’s, and his grandfather was both a scientist and a farmer who worked on climate change in his retirement. Ben served in Afghanistan as a member of the Marine Corps before studying environmental philosophy at the University of North Texas. Two years ago, he discovered regenerative agriculture, and now Ben is on a mission to design a holistic grazing model that can be replicated at critical mass.

Today, Ben joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to share his family history in the realms of ranching and science. They discuss the difference between organic and regenerative agriculture, the process by which ungulates maintain grasslands, and the barriers to transitioning away from feed lots to holistic grazing. Ben offers his take on feeding cows algae, bringing back the aurochs, and the true impact of methane emissions. Listen in for insight around how meat production can be good for the environment and learn how Ben is working to accelerate the shift to holistic grazing.



Savory Institute

David Montgomery on RCC EP012

Brian Von Herzen on RCC EP034

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken


Key Takeaways 

[1:48] Ben’s path to holistic grazing

  • Family history of ranching, science
  • Studied environmental philosophy in college
  • Discovered regenerative agriculture two years ago

[4:13] The difference between organic and regenerative farming

  • Organic = limits use of pesticides but still releases carbon
  • Regenerative practices rebuild land (future mindset)

[6:12] How meat production can be good for the environment

  • Grasslands won’t survive without animals
  • Removing grasslands throws environment out of balance

[8:56] How ungulates create grasslands

  • Grass follows yearly growth cycle and then dies
  • Stays if not eaten, sun can’t reach growing point underneath
  • Cattle necessary to eat grass and recycle nutrients 

[10:39] The structural shift to holistic grazing

  • Move cattle from feed lot to grassland
  • Plan grazing (stockpile in winter, not too mature in summer)

[14:50] The challenges Ben faces as an entrepreneur in this space

  • Land costs more than agricultural value (diverse funding)
  • Facilitate rapid shift from feed lots to grassland

[20:42] The barriers to transitioning from feed lots to grasslands

  • Corn/soy subsidies prop up current system
  • Industry resistance to change
  • Digesting grain permanently alters microbiome
  • Cows would have to adapt with successive generations

[23:56] Ben’s take on feeding cows algae

  • Prefers cows to eat what standing on
  • Transporting food not ideal system

[25:15] Ben’s insight around cows and methane production

  • Each cow has own bubble of methane, lasts 17 years
  • Carbon removed will increase with same # of cows 

[26:56] The idea of bringing back the aurochs

  • Cattle in hotter environment must be lighter
  • Consider weather, increasing temperature

[28:48] The current focus of Ben’s work

  • Accelerating process is crucial
  • Develop model that can be replicated
  • More awareness, infrastructure
Aug 28, 2018
36: Greg Rock of Carbon Washington

When presented with solutions to a problem that conflict with our ideology, it is human nature to deny the existence of the problem. Thus, climate change solutions that involve regulation or ‘big government’ result in climate denial from right-leaning groups. How can we create solutions that provide conservatives with an economic win? How can we change the psyche of red districts by rewarding them for behavior that reverses climate change?

 Greg Rock is a board member with Carbon Washington, the state’s leading advocate for putting a price on carbon pollution. Greg has dedicated his career to addressing climate change, serving as the founding owner of The Green Car Company from 2004-2008 before heading to Sweden to pursue a master’s in Sustainable Energy Engineering. Since then, he has shifted his focus to policy, working as a volunteer lobbyist to promote carbon tax initiatives.

 Today, Greg joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain how the study of our ever-increasing demand for oil sparked his interest in reversing climate change. They discuss the idea behind I-732, the first carbon tax proposal that Greg championed, covering the reasons why it did not succeed and how Initiative 1631 is different. Greg offers his insight around what resonates with each side of the aisle when it comes to climate change initiatives and how a marketplace like Nori might combat the ‘solution aversion’ common in right-leaning areas. Listen in for Greg’s critique of Nori’s ‘one token to one ton’ formula and get his take on our obligation to act on climate change.



Carbon Washington


Initiative 1631

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert


Key Takeaways 

[1:08] Greg’s interest in reversing climate change

  • Study of ever-increasing demand for oil as undergrad
  • Started Green Car Company (first Smart cars in US)
  • Master’s in Sustainable Energy Engineering
  • Worked on first carbon tax proposal I-732 

[3:03] The idea behind I-732

  • Price on carbon = most efficient way to reduce emissions
  • Use money to lower existing taxes (e.g.: income, sales, etc.) 

[4:46] Why I-732 didn’t work

  • Ballot title read as tax increase
  • Progressive groups wanted to use money to reduce emissions 

[5:48] The difference between I-732 and Initiative 1631

  • I-732 could have served as template for right-leaning states
  • 1631 leans left, less likely to draw support from both sides 

[7:45] What messaging resonates with each side of the aisle

  • Left on board with message, but may not prioritize
  • Left responds when ‘bring home to their district’
  • Right supports when money spent in their district
  • Right responds to economic efficiency, non-regulatory approach

[9:50] How Nori might appeal to right-leaning districts 

  • Enhance economic development in rural areas
  • Reward for sequestration may change psyche

[12:13] The concept of solution aversion

  • Solution conflicts with ideology, reject problem exists
  • Climate solutions that turn into ‘winners’ change beliefs
  • Nori’s voluntary market = good first step to action

[15:52] Greg’s critique of Nori’s one ton to one token formula

  • Carbon removal involves absorption AND storage
  • Consider adding time function (i.e.: quantity x # of years)
  • ‘One ton year’ more transferable to other practices

[22:04] Greg’s take on our obligation to act on climate change

  • People in other places will suffer most from emissions we create
  • Duty to utilize tech, educational advantages to tackle problem
Aug 21, 2018
35: Ramez Naam—Author, Futurist, and Nori Advisor

Knowledge is the only truly infinite resource, and its value multiplies by the number of people who put it to work. How can we put what we know about climate change to work and develop sustainable innovations that either reduce emissions or capture carbon from the atmosphere? And what role might Nori play in accelerating that innovation?

Ramez Naam is a well-known author and computer scientist who spent 13 years at Microsoft, leading teams in web browsing, internet search and artificial intelligence. He is also the winner of the 2005 H.G. Wells Award for the non-fiction work More Than Human: Embracing the Promise of Biological Enhancement. Ramez’s award-winning science fiction series, the Nexus Trilogy, tackles the pros and cons of technological innovation. He speaks around the world on exponential technology, solving environmental challenges and disruptive energy technologies, and Ramez is an angel investor in several clean energy startups.

Today, Ramez joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain how he ‘fell in love with the planet’ on a road trip to the Yucatan. They discuss the idea behind his book, The Infinite Resource, describing how innovation will allow us to use fewer resources to accomplish more. Ramez walks us through the biggest barriers to reversing climate change and addresses the challenge of pushing back against tribal thinking and the spread of misinformation. Listen in for Ramez’s insight around the top sustainable innovations coming to the market and learn how Nori supports the consumer’s preference for clean AND makes it easy to get paid for carbon sequestration.



Nexus by Ramez Naam

The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planetby Ramez Naam

Books by Ramez Naam

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny by Robert Wright


Carbon Engineering

Brian Von Herzen on Reversing Climate Change EP034

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson


Key Takeaways

[3:30] The lessons Ramez learned from his failed startups

  • Look for real need
  • Add value to others, others will add value to you
  • No technology is all good or all bad

[6:17] Ramez’s environmental awakening

  • Road trip to Mayan ruins in Yucatan
  • Spent day at deserted beach, ‘fell in love with planet’

[8:41] The idea behind The Infinite Resource

  • Huge innovative capabilities to solve problems
  • Use fewer resources to accomplish more 

[10:45] The greatest barriers to reversing climate change

  • CO2invisible, impact delayed and non-local
  • People get richer, less tolerant of pollution (environmental Kuznets curve)
  • Chinese have appreciation for climate change due to smog

[16:21] The pros and cons of shared knowledge

  • People are tribal thinkers (beliefs based on others)
  • Play to naturalistic fallacy, idealize past
  • Accurate info wins out over time despite public fear

[21:36] Why there is no fundamental conflict between genetic modification and the organic movement 

  • GMOs reduce toxicity of pesticides applied
  • Align incentives to reduce carbon in atmosphere

[24:54] Ramez’s favorite sustainable innovations

  • Solar and wind
  • Batteries (lithium, all-iron flow batteries)
  • EVs (electric + autonomous + ride sharing) 

[29:15] Ramez’s take on Nori’s voluntary market

  • Electricity and transport doing well
  • Manufacturing and agriculture need incentive to reduce emissions
  • Consumers better at coordinating behaviors (preference for clean)
  • Make it easy to get paid for sequestration (method doesn’t matter) 

[34:45] Ramez’s insight on the human ability to adapt to climate change

  • Will be called upon this century to be ‘shepherds of Earth’
  • Worry most about tail risks of runaway feedback loops (e.g.: ice-free Arctic)
Aug 14, 2018
34: Brian Von Herzen, Founder of Climate Foundation

Marsupials in Tasmania can get everything they need from the rainforest without destroying it. So, why can’t humans do the same? Brian Von Herzen wants to apply this idea to the ocean and restore the sea life wiped out by climate change via marine permaculture. The way he sees it, if we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. 

Brian is the founder of Climate Foundation, an organization working to reverse climate change in our lifetime. Brian earned a degree in physics from Princeton and a PhD in Computer and Planetary Science from Caltech. He spent the bulk of his career in Silicon Valley, developing innovative technical solutions for Pixar, Dolby and Microsoft, among many others. Since creating Climate Foundation in 2007, Brian and his team have been focused on restoring life to the sea and soil.

Today, Brian joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain what inspired him to start Climate Foundation. They discuss the concept of marine permaculture and how it addresses issues of food security, ecosystem survival and carbon export. Brian shares the potential income streams associated with marine permaculture and the scalability of Climate Foundation’s ‘floating islands of life.’ Listen in for Brian’s insight on how tokenization could inspire the grassroots movement we need to facilitate large-scale change.



Climate Foundation



Blue Economy Challenge



Key Takeaways

[1:43] The impetus for Climate Foundation

  • Observed growth of melt ponds on Greenland
  • Ice pouring into sea at alarming rate (113X more than normal)
  • Look to biology to balance carbon budget by land and sea

[7:06] The concept of marine permaculture

  • Humans get what need from ocean without destroying ecosystem
  • Up to us to take care of and regenerate kelp forest
  • Address food security, ecosystem survival and measure carbon export

[10:41] A business case for marine permaculture

  • Seaweed farmers in Philippines unable to grow high-quality seaweed
  • Livelihood and culture depend on survival of seaweed
  • Climate Foundation working to bring irrigation (nutrient value gaps)

[14:22] How to become a seaweed farmer

  • Takes 3-10 years to secure permit for seaweed forest in US
  • Climate Foundation pioneering ocean vessel (floating island of life)

[19:16] The benefits of feeding cows algae

  • Domestic livestock generate 25% of world’s greenhouse gases
  • Cattle with access to seaweed = happier, healthier and heavier
  • Cut feed energy ‘going up in smoke’ from 11% to 1%
  • Carbon negative beef in Australia in next decade 

[23:09] Climate Foundation’s intention to be multi-trophic 

  • Permaculture includes seaweed, fish, shellfish and mammals

[26:53] The potential income streams associated with marine permaculture

  • Food, feed, fertilizer and fiber
  • MARINER Programproject to replace fossil fuels with biofuels

[34:48] Brian’s take on the scalability of marine permaculture

  • Demo viability through Blue Economy Challenge, deploy in Indonesia
  • Start with subsistent seaweed farmers in Indonesia, Philippines
  • Less than 1% of US and Australia’s ocean could feed world/restore life
  • Facilitated by self-guided, ocean-going vessels

[39:18] Brian’s insight on blockchain applications

  • Politicians will not act until grassroots mandate for carbon price
  • Tokenization empowers individuals to take action
  • ROV (underwater drone) technology measures carbon export
  • Allows for support of thousands to grow to millions
Aug 07, 2018
33: Roderick Jones, Co-Founder of Rubica

A big part of public interest in the blockchain can be attributed to a desire to reclaim our digital identities and reintroduce privacy to our online lives. But cryptocurrency remains vulnerable to hackers and cyberattacks. What can we do at the consumer level to protect ourselves from scams and keep our digital assets safe?

Roderick Jones is the co-founder and President of Rubica, an elite team of cyber experts who provide individuals with digital security as strong as the world’s leading companies. Roderick began his career with Scotland Yard, where he was tasked with preventing international terrorism and protecting a prominent member of the British cabinet. After a move to San Francisco, Roderick founded Concentric Advisors, one of the most influential security firms on the west coast. He has been called upon to brief leaders at the White House, Downing Street and the Pentagon, and Roderick is a frequent guest speaker at national and international conferences.

Today, Roderick joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain what drew him to the blockchain space and the particular vulnerabilities of open wallets in exchanges. They discuss the advantages of building Nori on Ethereum’s proof of stake system, the purpose of a hardware wallet, and the best way for consumers to secure their digital assets. Listen in for Roderick’s insight on the potential to tokenize the use of Rubica and learn how the company provides advanced cybersecurity for individuals.




Tezos Story in Wired



Microsoft Authenticator

Google Authenticator on Google Play

Google Authenticator in the App Store

Rubica Blog on Port-Out Scams

Ledger Wallet

Trezor Hardware Wallet

Blockchain and the Law: The Rule of Codeby Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright

Reflective Ventures


Key Takeaways

[4:43] What drew Roderick to the blockchain space

  • Dissonance between perception of security vs. reality
  • Exchanges, consumers and businesses are vulnerable

[8:19] The risk involved in exchanges with open wallets

  • Live connection to internet allows for transfer in/out
  • Machines must be protected from hackers

[11:23] Why cryptocurrency is as good as fiat currency

  • Drugs, organized crime successful prior to crypto
  • IMF reported 141 banking crises since 1971

[15:38] The concept of a 51% attack

  • Most mining operations in China (government could turn off power)
  • Could reintroduce replication to create double-spend problem

[19:03] The advantages of building Nori on Ethereum

  • Proof of stake more secure, disincentivizes against hacking
  • Uses much less energy than proof of work

[22:39] How consumers can secure their digital assets 

  • Good password management
  • Authentication apps
  • Reintroduce privacy via VPN

[26:55] The purpose of a hardware wallet

  • Store crypto coin numbers with additional security
  • Private keys stored on device itself

[34:46] The impetus for Rubica

  • Provide individuals with advanced cybersecurity
  • VPN to protect individuals vs. machines

[37:31] Roderick’s insight on tokenizing Rubica

  • Earn tokens for having service on
  • Use data to create value in network
Jul 31, 2018
32: Joseph Williams & Brian Young of the WA Department of Commerce

The State of Washington is a clear leader in technology innovation and carbon-free energy, so it is fitting the Nori chose Seattle for its headquarters. To learn more about the state’s leadership in the climate change space and cryptocurrency regulations, we are speaking with Joseph Williams and Brian Young with the Washington State Department of Commerce. Joseph serves as Governor Inslee’s ICT Industry Sector Lead, while Brian works as the Sector Lead on clean energy technology.

Today, Joseph and Brian join Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain their role in providing policy guidance to elected officials in the State of Washington. They discuss the state’s ecosystem when it comes to technology and clean tech as well as Washington’s early involvement with cryptocurrency and the blockchain. Joseph and Brian speak to the leadership around climate change and clean energy in the region, the state’s Clean Energy Fund, and PPNL’s work to use the blockchain to secure the energy grid. Listen in as the group considers Nori’s challenges in terms of regulatory compliance and verification and learn why Washington State is a good place to innovate blockchain and energy solutions.



Washington State Department of Commerce

Cascadia Innovation Corridor

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Avista Utilities

Giga Watt

Pacific Coast Collaborative

Clean Energy Fund



Washington State Department of Financial Institutions

Growing a Revolutionby David R. Montgomery

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizationsby David R. Montgomery


Key Takeaways 

[1:08] Joseph’s role in the State of Washington

  • Provide policy guidance to elected officials
  • Promote state of Washington

[5:04] The Washington State technology ecosystem

  • Talent economy, good place to incubate ideas
  • Core values—environment, philanthropy

[8:10] Washington’s relationship with the blockchain

  • Involved in crypto in 2014 (money transfer rules)
  • First blockchain summit in 2016 to attract companies
  • Monetary requirement to license as exchange

[11:18] The Bitcoin mining operations in Eastern Washington

  • Take advantage of inexpensive, carbon-free energy
  • Local decision (no state policy re: Bitcoin mining)
  • Creates value for economy, attracts capital

[16:53] The future of regulations around crypto in Washington

  • Expect blockchain-friendly legislation around smart contracts 

[19:45] The leadership around climate change and clean energy in the region   

  • Pacific Coast Collaborative aligns policy with goals of Paris Agreement
  • Washington developing pathways to decarbonization
  • PPNL, WSU, and UW working on grid modernization

[25:16] Washington State’s Clean Energy Fund

  • Focus on new tech in clean energy sector

[26:50] The PPNL VOLTTRON Project

  • Use blockchain to secure energy grid
  • Ledger, smart contracts to create trust

[32:28] Nori’s challenges around crypto regulations

  • Need clarity on how to comply (Reg D exemption)
  • Washington hasn’t taken stance on utility token

[40:26] The challenges Nori faces around verification

  • Model estimates improve with verified data
  • Nori take on risk through insurance pool
Jul 24, 2018
31: Aldyen Donnelly on Why Carbon Pricing Hasn't Worked So Far

If we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Yet when it comes to reducing carbon in the atmosphere, the current solutions fail to recognize what has worked in the past. So, what can we learn from the pollution reduction success stories in our history? What can those successes tell us about the shortcomings of existing strategies like cap-and-trade and carbon taxes? Why do our current methods of carbon pricing fail so spectacularly?

Aldyen Donnelly is Nori’s Director of Carbon Economics. She has been working to develop market-driven strategies for reducing carbon in the atmosphere since the mid-1990’s, creating a consortium of Canadian energy companies that developed the world’s first ‘emission reduction credit’ or ‘ERC’ purchase agreement to finance soil carbon sequestration as well as the first ERC-financed carbon capture and storage project.

Today, Aldyen joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain the fundamentals of cap-and-trade, discussing why allowances don’t represent a real reduction in emissions. They cover the inaccuracy of carbon prices as set by cap-and-trade markets and the Nori team’s eye-opening experience with the CarbonSim trading simulation game. Aldyen speaks to what we can learn from successful pollution reductions in history, describing how market competitors will find ways to innovate if we order fossil carbon reductions in the energy supply chain. Listen in for Aldyen’s insight on the failure of carbon taxes and learn how such measures have resulted in a negligible reduction in emissions while shifting the tax burden from the rich to the poor.



‘Why Carbon Pricing Isn’t Working’ in Foreign Affairs

Verified Carbon Standard

Climate Action Reserve

The Gold Standard




Key Takeaways

[3:48] The fundamentals of cap-and-trade

  • Quota-based management regime
  • Government creates limited amount of entitlements
  • Purchase allowances or buy carbon offsets if go over
  • Allowances don’t represent real reduction in emissions 

[8:23] Why cap-and-trade doesn’t work

  • Theory that allowances purchased from those who reduced emissions
  • Government supplies more quota than everyone needs
  • Intention to decline entitlements over time too hard politically

[12:27] Aldyen’s take on the ‘success’ of RECLAIM

  • Reduced value of allowance by half every four years
  • Punished for overcompliance, banking allowances 

[17:12] Why carbon pricing set my cap-and-trade markets is inaccurate

  • Price per certificate = fraction of cost of permanent reduction of emissions
  • ‘Trading pieces of paper for $12’
  • Storing carbon in cropland looks expensive by comparison 

[20:36] The Nori team’s experience with CarbonSim

  • Trading simulation game, goal to hit cap numbers and make profit

[24:21] What we can learn from successful pollution reductions in history 

  • Order fossil carbon reductions in energy supply chain (e.g.: 3% per annum)
  • Market competitors will innovate (i.e.: lead out of gasoline) 

[28:42] Why a carbon tax doesn’t work to reduce emissions

  • Regulations that dictate solution or price tie hands of private sector
  • Better for participants to compete for market share (innovation)

[31:00] Aldyen’s top insights for government officials

  • Concentrations high enough that removing CO2 from atmosphere is essential
  • Offer same $35-$50/ton tax credits to farmers as gas-fired power plant

[32:53] Why carbon taxes don’t change behavior

  • Recent increase in gas prices of 56¢, total sales still up
  • Retail pump price not same signal as price at wellhead
  • Consumers put off other capital expenditures to compensate

[38:29] How carbon taxes have impacted Sweden, Denmark and Norway

  • Negligible reduction in emissions
  • Massive shift of cost burden for electricity to smallest consumers

[41:58] Aldyen’s view on British Columbia’s carbon tax

  • One 18-month period when gasoline use dipped
  • 100% of dip attributed to low-income group
  • Added $117/year to typical commute by car
  • Increased cost of public transit by $480/year
Jul 17, 2018
30: Alex Ortiz, Chief Blockchain Evangelist at lifeID

Alex Ortiz believes that technology should be used as a tool to teach, to heal, and to create personal freedom—in short, it should be used for good to make the world a better place. Alex has spent the last 11 months doing a deep dive into the blockchain space, working to build a community that can learn together and develop use cases for the technology that will improve our lives. So, what exactly is the blockchain? What are some of its possible use cases? And how might it be used to incentivize positive behavior change?

Alex is the Chief Blockchain Evangelist with lifeID, a blockchain-based identity ecosystem that aims to give people the tools to own and manage their own identities online. lifeID is on a mission to facilitate secure authentication and provide a mechanism for the sharing of verified credentials rather than personal information. In his role, Alex is responsible for building critical mass adoption of and finding integration partners for the lifeID identity platform.

Today, Alex joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to explain how a Forbes article initiated his interest in the blockchain. They share the fundamentals of blockchain technology and discuss some of the most noteworthy use cases. Alex speaks to the idea behind lifeID as an open-source platform that supports self-sovereign identity technology, describing what they are working on right now. Listen in for Alex’s advice on becoming a part of the blockchain community and learn how use cases like Nori can use the blockchain to incentivize behavior change.




lifeID on Twitter

lifeID on LinkedIn

ForbesGlobal Food Safety Article

Nick Szabo on the Tim Ferriss Podcast

Simon Sinek TED Talk

UN Blockchain





Token Forum

Blockchain Conference Seattle 2018

IBM Blockchain Essentials Course

Blockchain Training Alliance

Hands-On Blockchain with Hyperledgerby Nitin Gaur et al.

OpenID Connect





Key Takeaways

[2:15] Alex’s introduction to the blockchain

[7:26] The fundamentals of the blockchain

  • Move data efficiently via internet
  • Transparent records as source of trust

[11:33] Noteworthy use cases for the blockchain  

[18:46] The current evolution of the blockchain

  • Growing community (30 projects in Seattle alone)
  • Better resources for newcomers
  • More specialization

[22:16] Alex’s insight on self-sovereign identity technology

  • Accustomed to giving private info for access to services
  • Allows for selective disclosure, data minimization
  • Info stored locally, harder to hack than current system

[28:06] The idea of a blockchain ecosystem to support applications 

  • Issuer, holder and verifier of credentials

[30:14] How lifeID functions as blockchain infrastructure

  • Users choose what to disclose, build in KYC offering
  • Open-source platform for identity (vs. product company)

[31:47] What lifeID is working on right now

[33:45] Alex’s advice for aspiring blockchain enthusiasts

  • Look for local community to collaborate with
  • Find blockchain use cases you are passionate about

[35:04] The concept of monetizing positive behavior

  • Nori rewards carbon removal
  • Sweatcoin incentivizes getting fit
Jul 10, 2018
29: Nori Methodologies for Rewarding Regenerative Agriculture with Alexsandra Guerra

The team at Nori has spent the last several months traveling the world, attending conferences around regenerative farming, agricultural technology, and the soil health movement. And the overarching theme among stakeholders has been the need for a price on carbon. How is Nori working to deliver just that? What methodologies is the platform using to measure and verify carbon removal in soil? And how does the system work to pay farmers for regenerative practices?

Alexsandra Guerra is the Director of Strategic Planning for Nori. A clean energy crusader with a background in the energy and tech space, she is well-versed in the realm of data-drive projects focused on increasing distributed energy resources and grid modernization. Alexsandra believes that they key to impactful innovation is a combination of social awareness and technology, and she prioritizes efficient and sustainable practices in all aspects of her life.

Today, Alexsandra once again joins Ross, Christophe and Paul on the podcast. This time, she is here to talk methodologies, explaining her current work with the product team around compensating farmers for carbon removal. She walks us through the process of enrolling in the Nori marketplace, getting your data verified, and earning Nori tokens. Alexsandra offers insight around the benefits of regenerative farming practices and the demand for a price on carbon. Listen in to understand how and why Nori is engaging stakeholders to build a usable platform based on feedback from the community.



Nori Webinars


Natural Resources Conservation Service



VNRC Soil Workshops

Carbon Farming Innovation Network

University of Minnesota Main Street Project


Key Takeaways

[1:46] The fundamentals of Nori methodologies

  • Current focus on soils and grazing
  • Develop way to measure carbon removal
  • List projects, get paid for good work

[2:43] How to become a part of the Nori marketplace

  • Enter regenerative practices on COMET-Farm
  • Use data to estimate CO2land stores over time
  • Issued corresponding number of CRCs

[4:02] The benefits of regenerative farming practices

  • Better yield over time, prevents soil erosion
  • Avert economic impact of land degradation

[5:53] The job of a verifier in the Nori system

  • Confirm applicant has rights to project listed
  • Verify accuracy of data in COMET-Farm
  • Ensure project not on other marketplaces

[8:00] How farmers get paid through Nori after verification

  • CRCs listed in que, convert to Nori tokens once purchased
  • Some tokens issued immediately but others held in reserve
  • Must maintain practices for ten years

[9:45] The difference between a verifier and an auditor 

  • Verifier makes sure COMET-Farm data is accurate, maintained
  • Auditor performs occasional checks (still working on timeline)
  • Supplier and buyer pay for both, Nori not involved in process 

[14:09] How the Nori marketplace provides assurance to buyers

  • Adjust credits held in reserve if less CO2removed than projected

[15:47] The theme of recent ag tech and soil health conferences

  • Crucial need for price on carbon
  • New practices to reduce inputs (e.g.: tree range chickens) 

[18:57] Why Nori is building a community of collaboration

  • Generate input to build usable tool
  • Prompt broad stakeholder engagement

[22:46] The Nori product team’s lean methodology

  • Apply scientific method to assumptions
  • Customer discovery to test hypotheses
Jul 03, 2018
28: John Elkington, Chairman & Chief Pollinator of Volans

"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down." —Kurt Vonnegut

John Elkington is most comfortable when he is least comfortable, most engaged when he is making it up as he goes along. A pioneer in working with businesses toward sustainable development, John has been a proponent of the triple bottom line for 40-plus years, making both his corporate clients and other environmentalists uncomfortable and earning a reputation as the ‘grit in the corporate oyster.’ So, how does John use provocation to push people in the right direction—combining a responsibility to people, planet, and profit to champion systemic change? 

John currently serves as Founding Partner and Chief Pollinator at Volans, a future-focused consulting agency based in London. Volans works with global companies, government actors, and innovators, moving beyond incremental change to address large-scale systemic challenges. Prior to his work with Volans, John co-founded SustainAbility and Environmental Data Services. John is a thought-leader, business strategist, environmentalist, and author, having penned several books on sustainability, entrepreneurship, and innovation.

Today, John joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to share his eel-centric environmental origin story and his journey to becoming the ‘grit in the corporate oyster.’ He walks us through the evolution of environmentalism, discussing the competing schools of thought and the value in employing capitalism to address climate change. They discuss social entrepreneurship, the term ‘sustainability,’ and Nori’s role in challenging the current system. Listen in for John’s insight on China and learn why he remains an optimist despite our present trajectory toward inconceivable warming.



John’s Website


The Green Capitalists by John Elkington and Tom Burke

The Green Consumer by John Elkington and Julia Hailes


The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World by John Elkington and Pamela Hartigan

Breakthrough Money

UN Environment Programme


The Bretton Woods Committee


Key Takeaways

[0:43] John’s environmental origin story

  • Extraordinary experience with baby eels as child
  • Became formal environmentalist in late 1960’s 

[5:09] John’s reputation as the ‘grit in the corporate oyster’

  • Most comfortable when least comfortable
  • Engage, tap into innate creativity of business 

[6:39] The evolution of environmentalism

  • Older generation values working with business
  • Economic, social and environmental value add

[12:41] John’s take on the word sustainability

  • New terms sensitive but degrade over time
  • Must be analytical to champion systemic change

[18:36] Why capitalism is crucial in dealing with climate change

  • Includes human, intellectual, social and natural capital
  • Transparency, principles key in not ‘selling soul’

[23:33] Nori’s role in challenging the system 

  • Welcome opportunity to work with ‘bad guys’
  • Business advantage to dealing with externality
  • Build market mechanism to facilitate rapid drawdown
  • Blockchain affords competitive advantage 

[28:53] John’s insight on calling out bad behavior

  • No benefit to purely punitive shaming
  • Provocation necessary to push people in right direction
  • All trapped in unsustainable system doing violence to planet

[32:20] The significance of conversation with the financial sector

  • Economics, finance ‘singularly poor in valuing resources’
  • Need to be shown what’s happening in wider world

[36:16] John’s perspective on China

  • Immensely exciting (right trajectory) AND worrying (impact on geopolitics)
  • West not modeling behavior we want China to emulate

[39:00] John’s view of the next 15 to 20 years

  • Most exciting, challenging and dangerous
  • On trajectory to inconceivable levels of warming
Jun 19, 2018
27: Mark Stevenson, Author and Futurist

‘People do not move because they’ve been convinced intellectually. Unless you move the heart, the rest of you won’t move at all. All storytelling is about moving the heart, and when you’ve moved the heart, the brain will follow.’

If you want to sell voluntary measures to offset carbon emissions, tell a compelling story. Data is less persuasive than the narrative of a village lifted out of poverty. What else is facilitating the cultural shift toward doing the right thing? The market itself. As network-based systems begin to outperform hierarchical ones, companies are realizing the long-term benefit and profit-potential of carbon neutrality.

Mark Stevenson is a self-proclaimed ‘reluctant futurist’ and author of the bestsellers An Optimist’s Tour of the Future and We Do Things Differently. One of the world’s most respected thinkers, Mark supports a diverse mix of clients including government agencies, NGOs, corporations and arts organizations in becoming future literate and adapting their cultures and strategy to face questions around climate change and gender inequality, among other issues.

Today, Mark joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to explain how he uses standup comedy to build literacy around important issues. He describes the benefit for companies that invest in reversing climate change, the climate solutions that have the potential to scale rapidly, and the opportunities in proper grazing and regenerative agriculture. They discuss the difference between climate change mitigation and adaption as well as Mark’s decision to calculate and offset his lifetime emissions. Listen in to understand the value of network-based systems like the blockchain and learn how to sell voluntary measures to offset carbon emissions—including the Nori platform!



Mark’s Website

An Optimist’s Tour of the Futureby Mark Stevenson

We Do Things Differently: The Outsiders Rebooting Our World by Mark Stevenson

The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves by Matt Ridley

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power from the Freemasons to Facebookby Niall Ferguson

World Bank CO2 Emissions Data

UN Platform to Offset Emissions

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt

Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations by David R. Montgomery


Key Takeaways

[0:48] How Mark became a ‘reluctant futurist’

  • Mission to build literacy around climate change, gender equality, human genome, etc.
  • Standup comedy to learn communication, ‘talk to everybody’
  • Slowly morphed into futurist (research, consultancy, public-facing role)

[6:11] Mark’s experience at an underwater cabinet meeting in the Maldives

  • Low-lying island with emissions problem
  • President brought attention with underwater meeting

[9:00] Climate change mitigation vs. adaptation

  • Mitigation deals with root cause (i.e.: stop emitting, pull excess CO2out of atmosphere)
  • Adaptation implies dealing with impact of climate change (e.g.: build seawalls)

[12:10] The benefit for companies that invest in reversing climate change

  • Climate change is shareholder value risk
  • Climate-competent board attracts best talent
  • Consumers reward brands that align with values
  • Cheaper in long run (reduced water waste, electricity)

[15:00] The cultural shift toward doing the right thing

  • Make more money in short-term as ‘bad guy’ but lose in long run
  • Many companies don’t advertise carbon neutrality (e.g.: Microsoft)

[19:19] Mark’s insight on climate solutions that can scale rapidly

  • Renewables (solar, wind) continue to outperform growth predictions
  • Liquid fuel taken from different source (renewed daily)

[25:41] Mark’s take on the failure of government

  • Not true democracy—must democratize health, wealth, education and opportunity
  • All time low trust in large-scale institutions as only 10% work in system and profit from it

[30:00] Mark’s decision to calculate and offset his lifetime emissions

[34:20] How to sell voluntary measures to offset emissions

  • Move heart, brain will follow
  • Tell compelling story about truth (i.e.: lift village out of poverty)

[40:28] The difference between hierarchies and network-based systems

  • Past systems ran on hierarchies (e.g.: teacher in classroom)
  • Networked systems have started to outperform (i.e.: solar energy)

[42:03] How the blockchain functions as a network-based system

  • Trust established via multiple auditing groups vs. single, centralized bank

[45:53] How Nori will verify carbon removal activity

  • Depends on methodology
  • Practices verified by performance
  • Start with traditional verification methods
  • IoT likely to drive down cost of verification 

[48:58] The opportunities in proper grazing and regenerative agriculture

  • 5B acres of badly managed grassland, half of carbon in atmosphere comes from soil
  • Only 60 harvests left at current level of soil erosion, costs US $44B/year
  • Regenerative agriculture can triple yield, put carbon back in soil and increase fertility over time
Jun 12, 2018
26: Gregory Landua, CEO of Regen Network

What if we could develop a currency backed by the living health of ecosystems? A sort of ‘life currency’ with a robust verification system that would incentivize practices that promote ecological health? What if we could use technology to regain the capacity to understand the consequences of our day-to-day decisions and act for the health of planet Earth? And what would it take to build this infrastructure—a kind of Subway to Regeneration?

Gregory Landua is the Co-Founder and CEO of Regen Network, a community of actors working to create a balance sheet for Earth. By improving our understanding of ecosystems and enabling rewards for verified positive changes, the organization seeks to catalyze the regeneration of the earth’s ecosystems. Gregory also serves as the CEO of Terra Genesis International, a pioneer in the shift toward regenerative agriculture. An international regenerative design consultancy, TGI works to provide solutions that regenerate soil, increase biodiversity and improve the bottom line for farmers and ranchers. Gregory is the co-author of Regenerative Enterprise: Optimizing for Multi-Capital Abundance

Today, Gregory joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to explain how a financial instrument can be backed by ecological health and the important role of decentralization in establishing a blockchain system we can trust. Gregory speaks to the aim of the Regen Network in helping humans regain the capacity to relate to landscapes in a regenerative way. He offers insight around the organization’s work in developing high-quality verification of ecological outcomes, facilitating interoperability between blockchains, and designing a consortium-based governance model. Listen in to understand how Regen Network is working to create additional revenue streams for farmers in the realms of quality data and carbon sequestration.



Regen Network

Terra Genesis International

Books by Elinor Ostrom

Land to Market


Cosmos Network



Key Takeaways 

[0:30] Gregory’s path to Regen Network

  • Distributed ledger technology and regenerative agriculture
  • What if currency backed by living health of ecosystem?
  • Evolved to focus on protocol to make ‘life currency’ possible

[5:36] How a financial instrument can be backed by ecological health

  • Can’t trade crypto for soil carbon, but can’t trade USD for gold either
  • Value of USD represents military control over scarce natural resources
  • Crypto revolution provides opportunity to create instruments of exchange with different rules, backed by different form of trust with incentives rooted in ecological health

[14:00] The role of decentralization in establishing trust

  • Centralized control leads to mass manipulation of big data for profit of few
  • Decentralization is key to trust, fundamental to restorative economy

[17:29] The definition of an Oracle in the blockchain context

  • Interface between real world and blockchain
  • Regenerative farm observatories create highly monitored, representative slice of land

[22:23] The aim of Regen Network

  • Humans have lost capacity to understand, relate to landscapes in regenerative way
  • Regen Network provides technological training wheels to regain that capacity, understand consequences of day-to-day decisions and act for health of planet Earth

[28:27] What Regen Network is working on now

  • High-quality, inexpensive, decentralized verification of ecological outcomes
  • Create planetary protocol to interoperate data sources, incentivize new ones

[30:04] Regen Network’s other partners beyond Nori

[34:20] What needs to be true to facilitate interoperability between blockchains

  • Either common standard or translation method (e.g.: Cosmos, Polkadot)
  • Regen Network developing common schema for data

[37:07] The Regen Network governance model

  • Invite stakeholders to govern through consortium
  • Opportunity to create theecological ledger, smart contracting framework

[44:22] Why farmers should care about Regen Network

  • Creates more value streams for farmers beyond cheap commodity produce
  • Compensation for data, carbon content AND increase quality, yield of crops
May 29, 2018
25: Dr. Keith Paustian, Soil and Crop Sciences at Colorado State University

The greatest challenge we face here at Nori is that of verifying that carbon has, in fact, been captured and stored for good. To our benefit, Colorado State University has developed a whole farm and ranch carbon and greenhouse gas accounting system called COMET-Farm. How does the tool work to estimate how a farmer’s management practices impact soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions? 

Keith Paustian is a professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences at CSU. His research deals with soil organic matter dynamics and carbon and nitrogen cycling in managed ecosystems, with a major focus on modeling and field measurement of soil carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions from land use activities. Keith acts as the coordinating lead author for the IPCC in the area of agriculture and national greenhouse gas inventory methods, and he serves on the US Carbon Cycle Steering Group, the Chicago Climate Change Science Advisory Board, the 25X25 Advisory Board, and the Soil Science Society of America Greenhouse Gas Working Group.  

Today, Keith sits down with Ross and Christophe to share his path to the study of soil carbon sequestration. Keith explains what happens when we convert land for agriculture and what we can do to recover the lost carbon inventory. He offers insight into COMET-Farm, discussing how the tool’s models quantify changes in soil carbon and greenhouse gas emissions. Listen in to understand the hurdles to widespread adoption of sustainable agriculture and learn how the technology revolution in the space might facilitate Nori’s ambitions to compensate farmers for sustainable practices.




Natural Resources Conservation Service


Key Takeaways

[0:40] Keith’s path to sustainable agriculture

  • Grew up in Colorado, studied forest science
  • Two years in Norway as lab tech
  • PhD in Sweden (ecology of arable lands)
  • Part of global climate change community
  • Developed interest in land use systems

[4:09] How to recover the carbon lost in converting lands for agriculture

  • Plants on ground as much as possible
  • Avoid soil disturbance, reduce soil erosion
  • More efficient use of nutrients

[6:58] How COMET-Farm works

  • Farmers provide detailed management info
  • Models estimate changes in soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions 

[9:47] Why soil organic carbon is a good proxy for soil health

  • Soil is complex living system
  • Organic matter = food source for organisms
  • Important to physical structure of soil

[11:49] The factors that impact the chemical and physical properties of soil

  • Parent material (e.g.: limestone, volcanic ash)
  • Change over time due to climate

[15:08] Keith’s take on the Earth’s capacity to store excess CO2in atmosphere

  • Yes, but not all in soil
  • Forests, carbon mineralization and geological storage (i.e.: saline aquifers) 

[16:41] The hurdles to widespread adoption of soil carbon sequestration

  • Farmers focused on net return, crop yield
  • May cost more, involve more risk in short-term
  • No immediate tangible benefit

[20:40] The benefits of the current technology revolution in agriculture

  • Directly address soil carbon, greenhouse gas emissions
  • Forecast outcomes to facilitate changes in management
  • Understand behavior of organic matter in soil, how to increase 

[25:16] The definition of precision agriculture

  • Farmers understand variability in field
  • Map different management zones

[26:11] The most common myth around soil carbon

  • Policy community used to say couldn’t be measured
May 22, 2018
24: Alexsandra Guerra, Director of Strategic Planning for Nori

One of the tenets at Nori is Find, Don’t Whine. Rather than complaining about the complexity of reversing climate change, the startup believes in actively seeking out solutions. At the end of April, we took steps to engage a diverse group of stakeholders through the Reversapalooza Summit, inviting academics, influencers, policy-makers, potential carbon removal certificate suppliers and buyers to come together and initiate a conversation around incentivizing carbon removal by way of the blockchain.

Alexsandra Guerra is one of the seven founders of Nori, and she serves as the startup’s Director of Strategic Planning. Alexsandra’s interest in reversing climate change began at 17 when she saw Dr. Klaus Lackner on the Science Channel and was inspired to pursue Environmental Engineering at Columbia. She is a clean energy and sustainability crusader working in the energy and tech space, serving as a renewable energy integration engineer at Southern California Edison for three years prior to joining Nori. Alexsandra believes that the environment-technology nexus should be used to better humanity and protect the environment, and she was the lead in organizing the Reversapalooza Summit.

Today, Alexsandra joins Ross, Christophe, and Paul to sum up the Reversapalooza Summit, discussing Nori’s intent to procure feedback from a variety of stakeholders and iterate in the right direction moving forward. They briefly walk us through each session, sharing the major takeaways from Carbon Markets, Blockchain 101, and Returning Carbon to the Ground. Alexsandra reviews the Nori Trading Game, offering insight around how the simulated marketplace demonstrated Nori’s approach and uncovered effective market strategy. Listen in to understand the mindset shift inspired by the Open-Source Tech presentations and learn how the conference concluded with an intense discussion of measuring carbon removal.



Reversapalooza Agenda

Live Illustrations from Reversapalooza


Nori Explainer Video

Regen Network


Key Takeaways

[3:38] The idea behind Reversapalooza

  • Summit held in Seattle, 105 in attendance
  • Conversation with variety of stakeholders
  • Feedback on whitepaper to iterate in right direction

[6:27] Takeaways from the Carbon Markets Today session

  • Carbon is not the enemy (energy improves human condition)
  • Treat greenhouse gases as waste product, pay to collect

[10:15] The value of the Nori Trading Game

  • Simulated marketplace (CRCs and Nori tokens)
  • Difference between cost of removing carbon, token price 

[14:51] Paul’s Marketplace Demo

  • Illustrate full life cycle of Nori token
  • Enter data, verification, CRC listed for sale

[16:15] The premise of the Blockchain & Nori 101 session

  • Illustrate difference between blockchain and crypto
  • Ethereum’s PoS (drastic reduction in energy use)

[19:42] The themes of the Open-Source Tech Presentations

  • Shift thinking from scarcity to abundance mindset
  • Complex, global problems benefit from collective input 

[23:21] An overview of the Returning Carbon to the Ground session

  • Current scale of adoption of regenerative farming
  • Potential to incentivize regenerative practices
  • Emphasis on soil health vs. climate change

[25:28] The aim of the Proving Carbon is Removed session

  • Introduce methods for measuring carbon removal
  • Explore verification protocol in blockchain space 

[29:01] Nori’s next steps

  • Use feedback to continue conversations offline
  • Apply to product, business development
May 15, 2018
23: Dr. Klaus Lackner of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions

The team at Nori believes that the best ideas come out of creative tension, so they are soliciting feedback on the completed draft of their white paper in order to identify any unanswered questions or potential issues before moving forward. In fact, the Reversapalooza Summit was designed for that very purpose.

Dr. Klaus Lackner is the director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (CNCE) and professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering. His research interests include closing the carbon cycle through direct air capture, carbon sequestration, carbon foot-printing, and energy and environmental policy. Klaus was the first to suggest the artificial air capture of carbon dioxide, and he invented the world’s first commercially demonstrated direct air capture units. From 2001 to 2014, Klaus served as the director of the Lenfest Center for Sustainable Energy, and his work has been featured in The New Yorker, Scientific Americanand the Washington Post.

Today, Klaus joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to offer his feedback on the Nori whitepaper. Klaus explains why he likes the idea of breaking the carbon offset model and offering compensation based on actual carbon removed. He also shares his concerns around Nori’s customers, the verification challenges they face, and the issue of permanency. Listen in for spirited debate on retiring certificates in compliance markets and the potential decrease in value of Nori tokens as less expensive methods for collecting CO2 emerge.



Klaus on RCC EP07




Key Takeaways 

[1:58] What Klaus likes about the Nori whitepaper

  • Breaks model of carbon offsets
  • Nori pays for actual removal
  • Incentives better than market for mitigation
  • Allows for balancing of carbon budget 

[5:43] Klaus’ questions around Nori’s customers

  • Compliance market vs. volunteers
  • Start with large buyers (i.e.: corporations)
  • Transition to microtransactions in high volume 

[9:42] The verification challenge Nori faces

  • Must work out standards method by method
  • Baseline only works in certain class of applications

[13:18] Klaus’ concerns over the permanency issue

  • Existing markets require farmers to maintain practices for up to 100 years, only compensated for 20
  • Nori working with COMET-farm to determine minimum time before farmers will continue regardless

[15:55] The categories of methodologies

  • Ecological, industrial and hybrid
  • One CRC = one metric ton of carbon removed (+/-10%)

[19:01] Klaus’ reservations around retiring certificates

  • CRC created with verification of carbon removal
  • CRC non-transferrable as soon as purchased
  • Compliance markets would accept CRCs (not tokens) 

[24:22] The regulatory gray area of cryptocurrency

  • Categorized as money, property and securities
  • Clarification necessary to ensure compliance

[26:45] Klaus’ concerns around market equilibrium

  • Currency devalued as technology improves (cheaper to remove carbon)
  • Encourages competition to increase profit margins
  • Price at market level comes down with competition
May 08, 2018
22: Stacy Smedley, Director of Sustainability at Skanska USA

The construction industry will never reach carbon zero. And while we have made great strides in the way of operational emissions, we have only begun to think about reducing the embodied carbon emissions associated with the manufacturing, transport and construction of the necessary building materials. In most cases, it takes 250 years of operation to match the emissions related to the building process itself. So how do we reduce embodied carbon emissions as much as possible—and responsibly offset the rest?

Stacy Smedley is the Director of Sustainability at Skanska USA. Skanska is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups, working to provide innovative and sustainable building solutions and create a sustainable future for its people, customers and communities. Stacy has a degree in Architecture from the University of Washington, and she enjoyed a ten-year career in the field before joining Skanska. She is the architect behind the extension of the Bertschi School Science Wing, the world’s fourth Living Building. Stacy also serves on the advisory board for the Carbon Leadership Forum, and she is the Construction Chair of the Embodied Carbon Network.

Today, Stacy joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain the concept of embodied carbon and Skanska’s efforts to reduce construction emissions. She celebrates the strides that have been made in the way of operational emissions and shares Skanska’s approach to leading progress in the area embodied emissions reductions. They discuss the challenges around life cycle analysis as well as Skanska’s latest innovations, from cross-laminated timber to carbon-sequestering concrete. Listen in for Stacy’s insight on Living Buildings and learn how Nori could support a company like Skanska in reaching its ambitious sustainability targets.




Carbon Leadership Forum

Embodied Carbon Network



Key Takeaways 

[0:52] Stacy’s environmental origin story

  • Grew up in Oregon (natural, outdoor playground)
  • Grandfather sold land to developer
  • Mission to build things good for environment
  • Ten years as architect before joining Skanska

[3:13] Skanska’s efforts to reduce construction emissions

  • Building emissions account for 40% of total
  • Skanska target of 0 emissions by 2050
  • ‘Reduce first, offset second’

[6:28] The concept of embodied carbon

  • Associated with manufacturing, transport and construction of material in building
  • Core and shell account for 80% of total building emissions
  • Includes concrete, steel, glazing, aluminum and gypsum board 

[11:22] Embodied vs. operational emissions

  • Design choices have taken EUI from hundreds to forties
  • Just started thinking about embodied carbon

[13:49] Skanska’s approach to sustainable construction

  • Must lead to make change (first adopter)
  • Work with likeminded clients
  • Create open-source tool for competitors 

[16:00] The challenges around life-cycle analysis

  • Normalize data from different sources (not transparent)
  • Agree on one standard

[19:24] Skanska’s innovation around wood buildings

  • Involves cross-laminated timber from forests produced quickly
  • Costs will go down as efficiency, availability grows
  • Must trace transparency back to source 

[23:06] Other opportunities in sustainable construction

  • Carbon-sequestering concrete

[25:41] The two categories of innovation at Skanska

  • Inside-the-fence (onsite efforts including vehicles, equipment)
  • Outside-the-fence (provide info, push to invest in reductions of Source 3 embodied carbon)

[28:00] The idea behind a Living Building

  • Produces more energy than consumes (net positive)
  • Treat water onsite without connection to pipe
  • Becoming cost-competitive until solar panel tariffs

[34:13] How Nori can help Skanska reach its goals

  • Transparent way to negate emissions (internal goal)
  • Provide clients with ‘story to tell’
May 01, 2018
21: Joe Quirk, Managing Director of Blue Frontiers

"If you’re trying to change the world in the marketplace, the market of providing a service compels bad people to behave well. If you’re trying to change the world through politics, the political process compels good people to become more corrupt in order to succeed."

Joe Quirk is the co-founder of Blue Frontiers, Seavangelist with The Seasteading Institute, and the co-author of Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick and Liberate Humanity from Politicians. Joe’s "a-ha" moment on a cruise ship coupled with his tenth Burning Man experience led to a collaboration with Patri Friedman and an interest in leveraging the power of variation and selection in governance through sustainable floating cities. These seasteads would solve for sea level rise as well as innovation in governance, allowing aquapreneurs the space and freedom to test their ideas.

Today, Joe sits down with Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain how seasteading facilitates innovation and Blue Frontiers’ role in establishing such floating islands. Joe discusses the benefits of seasteading for coastal and island nations impacted by climate change and Buckminster Fuller’s concept of pollution as ‘resources we’re not using.’ They talk about what’s next for Blue Frontiers, including its upcoming token ICO and the SeaZones project. Listen in for Joe’s insight around affecting change through voice or the choice to exit and learn how seasteading would allow for both, facilitating much-needed innovation in governance as well as carbon removal.



Blue Frontiers

It’s Not You, It’s Biology: The Science of Love, Sex, and Relationships by Joe Quirk

The Seasteading Institute

Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians by Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman

Call to the Rescue by Joe Quirk

Blue Frontiers Podcast

Blue 21

Exit, Voice and Loyalty by Albert O. Hirschman

Your Next Government? by Tom W. Bell

Startup Societies Foundation


Key Takeaways

[2:10] How Joe came to be a Seavangelist

  • Power of variation and selection doesn’t occur in governance
  • Floating cities would allow people to ‘vote with house’
  • Solve for social, environmental problems through innovation


[10:39] How seasteading facilitates innovation

  • Aquapreneurs move beyond current boundaries, regulations
  • Create better systems and scale ideas quickly 


[14:15] The idea behind Blue Frontiers

  • Sustainable floating islands with unique governing frameworks
  • Hosted in French Polynesia under decentralized maritime law


[19:40] How seasteading benefits island, coastal nations

  • Proposes ways to adapt to sea level change
  • Experiment with innovation in governance 


[20:48] Paul’s takeaways from his tour with Blue Frontiers

  • Culture of explorers, seasteading is next logical step
  • Harvesting kelp could support seasteads and remove carbon from atmosphere


[28:21] The concept of pollution as resources we’re not using

  • Conceived by Buckminster Fuller 
  • Aquaculture techniques can restore coastal environment
  • Blue 21 creating societies in harmony with how nature itself works


[32:37] What’s next for Blue Frontiers

  • SeaCoins ICO
  • SeaZone in French Polynesia using best practices of special economic zones


[38:47] The two ways to affect change

  • Having voice OR ability to exit
  • Seasteading allows for both
  • More choice creates better service
Apr 24, 2018
20: David Hodgson, Addressing barriers to large-scale ecological restoration

Initiatives designed to reverse climate change generally lack funding. Yet there are investors with large pools of money who are increasingly interested in the space. How do we bridge that gap and promote impact investing? How do we support regenerative agriculture projects that will restore the soil and reduce the amount of carbon in our atmosphere?

David Hodgson enjoyed a successful career as a software engineer, working at prominent companies the likes of Microsoft and Sony Pictures. But when his father was diagnosed with cancer, David did some soul searching and made the decision to shift his focus to a field where he could make a greater impact. He earned an MBA in Sustainable Business from Dominican University of California in 2007, and he has spent the last ten years working to fast-track the world-changing initiatives necessary to address the profound challenges of our time. He currently serves as the CEO of Hummingbird Labs, a venture dedicated to supporting systems focused on regenerating nature. David is passionate about accelerating the flow of capital to solve for climate change. 

Today, David joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the concepts of impact investing and blended finance and the significance of monetizing ecosystem service production. David shares his mission around accelerating the flow of capital to planetary regeneration, explaining the roadblocks he faces and how projects like 1000 Landscapes are working to overcome those challenges. They talk regulations, speaking to the strong interest in regenerative agriculture shown by governments around the globe. David covers the difference between sustainability and regeneration and explains why he is more optimistic about the future of regenerative agriculture than he was five years ago. Listen in for David’s message to impact investors and learn about the players already working to accelerate the flow of capital to reverse climate change.



The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken

Farmland LP


William McDonough at Bioneers 2000


Brown’s Ranch

Carbon Nation Documentary


Slow Money

Change Finance

Etho Capital

ImpactAssets 50


Key Takeaways

[3:22] The concept of blended finance

  • Combines return-seeking with philanthropic funds

[6:16] The importance of monetizing ecosystem service production

  • Plugs capital gaps, market rate return back to mainstream investors 

[7:31] The Farmland LP Model

  • Buy land farmed conventionally
  • Institute regenerative practices

[11:55] David’s mission to accelerate the flow of capital to planetary regeneration

  • Largest pools of capital in pension funds (e.g.: BlackRock = $4T)
  • Persuade large asset managers to divest funds from perpetuation of fossil fuels
  • Invest in carbon reduction, biodiversity, water, etc.

[14:00] The roadblocks around shifting capital to regenerative projects

  • Fund managers write $100M checks, individual landholders need $50K
  • Blockchain technology could solve by reducing transactional costs

[18:00] The idea of 1000 Landscapes

  • Conceived by international development community 
  • NGOs bring together agricultural value chains in large area
  • Collectively shift practices of players causing land degradation

[21:26] How investors might facilitate paying farmers in USD for carbon sequestration

  • Buy Nori tokens and carbon credits, farmers paid in USD

[24:29] David’s insight around regenerative agriculture regulations 

  • British government concerned about soil health, policy to incentivize regenerative practices
  • France, China and largest UN voting block have strong interest in regenerative agriculture

[28:06] The difference between sustainability and regeneration

  • Current relationship between civilization and biosphere = degrading
  • Sustainability suggests weak concept of making ‘less bad’
  • Regeneration implies action that makes things better (biosphere more productive)

[30:58] Why David is optimistic about the future of regeneration

  • Similar to early days of software industry, independent activity
  • Over time activity will integrate, pieces together create possibility

[34:06] How doing the right thing for the land increases profitability

  • PastureMap software plans herd moves for grazing
  • Pay less for inputs, improves land and cattle healthier

[37:47] David’s message for impact investors

Apr 17, 2018
19: Amanda Ravenhill, Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute

You say you want a revolution… How about a ‘design science revolution’? Coined by R. Buckminster Fuller, the idea advocates for an alternative to politics that makes war obsolete, optimizes planetary resources for the benefit of all, and uses nature’s existing order to guide human design.  

Amanda Ravenhill is the Executive Director of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, an organization dedicated to building on the legacy of systems visionary, inventor, and architect R. Buckminster Fuller to solve complex global problems through design thinking education. Prior to her work with the institute, Amanda taught Principles of Sustainable Management at Presidio Graduate School, served as business Partnership Coordinator at, and held the role of Executive Director of Project Drawdown. Amanda is an advisor to the Center for Carbon Removal and a member of the Nexus Global Climate Change Working Group steering committee. 

Today, Amanda sits down with Ross and Christophe to share the vision of the Buckminster Fuller Institute and its namesake’s legacy as an early environmentalist, humanitarian, and techno-optimist with a global vision of the future. They discuss how Nori fits into that vision as part of the ‘design science revolution’ and how the transparency of the blockchain aligns with Fuller’s ideas. Amanda offers insight into the origin of the Drawdown Project, describing the details of how solutions like the education of women and girls have cascading benefits that include reversing climate change. Listen in for Amanda’s advice around approaching problems with design thinking and learn about the groundbreaking work of Regenesis Group.



Buckminster Fuller Institute

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken

Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth by R. Buckminster Fuller

Grunch of Giants by R. Buckminster Fuller

Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller

Synergetics 2: Further Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking by R. Buckminster Fuller

Inventory of World Resources, Human Trends and Needs

Ecotopia by Ernest Callenbach

Burning Man


Regenesis Group

The Regenerative Business: Redesign Work, Cultivate Human Potential, Achieve Extraordinary Outcomes by Carol Sanford

Savory Institute

Allan Savory TED Talk

GreenWave Ocean Farming


Key Takeaways

[3:00] Amanda’s WHY in working with Buckminster Fuller

  • Ensure climate change used as positive catalyst to transform the world

[4:54] The fundamentals of biochar

  • Collect residue, starve of oxygen to produce energy
  • Supercharges land, fertilizer not necessary
  • Addresses several problems with one solution

[7:19] The aim of the Buckminster Fuller Institute

  • Make world work for 100% of humanity in shortest possible time
  • Spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense, disadvantage to anyone

[10:28] Fuller’s concept of dymaxion

  • Blending of dynamic, maximum and tension
  • Do more with less

[13:42] The role Nori plays in Fuller’s vision

  • Carbon balancing integral part of ‘design science revolution’
  • War obsolete with enough to go around

[18:47] How the blockchain fits with Fuller’s vision

  • Grunch of Giants addresses dangers of centralization
  • Decentralized system combats oppression

[21:52] The idea of Burning Man

  • Experiment in community based in gifting economy
  • You AND me vs. you OR me, plus radical self-reliance

[27:06] How the education of women and girls impacts climate change

  • Every year over primary education = 10-20% more in wages
  • Family planning has cascading benefits beyond population

[30:34] Amanda’s advice around approaching problems with design thinking

  • Explore work of Regenesis Group
  • Operate, maintain, sustain and regenerate

[33:15] How winners of the Fuller Challenge are selected

[36:04] The significance of ‘Team Trillion Tons’

  • Reduction from 410 ppm to 280 ppm requires removal of 1T tonnes of CO2
Apr 10, 2018
18: Chad Frischmann of Project Drawdown

Reversing climate change goes beyond the math and science of reducing the greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. It’s also about economic justice, social equity, and increasing the standard of living for all people across the planet. That’s the beauty of the approach presented in Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reduce Global Warming. Not only does the suite of solutions tackle climate change, its co-benefits uncover a path forward that addresses human rights and ‘raises the boat’ for all people.

Chad Frischmann is the Vice President & Research Director at Project Drawdown, a collaborative research organization that maps, measures and models the most substantive solutions to reversing climate change. Chad began his career teaching art history before an existential crisis and a sabbatical to sub-Saharan Africa inspired a career shift—and a move to Berkeley. He has spent the last ten years working at the nexus of sustainable development, environmental conservation, and indigenous peoples’ rights. Chad holds a master’s in Public Policy from UC Berkeley, a master’s in Art History from the University of Oxford, and a BA in International Affairs from George Washington University. 

Chad joins Ross and Christophe to discuss the positive message of opportunity presented in the book Drawdown, the potential profitability of its approach to reversing climate change, and the three mechanisms necessary to achieve drawdown. Chad offers details on the book’s number one strategy—refrigerant management—and explains why reducing consumption is a necessary piece of a comprehensive solution. They talk social equity, healthy eating, and diverting waste and excess to raise the standard of living across the planet. Listen in for Chad’s insight around how Project Drawdown supports shared learning and co-creation, offering its framework as a tool for users on a local level to achieve implementation at scale.



Project Drawdown

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming edited by Paul Hawken

Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol


Key Takeaways

[2:12] The message of Drawdown

  • Reduce concentrations of greenhouse gasses to affect global cooling
  • Accelerate restorative, regenerative solutions


[5:40] The potential profitability of the Drawdown approach

  • Payoff comes in operational savings 


[7:28] Chad’s take on three mechanisms necessary to achieve drawdown

  • Replace current fossil fuel-based infrastructure with clean renewable alternatives
  • Reduce consumption (i.e.: technology, behavioral change)
  • Sequester carbon, restore natural carbon cycle


[10:20] The refrigerate management solution

  • HFCs in refrigerant much more potent than CO2
  • Control leakage, destroy HFCs at end of life 
  • Requires policy, financial support


[17:03] Chad’s ‘king of the world’ solution for climate change

  • Establish global carbon tax, other carbon pricing mechanisms


[19:27] Why reducing consumption is an important part of the solution

  • Promotes social equity, ‘raise boats for all’
  • Reduce overconsumption, divert food waste


[24:40] Chad’s insight around rising meat consumption in China

  • Promote eating healthy quantities of meat, plant-rich diet
  • Drawdown statistical evaluation errs on side of conservative


[28:40] How to get involved with the Drawdown movement

  • Software as framework for decision-making on local, regional level
  • Democratize information, open-source useful to diverse audience


Apr 03, 2018
17: Noah Deich and Giana Amador of the Center for Carbon Removal

Carbon is not bad, in and of itself. The problem is that it’s currently in the wrong place. The Center for Carbon Removal (CCR) is on a mission to accelerate the development of scalable, sustainable, economically-viable carbon removal solutions that capture excess carbon from the atmosphere and put it back where it belongs—in soil, building materials and underground geologic formations. The Center is founded on the belief that we can enjoy a prosperous economy AND a safe environment at the same time, rather than having to choose one or the other.

Noah Deich and Giana Amador are the co-founders of CCR, a nonprofit working to halt climate change by restoring atmospheric CO2 concentrations to sustainable levels. Noah worked as a management consultant on clean energy and corporate sustainability projects before assuming his role as Executive Director of CCR, and he holds an MBA from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. Giana’s background lies in the policy, technology and political economy of renewable energy in the US, and she received her BS in Environmental Economics and Policy as well as Society and the Environment at UC Berkeley before becoming the Managing Director of the organization.

Noah and Giana sit down with Ross and Christophe to explain the overarching goals of the Center for Carbon Removal and the three major prongs of their work. They talk policy, discussing carbon removal tax credits, the barriers to further progress, and why we need to think of policy in terms of ‘the art of the possible.’ Noah and Giana offer their take on next steps, explaining what needs to happen with regard to positive action right now and how they see carbon removal as the ‘icing on the mitigation cake.’ Listen in to understand the new carbon economy, CCR’s vision for its Carbon Recycling Labs incubator, and how the New Carbon Economy Consortium serves as a catalyst for increasing prosperity, economic growth AND carbon removal.



The Center for Carbon Removal

Carbon Recycling Labs

New Carbon Economy Consortium


Key Takeaways

[3:36] The Center for Carbon Removal elevator pitch

  • Build ecosystem of public, private and civil sector support for economy that removes more carbon that it emits


[4:04] The three parts of CCR’s work

  • Research and development
  • Bring research to market (i.e.: tech incubator)
  • Policy


[8:30] Giana’s take on the ‘bathtub analogy’ of carbon removal

  • Need to expand size of drain before tub overflows


[10:44] The barriers around carbon removal at the policy level

  • Lack of awareness, robust constituency passionate about policy change


[12:12] Noah’s take on the positive action required now

  • Funding for R&D
  • Markets provide reasonable return for solutions ready
  • Government not impeding market with onerous regulation


[13:41] Giana’s insight around tax credits for carbon removal

  • Market opportunity for sequestration, CO2 use for enhanced oil recovery


[15:42] The Center’s definition of carbon removal

  • Any act, practice or technology that captures carbon from air and stores permanently


[18:09] Noah’s vision around mitigation and carbon removal

  • Carbon removal is ‘icing on mitigation cake’
  • Mitigation essential, need ‘cake’ asap
  • Encourage stepping stones to permanent sequestration


[19:25] Noah’s take on policy as ‘the art of the possible’

  • Use as instrument to get to new carbon economy
  • Approach world as it is, make best of messy politics


[20:49] The aim of the Center for Carbon Removal

  • Reversing global warming more feasible than climate change
  • Already facing irreversible impacts of climate change
  • Goal to grow prosperous economy that removes more carbon on net


[24:40] The sticky sectors that need to be offset with carbon removal solutions

  • Land use, transportation and energy efficiency
  • Moot point until R&D in motion on massive scale


[27:48] The fundamentals of the new carbon economy

  • Worldwide economy, removes carbon on net
  • New Carbon Economy Consortium as catalyst
  • Enjoy increasing prosperity, economic growth AND clean up carbon
  • Transform CO2 into asset for valuable products and services


[30:07] The challenge for a marketplace like Nori

  • Validation necessary for market to function
  • Consortium identifies research questions with direct market implications


[35:37] What success looks like for Carbon Recycling Labs

  • Startups supported by investors, corporations and philanthropists
  • Foundational businesses using CO2 in cements, fuels and plastics
  • Make money and have positive impact on climate


[37:42] The thought process behind the Center’s name

  • Leaves open-ended, includes methane and other carbon-based models
  • Carbon not bad in and of itself, just in wrong place
  • Can have prosperous economy AND environment that’s safe
Mar 27, 2018
16: Dr. Julio Friedmann, CEO of Carbon Wrangler

“People are saying, ‘Oh, we can’t even talk about carbon removal. It might reduce our need for mitigation.’ Hey, math is math. If you can do arithmetic you can figure this out, and if you KNOW that we need to do carbon removal to get to a stable, just transition, to get to an ecosystem-sustained world—it’s the math. Put some money into it. Start the work. Don’t talk to me whether it’s a moral hazard or not, get on with it. We’ve got things to do.”

Dr. Julio Friedmann is the CEO of Carbon Wrangler and a Distinguished Fellow of the Energy Futures Initiative. He also served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Fossil Energy at the US Department of Energy, where his portfolio included research and programs in clean coal and carbon management, oil and gas systems, and international engagements in clean fossil energy. In his earlier role as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Clean Coal and Carbon Management, Dr. Friedmann focused on clean coal and carbon capture, utilization and storage.

Dr. Friedmann joins Ross and Christophe to define his role as a carbon wrangler and why it’s important, walking us through the current climate math and sharing his insight on reframing carbon in the atmosphere as a resource to be mined. They discuss the best approach to inspiring progress around climate change, the fundamentals of carbon capture and storage, and the differences among offsets, onsets and insets. Listen in to understand the benefits of modular technology and learn Dr. Friedmann’s take on the new carbon economy.


Dr. Friedmann on Twitter

Dr. Friedmann on Medium

“Offsets, Onsets, and Insets: More is More” by Dr. Julio Friedmann


Reykjavík Energy CarbFix Project

“Carbon is Not the Enemy” by William McDonough

Opus 12

“Capture of Carbon Dioxide from Ambient Air” by K.S. Lackner

Key Takeaways

[3:53] The definition of a ‘carbon wrangler’

  • Keeping CO2 out of atmosphere, pulling back
  • Important because on 2.7-3.5° trajectory
  • Must drop emissions by 15 gigatons in 12 years to stabilize

[5:36] The current climate math

  • People emit 53 gigatons per year
  • 75% energy sector, fossil fuels
  • 25% land use
  • Continue with mitigation AND carbon removal

[8:07] The growing acceptance of adaptation and carbon removal

  • Clear that mitigation alone not enough
  • Invest in all strategies to deal with climate change

[9:45] Dr. Friedmann’s insight on the way forward

  • Go farther on solar, wind, efficiency, nuclear, capture and storage
  • Clean up carbon in atmosphere, reframe as resource to be mined

[12:21] How to inspire progress around climate change

  • Explain why there’s hope, what can be done
  • Provide other countries with technology

[15:52] The differences among offsets, onsets and insets

  • Offsets = mechanism set up by UN, trade and validate
  • Onsets = go on surface of the Earth (e.g.: reforestation)
  • Insets = into product or underground
  • Onsets and insets easier to measure

[22:19] The basics of CCS (carbon capture and storage)

  • Terminology developed by McDonough
  • Eliminate ‘fugitive emissions’ (i.e.: energy efficiency, conservation)
  • Create circular economy in atmosphere (e.g.: fuel)
  • Strict carbon removal to keep out of air, oceans

[26:11] Recent examples of advances in technology

  • Concrete delivers gigatons of abatement
  • Possibilities around carbon fiber
  • Solar panels that do work of 8K trees
  • Scale up as devices cheaper, tech improves

[31:22] The benefits of modular technology

  • Faster rate of innovation
  • Less expensive to test ideas

[34:32] The new carbon economy

  • Combination of carbon removal, carbon to value
  • Includes increased farm yields, monetizing afforestation
  • Companies that do waste management
Mar 20, 2018
15: Sean Hernandez, Energy Economist

Economics isn’t all about money. It’s about human action, decisions and choices. In fact, economists and environmentalists could be natural allies in solving climate change. Unfortunately, a good number of environmentalists take a hardline stance on geoengineering, arguing that any further human manipulation of the environment is a bad idea. But with CO2 levels reaching more than 400 PPM, mitigation alone will not solve our problem. So how would an economist approach climate change?

Sean Hernandez is a professional economist, data scientist, and environmental policy expert with a Master’s degree in economics from USC. In his current role at an energy utility, Sean specializes in energy marketing, trading and financial analysis. Today, he joins Ross and Christophe to define what is meant by the phrase ‘moral hazard’ and explain the argument against a technofix for global warming. They discuss the problem with lumping all forms of geoengineering together, pointing out that some techniques are widely accepted while others are much more controversial. 

Sean employs his national champion debate skills to explore the mitigation camp’s moral hazard argument against geoengineering and offer insight around cap and trade as well as carbon market policy in California. Christophe, Ross, and Sean cover the accelerating effect of climate change, the risks around solar radiation management, and the fuel switching issue. Listen in for Sean’s take on a portfolio-based approach to climate change that continues civilization while employing a combination of advanced techniques—including geoengineering.




Is Geoengineering an Immorality of Last Resort? by Sean J. Hernandez

“Geoengineering, Climate Change Scepticism and the ‘Moral Hazard’ Argument” in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society

“Arctic Temperatures Soar 45 Degrees Above Normal” in the Washington Post

“Dutch Move to Ban Sale of Combustion Engines from 2025” in The Irish Times

The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich

Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared M. Diamond 


Key Takeaways

[2:21] The definition of ‘moral hazard’

  • Attempt to reduce risk leads to incur more risk (i.e.: drive faster with seatbelt)

[4:04] The moral hazard argument against a technofix for global warming

  • Would disincentivize doing right thing (reducing emissions)
  • Addiction, rent-seeking

[9:14] The problem with lumping all forms of geoengineering together

  • Planting trees, any form of agriculture qualifies

[11:50] The counter to the mitigation camp’s disincentivization argument

  • CO2 levels already too high to be safe (>400 PPM)
  • Mitigation won’t remove CO2 from atmosphere

[14:14] The problem with the moral hazard argument in carbon removal

  • Mitigation = prevent emissions
  • CO2 removal and mitigation both result fewer molecules in atmosphere

[16:34] Why a portfolio-based approach to climate change is necessary

  • All emissions to zero tomorrow, would still take 1,000 years for climate to stop changing
  • Can’t rely on ‘spiritual change,’ need effective ways to motivate

[19:33] The accelerating effect of climate change

  • ‘Global warming leads to more global warming’

[20:37] The challenge around cap and trade

  • Demand can’t grow as large as supply

[23:06] Sean’s insight on carbon market policy

  • Bound marketplace (both floor and ceiling on price)
  • Carbon permits free to certain companies

[25:07] The failings of the California cap and trade market

  • Renewable portfolio standard leads to reduced demand for cap and trade permits
  • Reduced demand results in reduced price of cap and trade permits

[26:18] The flaw in the Netherlands’ plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engines

  • Shifts emissions from pipe to smokestack (fuel switching issue)

[32:02] The risks of solar radiation management (SRM)

  • Nori doesn’t condone SRM, focus on carbon removal
  • Space-based would be safest (shades in orbit)

[36:51] Sean’s take on natural gas and fracking

  • 1% increase in renewables leads to >1% natural gas burning
  • Fracking has environmental problems of its own

[40:14] Sean’s approach to solving climate change

  • Establish global carbon tax, establish price of carbon
  • Geoengineering budget (CDR, SRM and blockchain)
  • Way forward is to continue civilization, advanced techniques
Mar 13, 2018
14: Mark Herrema, CEO of Newlight Technologies

‘If you are a hard-core environmentalist, be a hard-core industrialist. Figure out technology that can outcompete the things that are making the environment bad, and then you can move at scale.’

Mark Herrema is the Co-Founder and CEO of Newlight Technologies, an advanced biotechnology company using carbon capture to produce high-performance polymers that replace oil-based materials. Newlight was founded on the idea that carbon could be used as a resource, and today it operates the world’s first commercial-scale greenhouse gas-to-AirCarbon manufacturing facilities, producing bioplastics used in furniture, electronics, packaging and a range of other products. Newlight has been named Innovation of the Year by Popular Science, 2015 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum, and 2014 Company of the Year by CleanTech OC.

Today, Mark joins Ross and Christophe to share the inspiration behind Newlight Technologies and how it rose to the challenge of competing with traditional plastics in terms of price and performance. Mark discusses Newlight’s role in transforming the plastics industry and his long-term vision of a licensing model that inspires growth in the areas of bioplastic products and production. They discuss how emerging carbon capture techniques could benefit Newlight and how Nori might change the terms of the climate change debate by monetizing carbon removal. Listen in for Mark’s insight on altruism, incentives and how businesses like Newlight should think about subsidies.


Key Takeaways


[0:58] Mark’s inspiration for Newlight Technologies

  • Reading about calculation of methane emissions made climate change real
  • Good for environment, economy to use carbon as resource


[4:23] Mark’s take on altruism vs. incentives

  • Must harness market forces to move at necessary speed, scale


[5:31] Newlight Technologies’ founding challenge

  • Develop materials that compete on price, performance


[6:59] Newlight’s role in transforming the plastics industry

  • Replace plastics with bioplastics (biodegradable, don’t require fossil fuels)
  • Reach point where oil/gas chooses to build air carbon plant for profitability


[11:24] Newlight’s sources of methane and CO2

  • Farm digesters, landfills and flares
  • Power, ethanol plants


[15:54] Newlight’s cradle-to-grave carbon accounting

  • Ran two third-party LCAs to verify reduction of carbon footprint
  • Must use renewable power to make CO2 capture carbon neutral


[19:40] The benefits of polymers used by Newlight

  • Repeating unit structure produced in all living things
  • Natural molecule biocompatible with human body (healthier)


[22:11] Mark’s big vision for Newlight Technologies

  • Licensing model to replace plastics with bioplastics
  • Build reference plants to demonstrate possibilities
  • Inspire imagination with products like cell phone cases


[25:01] How carbon capture techniques would benefit Newlight

  • Run process from anywhere on globe
  • Scale up in short time frame


[32:09] Nori’s role in creating a carbon offset market

  • Simplify process, open-source on blockchain
  • Carbon removal credits create universal price
  • Monetization changes terms of debate


[37:12] Nori’s challenge around verification of carbon removal

  • Each method requires unique approach to measurement


[38:00] How Nori differs from existing carbon registries

  • Reduce barrier to entry (no fees to create methodologies)
  • Don’t have to prove additionality


[40:16] Mark’s insight on 45Q

  • Tax credits for utilizing carbon (from power plant, atmosphere)
  • Incentives overdo, but business must survive without it



Newlight Technologies


45Q Tax Credit


Mar 06, 2018