Listen to a podcast, please open Podcast Republic app. Available on Google Play Store.
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.
[1:30] The fundamentals of ecomodernism
[5:03] The ecomodernist idea of decoupling
[8:59] Ted’s response to the degrowthers
[13:46] The ecomodernist take on industrial agriculture
[18:58] Ted’s insight on apocalyptic environmentalism
[25:18] The policies with the most climate benefits
[28:29] How to move the needle without threatening apocalypse
[32:53] Why nuclear energy has failed to gain traction
[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
[48:51] How the Right might respond to apocalyptic climate action
[51:45] Ted’s vision of a population that adapts well to 4° warming
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.
[1:00] How Nevada City shaped Nathanael
[6:38] The little experiences that shook Nathanael’s beliefs
[11:49] The impact of nuclear energy on climate change
[15:24] The forces causing the collapse of nuclear energy
[21:09] Why people are generally resistant to nuclear
[26:09] The difficulty of defining what qualifies as a GMO
[30:07] Nathanael’s take on the precautionary principle
[33:04] How Nathanael thinks about GMOs as a consumer
[38:32] Nathanael’s questions around carbon sequestration
[41:52] How Nori navigates the internal tension of startups
[49:50] Nathanael’s best critics
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[1:24] What inspired Richael’s interest in environmental conservation
[2:42] The idea behind Mammoth Water
[3:58] The connection between ground water and climate change
[6:24] How water markets work
[8:30] Why governance is crucial to the success of water markets
[12:22] The challenges farmers face in trading water rights
[16:05] How Mammoth Water supports farmers
[17:43] The factors that impact the value of water
[20:20] Why water markets are useful
[24:12] How Mammoth’s TAPP H2O product tracks water use
[32:58] What you need to know about the Ogallala Aquifer
[35:18] Richael’s approach to managing water rights
Connect with Alexsandra & Christophe
|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.
|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!
[1:36] Mike’s path to reversing climate change
[3:39] John’s path to reversing climate change
[9:29] What Mike & John do at RenewWest
[12:11] The RenewWest three-phase process
[16:12] Why reforestation projects are disfavored in carbon markets
[25:10] Venture capital vs. TIMO funding
[29:18] The top three challenges forests face
[36:40] The obstacles reforestation is up against
[47:44] The concept of assisted migration risk
[50:57] What John & Mike would like to fix about carbon markets
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.
[1:18] Hannah’s path to reversing climate change
[4:57] Nelson’s path to reversing climate change
[6:50] What conservation practices farmers are using
[8:30] Hannah’s approach to communicating with farmers
[12:25] The concept of farmer-to-farmer learning
[13:52] How to get farmers to adopt conservation practices long term
[18:06] The ex-ante issue around paying farmers for conservation
[22:19] The Nature Conservancy’s role in working with stakeholders
[25:43] Hannah’s vision for the future of agriculture
[27:47] Hannah’s argument against absolutes
[32:42] How The Nature Conservancy wins over skeptical farmers
[35:41] What people don’t know about farmers
Connect with Ryan & Christophe
|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.
|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 350.org, 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 350.org 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.
[0:59] Bill’s role in the climate movement
[4:59] Why Bill chose the number 350
[9:50] Bill’s insight around getting back to 350 ppm
[14:28] The role oil and gas companies might play in the solution
[18:15] The connection between big banks and oil and gas
[20:23] The global economy’s dependence on fossil fuels
[23:04] Bill’s take on the top two inventions of the 20th century
[28:35] The history of victory in social movements
[30:59] How Bill thinks about communication strategies
[33:24] Bill’s view of the opposition to the climate movement
Connect with Ryan & Christophe
|Oct 08, 2019|
BootsnAll & AirTreks is the first Nori Lightning Sale buyer (lightning bonus episode #3)
|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: https://nori.com/remove-carbon.
|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: https://nori.com/remove-carbon.
|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!
[1:08] How Chris became a water entrepreneur
[5:23] Chris’ insights from working on the Water Innovation Project
[6:53] The controversial nature of water rights
[11:26] The idea behind AQUAOSO
[13:29] How AQUAOSO is driving better efficiency in the water management space
[15:41] The complexities of watershed planning
[17:45] What water efficiency looks like
[19:18] The links among water, climate and carbon
[21:32] Chris’ insight around the benefit of wetlands
[24:34] How AQUAOSO is designing water markets based on equity
[26:21] How geographic information systems (GSI) tech works in water management
[29:16] Chris’ experience as an entrepreneur in the water sector
[30:56] How entrepreneurs should approach utilities
[33:58] How AQUAOSO is disrupting the water industry
[35:30] Chris’ ultimate goal to transform the way we value water as a society
[37:30] What’s next for AQUAOSO
Connect with Alexsandra & Christophe
|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!
[2:18] Tony’s path to Reversing Climate Change
[5:35] Jeff’s path to Reversing Climate Change
[8:44] The inspiration behind Mobius
[13:51] Why we have a ‘waste problem’
[15:56] The components of the circular carbon economy
[18:38] The concept of ‘lost carbon’
[22:22] The first lignin-based technologies created at Mobius
[26:09] How Mobius differs from the current petrochemical industry
[29:57] The chemistry of brewing beer
[38:54] The barriers to adoption Mobius faces
[45:02] What it means for something to be biodegradable
[49:18] What’s next for Mobius
Connect with Alexsandra & Christophe
|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.
[1:04] Sarah’s path to reversing climate change
[3:53] The Geospiza origin story
[6:28] What inspired Geospiza’s pivot
[10:47] The argument against the repackaging of free data
[14:00] Why Geospiza focuses on multinational corporations
[15:14] Why it doesn’t matter if climate change caused a specific event
[18:09] A case study of how clients use Geospiza to change behavior
[20:46] The development of risky areas
[27:30] Sarah’s insight around flood insurance
[28:38] How hail coverage is likely to change in the near future
[32:23] How climate risk is changing the insurance industry
[36:46] How climate change will impact contract law
[38:28] Why we don’t take action around disaster resilience
[41:39] Our need for a moral mission to combat climate change
[44:02] Who is likely to bear the brunt of climate change
[45:52] Why Sarah advocates for the term ‘human disasters’
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.
[1:19] Phil’s path to reversing climate change
[3:57] What inspired Phil to study soil science
[5:50] The origin of Mad Agriculture
[7:15] The greatest challenges facing Mad Agriculture
[11:43] What Mad Agriculture does
[18:13] How farmers can break away from commodities markets
[21:29] How Mad Agriculture approaches growers
[25:27] Why the transition to regenerative ag is slow
[28:23] How Phil thinks about catalyzing change
[31:44] Mad Agriculture’s theory of change
[33:25] Phil’s insight around the grain revival
[37:42] The new agrarian culture
[39:39] What’s next for Mad Agriculture
Connect with Christophe & Alexsandra
|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.
[0:26] What sparked Eric’s interest in climate change
[3:42] Eric’s path to Reversing Climate Change
[8:13] Why Eric chose to work in Denver vs. overseas
[10:52] Re:Vision’s work in southwest Denver
[15:38] How the community has changed through Re:Vision
[19:39] The downside of our cultural focus on achievement
[23:48] The framework of a place-based economy
[25:29] How Eric found the early adopters to start Re:Vision
[28:35] The role of the promotoras within Re:Vision
[29:45] How a place-based economy keeps money in the community
[32:45] How the Re:Vision coop deals with seasonality
[34:21] How the coop concept has expanded beyond food
[36:19] The idea behind Eric’s new venture, THRIVE
[37:06] How Eric’s work connects to climate change
[41:56] Eric’s challenge for Reversing Climate Change listeners
Connect with Christophe & Alexsandra
|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.
[2:05] The microTERRA origin story
[4:56] How Mariana got involved with microTERRA
[7:32] How Paula got involved with microTERRA
[9:24] The fundamental ideas behind microTERRA
[12:34] How the microTERRA bioreactors work
[13:59] The microTERRA business model
[15:25] The microTERRA pilot adventure
[18:07] What the microTERRA team learned from the pilot
[23:32] How microTERRA plans to scale their solution
[30:10] What’s next for microTERRA
[33:41] What it’s like to be an entrepreneur in Mexico
[37:42] The pros and cons of sustainability policy
[41:34] The difference between the lab and the pilot
Connect with Christophe & Alexsandra
|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!
[1:13] Woody’s path to reversing climate change
[6:46] How Woody developed the idea of Slow Money
[13:17] Why few foundations align their investments + mission
[16:34] Why divestment campaigns don’t totally work
[21:58] How Woody defines shared risk
[24:01] Woody’s insight around blended value
[25:27] Woody’s take on the non-financial aspects of shared risk
[30:06] What keeps Americans from realizing Berry’s vision
[36:18] The difference between agriculture and agrobusiness
[41:52] Slow Money’s SOIL 0% Loan Program in Boulder
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.’
[1:46] How to think about the scale of geology and deep time
[6:25] The Ordovician mass extinction (445M years ago)
[11:18] The Late Devonian mass extinction (375M years ago)
[14:43] The End-Permian mass extinction (252M years ago)
[19:50] How the Earth recovered after the End-Permian
[20:49] The ‘Permian Jr.’ mass extinction (200M years ago)
[22:27] The instantaneous nature of the asteroid extinction
[27:00] The current threat to the coral reefs
[31:30] Peter’s definition of fossil fuels
[32:40] What role mass extinctions play in generating fossil fuels
[34:36] What characterizes the current potential extinction
[41:38] Why it doesn’t matter if humans cause the rise in CO2
[45:20] What we can learn about changing the atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gasses from previous mass extinctions
[47:08] Why Peter has cause to be optimistic
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[1:09] Bob’s path to Reversing Climate Change
[2:59] Bob’s 3-step metamorphosis on climate change
[9:12] How Bob defines conviction
[11:34] How Bob defines conservatism
[19:51] What the climate movement’s messaging gets wrong
[28:57] The link between climate action and Christianity
[34:27] How current conservative politics don’t reflect Christianity
[40:53] Bob’s take on voluntary carbon offsets
[49:09] Bob’s insight on cap and trade vs. carbon tax
[53:46] How conservatives and progressives can collaborate
[1:01:38] How the Green New Deal inspired conservative action
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[1:43] How the Blacksheep team defines permaculture
[6:07] The Blacksheep origin story
[12:01] Joshua’s insight around dams
[13:54] How the Blacksheep cooperative has grown
[15:34] Why cooperatives aren’t more common
[18:07] How the Blacksheep team makes decisions
[20:53] Why the Blacksheep team is fundraising now
[25:20] Blacksheep’s value-add approach to market access
[28:32] How the Blacksheep team thinks about labeling
[30:06] Josh’s insight around accessibility to quality food
[32:25] The term Banana Republic
[34:08] The idea that nothing exists in a vacuum
[39:07] The Blacksheep elevator pitch to investors
[42:01] Blacksheep’s approach to community governance
[45:21] Blacksheep’s direct + indirect impact
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[0:54] Wendy’s path to reversing climate change
[2:13] What attracted Wendy to the giant reed
[4:30] Why giant reed does not displace food crops
[5:52] The benefits of producing giant reed
[7:45] How Hexas Biomass serves as a producer and distributor of giant reed
[9:05] Wendy’s insight on the trees displaced by giant reed
[11:08] A comparison of giant reed vs. tree yields
[12:27] The perennial nature of giant reed
[13:47] The potential uses for giant reed
[18:11] The trend in manufacturing around finding nearby fuel sources
[20:38] The Hexas Biomass ecospecies bank
[22:44] How Hexas mitigates the risk of giant reed becoming an invasive species
[27:03] How giant reed crops facilitate carbon capture
[32:02] The Hexas Biomass business model
[34:26] Wendy’s insight on the risks around bioremediation
[38:05] What’s next for Hexas Biomass
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.
[2:22] Thaddeus’ path to reversing climate change
[10:25] The problem with a moralist approach to political problems
[13:23] An overview of the Progressive Era (1880’s to 1920’s)
[22:04] The historical efforts to annihilate black and gay culture in the US
[26:26] Thaddeus’ take on how rulers think
[35:06] The progressive concept of social engineering
[44:25] The central role of guilt in the environmental movement
[48:02] The argument for centralized control to solve climate change
[51:52] Thaddeus’ view of climate change as a ‘phantom menace’
[58:00] The idea that oil & gas and big ag will solve climate change
[1:05:25] Why sustainability and open borders cannot coexist
[1:12:25] Changing systems vs. the character of people
[1:17:44] How the military and big ag contribute to emissions
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[2:07] Emma’s path to reversing climate change
[5:29] The mission of Granular
[7:35] Emma’s insight on the top trends in big ag
[9:08] Emma’s role with Granular
[12:05] The lack of incentive structure around sustainability
[15:25] The consumer challenge around food labeling
[19:14] Innovations in data collection on farms
[24:25] What’s driving change in big ag
[29:53] The debate around small vs. large farms
[34:05] How farmers think about climate change
[38:57] How to approach farmers about the Nori pilot
[42:34] The partnership between Granular and Nori
[47:34] The current status of the Nori pilot program
[52:28] How the Nori pilot is likely to evolve
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[1:16] Lindsey’s path to reversing climate change
[4:29] The three primary problems in solid waste
[7:12] Why it’s difficult to value trash as a commodity
[11:47] The possibilities around requiring consumers to sort
[14:49] The downside of recycling
[20:00] What we should be doing more of in the realm of trash
[29:14] What we should start doing in the realm of trash
[35:27] What we should stop doing in the realm of trash
[44:07] Lindsey’s insight on the top goals for waste management
[45:33] The idea of throwing trash ‘away’
[49:26] Lindsey’s advice for RCC listeners
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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.
[0:48] Zoya’s path to reversing climate change
[2:16] Why climate change is in the cultural zeitgeist for the first time
[8:20] Joe Biden’s shifting approach to climate change
[12:39] Why an all-of-the-above approach is controversial
[14:07] The growing call for a climate debate
[24:33] Elizabeth Warren’s approach to climate change
[29:29] Bernie Sanders and Beto O’Rourke’s climate plans
[32:52] Pete Buttigieg's approach to climate change
[34:09] Michael Bennet’s climate plan
[40:28] Zoya’s insight on the feasibility of a carbon tax
[44:44] Bill Weld’s position on climate change
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[2:47] Albert’s path to reversing climate change
[9:05] The pore structure of charcoal in Amazonian soil
[14:39] Why biochar remains in soil for thousands of years
[18:30] Examples of potential sources of biochar in waste
[20:36] Problematic waste streams that could source biochar
[22:42] The idea that not all biochar is created equal
[25:40] How scaling the Ecovillage Model might influence biochar production
[28:05] The roadblocks to harnessing waste streams for biochar
[36:05] How Stockholm serves as a proof of concept for cities
[39:02] How listeners can learn more about biochar
[43:27] Albert’s insight on the unique uses of biochar
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
[1:55] Apoorv’s path to reversing climate change
[4:05] The idea behind Carbon Upcycling Technology
[7:52] How Apoorv applies the concept of upcycling
[10:52] Carbon Upcycling’s industrial tech business model
[12:34] The CUT pilot project with the Carbon Conversion Center
[16:05] How policymakers can enable entrepreneurs
[19:20] Carbon Upcycling’s role in the climate tech space
[26:45] The Carbon Upcycling manhole solution
[30:17] Other products Carbon Upcycling is considering
[34:43] Apoorv’s insight on life cycle carbon accounting
[41:52] The necessity of shifting assumptions with context
Connect with Ross, Alexsandra, & Christophe
|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!
[0:38] Grant’s path to reversing climate change
[4:41] Matthew’s path to reversing climate change
[6:33] The DroneSeed value proposition
[8:45] How reforestation is done at present
[10:56] What’s causing the recent surge in forest fires
[17:38] The benefit of using drones to reforest burnt land
[18:47] How DroneSeed promotes seed variety
[21:18] The advantage of planting seeds vs. seedlings
[27:22] The DroneSeed team’s precision system
[34:35] How DroneSeed is working with the FAA
[40:36] The argument for using reforestation to sequester carbon
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:45] Chris’ path to reversing climate change
[6:26] Jacob’s path to reversing climate change
[10:57] The top themes at the Living Future Conference
[14:19] The concept of decolonizing buildings
[18:26] The value in both reductionist AND systems thinking
[24:41] The possibilities around carbon beneficial multifamily buildings
[32:24] Other innovative carbon beneficial building materials
[40:59] How to identify ag waste for building materials
[45:38] The end-of-life considerations re: carbon stored in buildings
[48:36] Why it’s easy to measure carbon storage in buildings
[50:44] How listeners can promote drawdown building
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:25] Rhiana’s path to reversing climate change
[10:03] A high-level overview of the Green New Deal
[11:57] The definition of economic mobilization
[12:52] Why the timing is right for the Green New Deal
[16:23] What has surprised Rhiana about the response to the Green New Deal
[19:45] Rhiana’s insight around state action on climate change
[22:16] The aspects of the Green New Deal with bipartisan potential
[25:51] The criticisms of the Green New Deal Rhiana finds useful
[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
[38:17] What the Green New Deal can do on a global scale
|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.
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:13] Benji’s path to reversing climate change
[3:23] The need for rural voices in environmental policy decisions
[5:24] Benji’s definition of what environmentalism SHOULD be
[7:34] The principles of conservatism
[11:26] Contemporary conservative voices worth listening to
[18:38] How to get conservatives involved in the climate conversation
[22:21] The free market approach to reversing climate change
[26:28] Benji’s insight on convincing conservatives re: climate change
[31:18] The failure of Washington state’s revenue-neutral carbon tax
[34:30] How to find common ground between liberals and conservatives
[38:16] Why it’s crucial to understand the opposition’s argument
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:31] George’s path to reversing climate change
[3:40] The definition of genome sequencing
[4:59] Nikita’s path to reversing climate change
[5:43] The vision for Pleistocene Park
[8:35] Why grassland is valuable to the Arctic
[14:29] Why Pleistocene Park needs megafauna
[16:50] George’s work to edit the elephant genome
[19:40] The ethical questions associated with genome editing
[21:30] The groundbreaking nature of George’s work
[22:27] George’s take on what could go wrong
[24:35] The opportunities around genome editing with other animals
[26:50] Nikita’s plans to scale Pleistocene Park
[29:25] The Russian government’s position on climate change
[31:38] The potential for unforeseen consequences at Pleistocene Park
[37:47] What’s next for George
[38:53] What’s next for Nikita
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:39] Joel’s path to reversing climate change
[2:44] Joel’s farming practices
[6:06] How humans have pillaged the land
[8:09] The idea of active management
[9:49] Joel’s criticism of the environmentalist approach
[18:28] Why Joel is an advocate for food emancipation
[21:42] Joel’s criticism of the Christian faith community
[28:20] Joel’s criticism of libertarians
[31:02] The danger in measuring GDP alone
[33:52] Why Joel wants to eliminate crop insurance and subsidies
[39:46] How to take responsibility for your consumer choices
[45:33] The innovation around Joel’s eggmobile
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[2:03] How Montreal is a leader in the climate solutions space
[5:02] Becky’s path to reversing climate change
[6:40] The fundamentals of a fibershed
[7:48] How fibersheds serve as climate solutions
[11:17] Becky’s approach to engaging farmers and shepherds
[12:48] How to get big brands involved in the fibershed movement
[16:39] How regional systems would impact uniformity
[22:08] What makes fibersheds incredible carbon sinks
[26:41] The parallels between technology and textiles
[30:04] What fibersheds can learn from other industries
[31:29] The negative aspects of fast fashion
[35:52] The fastest way to facilitate change in the fashion industry
[37:26] How did natural fiber lose in the marketplace
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[2:17] The intent of the Nori pilot program
[8:58] How Nori thinks about additionality
[11:38] Nori’s milestones in terms of its software product
[18:29] The benefits of a self-service portal for suppliers
[24:34] How the forward contract auction works in Nori
[35:58] The role of the peer review committee in the pilot
[39:21] Michael’s insight on the verification process
|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.
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:38] Andrea’s path to reversing climate change
[5:11] The legal flaw of laws passed to protect the environment
[8:20] Why Juliana v. US qualifies as a constitutional law case
[10:29] The argument that the government doesn’t have a duty to protect
[13:10] The argument that the government didn’t know it was contributing to climate change
[15:19] The progress of Juliana v. US to date
[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
[26:54] Why Our Children’s Trust seeks to hold executive agencies liable
[28:37] Andrea’s insight on the court’s ability to influence policy
[29:54] The role of the judicial branch in setting new precedents
[32:27] How Juliana v. US provides a framework for decarbonization
[36:29] The other issues that might use Juliana v. US as precedent
[41:18] The role of the Supreme Court
[44:18] The government’s argument regarding Juliana v. US
[46:00] The grounds on which Our Children’s Trust might lose their case
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:59] Stephen’s path to reversing climate change
[6:30] Mark’s path to reversing climate change
[9:36] How the ICF gasification process works
[11:29] How ICF recycles leftover tar back into the process
[15:58] How ICF’s renewable diesel results in negative emissions
[17:29] What differentiates Illinois Clean Fuels
[21:09] Why we aren’t using biodiesel jet fuel
[27:40] What we can expect from Illinois Clean Fuels
[31:26] What’s holding back biofuel adoption
[32:52] How some airlines and oil & gas companies are providing leadership
[35:29] What is shifting the mindset in traditional oil and gas
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:49] Tom’s path to reversing climate change
[1:50] The role of the CleanTech Alliance
[3:43] Why the Pacific Northwest is a cleantech hub
[5:46] How the Clean Energy Fund supports early-stage companies
[10:03] Tom’s insight on government ‘picking winners’
[12:56] The trajectory of cleantech as an industry
[14:50] Tom’s definition of cleantech
[20:00] Tom’s take on sharing ideas in the pre-competitive space
[22:16] The current trends in cleantech
[25:41] How large corporations benefit from reducing emissions
|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.
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:04] Judy’s path to reversing climate change
[5:13] How Judy translates data into music
[10:24] Judy’s motivation to share data through music
[13:27] Judy’s insight on the key changes in her piece
[16:29] How Judy’s work gives people hope and agency
[18:28] Judy’s take on meeting people where their values are
[20:59] How to initiate conversation outside your bubble
[25:00] The connection between social justice and climate change
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:37] Louise’s path to reversing climate change
[7:23] Louise’s focus on aerobic composting
[9:07] The difference between compost tea and compost extract
[10:27] Louise’s role in Australia’s climate and soil health policy
[12:57] How Australia’s climate policy has changed over time
[17:19] Why corporate leadership is motivated to participate
[18:36] How adversity drives change
[20:58] Australia’s carbon sequestration pilot project
[25:30] The role of Intuit Earth in Australia’s program
[27:00] How data is collected and verified in Australia’s system
[31:13] Louise’s mission for Intuit Earth
[32:05] How much compost is needed to restore the soil
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:55] Dan’s path to reversing climate change
[8:32] Why the organic label can be misleading
[14:47] The assumption that all food has the same nutritional value
[21:46] How Dan wants to affect change through consumer dollars
[29:49] Dan’s take on privilege and the availability of nutritious food
[33:28] The challenge of shifting the traditional mindset
[38:46] The open-source ethos of the Bionutrient Food Association
[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.
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:26] Fred’s path to reversing climate change
[4:07] Tim’s path to reversing climate change
[5:26] The literal and figurative definitions of perennialization
[7:53] Why people made the transition to annual crop production
[12:26] The theory of change for The Land Institute
[16:59] The Land Institute’s mission to create a commercially viable method of grain production
[21:21] The challenges around scaling up small proof-of-concept plots
[27:21] Monocrop vs. diverse landscapes
[30:26] How perennial crops fit into reversing climate change
[35:10] The difference between soil organic matter and soil organic carbon
[36:36] The relationship between annuals and the decline of rural America
[40:36] How to get involved and learn more about The Land Institute
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:39] Kate’s path to reversing climate change
[4:06] How to draw systems boundaries in a useful way
[7:17] How LCAs are applied in the stages of a building
[12:35] The rise of construction in the developing world
[17:53] The practical uses of LCAs
[20:47] What constitutes a good LCA
[25:48] The use case for the EC3 Calculator
[28:57] The trend toward green building in architecture/engineering
[32:40] The opportunities for storing carbon in the built environment
[34:04] Why wood is making a comeback
[36:58] Kate’s insight around forest management
[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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[2:12] Connor’s path to reversing climate change
[4:24] The current overview of solar energy
[7:32] The main drivers of cost in solar
[11:35] The life cycle of a solar panel
[14:30] Connor’s frustration with working at a utility
[15:49] The environmental impact of hydroelectric power
[19:58] The challenges around innovating in the energy space
[26:02] The pros and cons of regulating utilities
[28:09] The blockchain’s role in energy innovation
[31:23] Connor’s take on the future of energy
|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!
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[0:45] Trey’s path to reversing climate change
[8:33] The fundamental idea of cover crops
[13:49] The practical realities of farming green
[19:30] Trey’s take on farmland as canvas
[22:30] How to bring farmers and environmentalists together
[26:53] Trey’s experience with the Nori pilot program
[36:16] Why Trey supports a market-based approach
[44:32] The rise of technology in agriculture
[48:20] How Trey is taking planting green to the next level
[52:27] Why slugs have become Trey’s nemesis
|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.
Connect with Nori
[2:29] Ryan’s path to reversing climate change
[7:59] The principles of ecological economics
[9:44] Ryan’s take on financializing ecosystem services
[16:28] Basic market terminology
[21:52] The function of The Chicago Climate Exchange
[28:19] The successes and failures of CCX
[33:44] What Nori can learn from CCX
[38:46] The mission of the Delta Institute
[42:18] Ryan’s advice for impact investors
[47:41] Ryan’s hope for the Nori pilot
|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!
Connect with Nori
[0:44] Jimmy’s energy journey
[4:56] How the laws of thermodynamics apply to business
[7:12] Jimmy’s insight around energy transitions
[12:48] How to frame the value prop of sustainable energy
[14:35] Jimmy’s advice for consumers
[15:49] Why energy qualifies as a ‘wicked problem’
[22:00] The concept of the microgrid
[25:06] The idea of the smart grid
[27:55] What Nori can learn from the REC market
[32:00] How Nori fits into the energy balance framework
[36:44] Jimmy’s take on nuclear energy
[39:48] The rise of energy cooperatives
[41:46] The feasibility of the Dyson sphere
|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.
Connect with Nori
[1:25] Kyle’s path to reversing climate change
[4:24] The efforts to put a price on carbon in WA
[6:30] The competition of ideas around a carbon tax
[9:45] How carbon pricing differs from cap and trade
[10:38] The challenges of dealing with different stakeholders
[15:00] Why I-1631 failed while despite public support of climate action
[20:03] The potential for carbon regulations in Washington State
[23:28] How states might deal with carbon leakage
[25:24] Kyle’s take on a regional alliance to prevent carbon leakage
[27:48] How climate policy differs from gay marriage or marijuana
[29:16] How fast climate change might ‘solve itself’
[30:37] How CarbonWA handles the issue of accountability
[33:22] The benefit to a citizen’s dividend policy
[36:18] How Nori might fit into the broader policy framework
[37:47] How Nori is considering issues of justice/fairness
|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!
[0:51] Jaycen’s background in blockchain technology
[3:54] Jaycen’s skepticism around Bitcoin early on
[6:14] How Ethereum changed the landscape
[11:13] Jaycen’s insight on poor blockchain use cases
[15:07] The fundamentals of blockchain technology
[19:16] Why Nori chose the Ethereum blockchain
[20:45] Jaycen’s take on public vs. private blockchains
[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
[38:34] The function of Nori’s backend technology
[41:28] Why Nori is sharing its API
[43:04] The open-source ethos
[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.’
Connect with Nori
[1:15] Gillian’s path to entrepreneurship
[11:07] The qualities of a successful entrepreneur
[15:01] How the blockchain fits Nori’s business model
[17:34] How Nori’s approach to climate change is different
[21:52] Gillian’s take on the garbage collector metaphor
[24:37] The history of industrial pollution
[27:41] Gillian’s advice around approaching farmers
[37:32] The value in persuading a buyer’s board of directors
[42:08] Gillian’s advice for avoiding founder-itis
[45:32] Gillian’s favorite mistakes as an entrepreneur
|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!
Connect with Nori
[1:28] Charles’ path to regenerative agriculture
[6:16] The geology of Australia
[7:58] The indigenous mindset
[10:42] The profitability of regenerative practices
[14:36] The idea of economic rationalism
[19:56] The truth about industrial agriculture
[23:16] The myth around the necessity for industrial ag
[24:57] The cost to consumers for shifting to regenerative
[30:00] The idea of the innovator’s dilemma
[31:53] Charles’ insight on developing an emergent mind
[35:00] How self-interest is tied to sustaining the earth
[37:58] Who Charles is trying to reach
[43:12] How agriculture can take the lead in healing the earth
[45:08] Charles’ take on our spiritual connection to the earth
|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.
Connect with Ross & Christophe
[1:01] The role of the Washington Policy Center
[2:21] The link between economics and environmentalism
[4:45] Todd’s insight on where both parties fall short
[9:43] Todd’s take on the failure of 1631
[13:00] Todd’s free market approach to carbon reduction
[16:44] The role of technology in solving climate change
[20:42] The connection between poverty and deforestation
[26:43] Todd’s argument against Jevons paradox
[28:27] How some policy incentives encourage risky behavior
[31:53] Why politicians focus on image rather than results
[37:07] Who Todd looks to to challenge his ideas
[40:22] The evolution of Todd’s beliefs about climate change
[44:31] Todd’s experience as a beekeeper
|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.
Connect with Nori
[0:49] What makes Niskanen special
[3:39] Joseph’s background as a research scientist
[5:35] The ocean’s role in climate change
[9:24] The social cost of carbon
[13:20] How climate change impacts weather events
[15:43] The origin of the Niskanen Center
[20:34] Joseph’s insight on the politics on climate change
[24:40] How Joseph thinks about framing the climate challenge
[28:39] Joseph’s take on how to address climate change
[31:19] Joseph’s thoughts on how a carbon tax would work
[36:31] Joseph’s argument against a regulatory approach
[41:14] Joseph’s view of who should pay the carbon tax
[45:49] How the money from a federal carbon tax might be used
|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.
Connect with Nori
[0:47] Jimmy’s path to reversing climate change
[3:11] Where farmers fit into the climate issue
[4:37] The importance of AFT’s mission to protect farmland
[7:15] The barrier for new and beginning farmers
[9:41] AFT’s role as a protector of food-producing land
[15:22] How AFT works with farmers and policymakers
[17:56] Jimmy’s insight on the need for policy incentives
[20:00] How a carbon market could make a difference for farmers
[22:44] The disconnect between renters and landowners
[26:21] How to make progress across the continuum of ag practices
[29:08] Agriculture’s role in reversing climate change
[31:19] Jimmy’s view of the politics of climate change
[35:53] The policy changes necessary to promote conservation
|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.
Connect with Nori
[2:12] Propagate’s progress in the last year
[4:50] The concept of ecological succession
[7:09] Why Propagate is based in the Hudson Valley
[8:18] The Propagate Ventures business model
[12:17] The pros and cons of timbre vs. shrubs
[16:26] Propagate’s two main income streams
[20:56] The systems approach to cumulative value
[23:33] How to assure what you’re eating is healthy
[28:52] The concept of container farming
[30:24] The cost accounting of direct carbon capture
[31:31] The cultural component of organic farming
[34:27] Propagate’s key role in data management for Nori
[36:25] How Propagate filters into mainstream agriculture
[39:30] The spiritual aspect of Propagate’s work
[46:32] The cooperative future of business
|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.
Connect with Nori
[0:57] Risalat’s path to reversing climate change
[4:45] Why Bangladesh is vulnerable to climate change
[7:16] What drives displacement in Bangladesh
[8:42] Risalat’s most memorable experiences
[10:54] How protest facilitates change
[12:52] Risalat’s trip to the Arctic
[15:46] Risalat’s message to senior climate leaders
[18:15] The additional force necessary to create change
[21:40] Risalat’s caution against betting everything on carbon removal
[27:56] What needs to change in the realm of climate advocacy
[29:51] How to engage people right-of-center in climate activism
[35:27] Risalat’s take on what motivates people to engage
[39:07] Risalat’s insight on the power of people
|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.
Connect with Nori
[3:33] David’s path to reversing climate change
[7:13] The significance of the study of space
[10:08] The role of humans in running the planet
[15:00] David’s insight on the Anthropocene
[21:12] The idea of Great Filter events (Fermi paradox)
[28:52] David’s take on the longevity of civilizations
[34:53] The alignment of self-interest and global interests
[38:57] David’s view of the next 100 years
[42:48] The spiritual aspect of David’s work
|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
[1:35] Hunter’s path to reversing climate change
[4:28] Hunter’s work creating MBA programs in sustainability
[7:08] The fundamentals of the Bard program
[9:15] The impetus for Hunter’s book, A Finer Future
[15:28] How to solve climate change quickly at a profit
[30:53] Hunter’s take on the appeal to greed
[33:19] Nori’s aim to blend economics with meaning
[36:31] Hunter’s insight on the original neoliberals
[38:58] John Fullerton’s eight principles of regenerative capitalism
[45:02] Hunter’s call to action for listeners
|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.
Connect with Nori
[0:34] Paul’s journey as a social entrepreneur
[11:42] Paul’s insight on social impact and activist investors
[16:26] How GiveWith shifts the role of the nonprofit
[21:28] How current conditions facilitate Paul’s approach
[23:37] How Paul is applying innovation to societal issues
[30:06] Why Paul is encouraged by recent events
[32:08] Paul’s story-empathy-action model of marketing
[36:51] Paul’s wonder at the beauty of the planet
[40:12] Paul’s advice for aspiring social entrepreneurs
|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!
[2:59] Lorraine’s path to reversing climate change
[8:05] Lorraine’s current work in the climate space
[9:40] The themes of Lorraine’s forthcoming book
[13:01] The ‘silver lining’ approach to environmentalism
[16:33] Lorraine’s work as a consultant to companies
[21:53] Our role in the deforestation supply chain
[25:12] Lorraine’s insight around what we can do
[26:52] Lorraine’s advice on accelerating the rate of change
[33:59] How companies can go beyond emissions reduction
[38:19] The evolving language of environmentalism
[42:37] The dichotomy of being open-minded vs. permissive
|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!
[0:49] Anne’s interest in the soil
[5:00] Anne’s insight on dirt vs. soil
[7:47] The magic of the natural world
[12:03] The emergence of life in Anne’s backyard
[15:56] How Anne rehabilitated the soil in her garden
[22:37] Our recent understanding around soil
[24:00] Anne’s advice on starting your own garden
[30:13] How the garden impacts Anne’s consumption
[33:34] The concept of biodynamic agriculture
[37:31] The parallels between plant root systems and the human gut
|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.
[2:39] Jacob’s role at Nori
[4:13] The concept of human-centered design
[8:30] Jacob’s roots in Indiana
[13:46] Michael’s journey to Nori
[17:46] Michael's role at Nori
[20:57] The abstracting vs. teaching design schema
[24:28] The three pillars of quality product design
[27:11] The Nori Design Team three-layer cake metaphor
[31:28] What has surprised Jacob and Michael
[36:25] Nori’s so-called software approach
|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!
[1:34] Gaya’s interest in the climate space
[4:10] Gaya’s background in filmmaking
[5:31] Gaya’s shift to the technology space
[7:24] The fundamentals of the Dashboard Earth app
[10:54] Gaya’s insight around climate solutions
[16:00] Why Gaya maintains a particular focus on meaning
[18:41] How Dashboard Earth assigns value to climate action
[20:29] How Gaya was influenced by Bernard Lietaer
[23:46] The concept of demurrage
[25:03] The timeline of Dashboard Earth
[29:24] The link between Dashboard Earth and Nori
|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.
[1:23] Jon’s interest in blockchain technology
[4:15] The idea behind Starfish Mission
[6:34] Jon’s idea around flipping land
[10:21] Jon’s insight on silvopasture
[14:02] The impetus behind Blockchain for Ecology
[17:11] Jon’s vision around ecology and the blockchain
[18:10] The Starfish Mission approach to sharing knowledge
[20:52] How the token economy incentivizes behavior
[25:34] The necessity for diversity in the movement
[30:15] The potential around small-scale currency
|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.
[2:34] Peter’s interest in reversing climate change
[9:37] Peter’s favorite method of CO2 removal
[14:45] The benefit of sequestering carbon in the ocean
[21:15] The top techniques to restore the Arctic
[24:14] The cost of restoring the Arctic
[28:05] The moral imperative of reversing climate change
[32:29] Peter’s work with Congress
[36:06] How to overcome the partisan feeling around climate change
[39:37] Peter’s take on the need for a sustainable population
|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.
[1:27] Nori’s latest initiatives
[4:12] The fundamentals of token economics
[5:20] The need for alternative currencies
[8:34] How Nori could serve as the reference price for carbon
[11:39] Why Nori tokens are separate from CRCs
[15:47] How Nori tokens could drive innovation
[18:24] The challenge around creating a finite number of tokens
[21:32] The definition of a security
[25:31] The parameters of an investment contract (i.e.: the Howey Test)
[26:44] How Nori is working to comply with SEC rules
[33:14] The breakdown of Nori’s 500M tokens
[34:43] Why Nori needs the blockchain
|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.
[1:48] Ben’s path to holistic grazing
[4:13] The difference between organic and regenerative farming
[6:12] How meat production can be good for the environment
[8:56] How ungulates create grasslands
[10:39] The structural shift to holistic grazing
[14:50] The challenges Ben faces as an entrepreneur in this space
[20:42] The barriers to transitioning from feed lots to grasslands
[23:56] Ben’s take on feeding cows algae
[25:15] Ben’s insight around cows and methane production
[26:56] The idea of bringing back the aurochs
[28:48] The current focus of Ben’s work
|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.
[1:08] Greg’s interest in reversing climate change
[3:03] The idea behind I-732
[4:46] Why I-732 didn’t work
[5:48] The difference between I-732 and Initiative 1631
[7:45] What messaging resonates with each side of the aisle
[9:50] How Nori might appeal to right-leaning districts
[12:13] The concept of solution aversion
[15:52] Greg’s critique of Nori’s one ton to one token formula
[22:04] Greg’s take on our obligation to act on climate change
|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.
[3:30] The lessons Ramez learned from his failed startups
[6:17] Ramez’s environmental awakening
[8:41] The idea behind The Infinite Resource
[10:45] The greatest barriers to reversing climate change
[16:21] The pros and cons of shared knowledge
[21:36] Why there is no fundamental conflict between genetic modification and the organic movement
[24:54] Ramez’s favorite sustainable innovations
[29:15] Ramez’s take on Nori’s voluntary market
[34:45] Ramez’s insight on the human ability to adapt to climate change
|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.
[1:43] The impetus for Climate Foundation
[7:06] The concept of marine permaculture
[10:41] A business case for marine permaculture
[14:22] How to become a seaweed farmer
[19:16] The benefits of feeding cows algae
[23:09] Climate Foundation’s intention to be multi-trophic
[26:53] The potential income streams associated with marine permaculture
[34:48] Brian’s take on the scalability of marine permaculture
[39:18] Brian’s insight on blockchain applications
|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.
[4:43] What drew Roderick to the blockchain space
[8:19] The risk involved in exchanges with open wallets
[11:23] Why cryptocurrency is as good as fiat currency
[15:38] The concept of a 51% attack
[19:03] The advantages of building Nori on Ethereum
[22:39] How consumers can secure their digital assets
[26:55] The purpose of a hardware wallet
[34:46] The impetus for Rubica
[37:31] Roderick’s insight on tokenizing Rubica
|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.
[1:08] Joseph’s role in the State of Washington
[5:04] The Washington State technology ecosystem
[8:10] Washington’s relationship with the blockchain
[11:18] The Bitcoin mining operations in Eastern Washington
[16:53] The future of regulations around crypto in Washington
[25:16] Washington State’s Clean Energy Fund
[26:50] The PPNL VOLTTRON Project
[32:28] Nori’s challenges around crypto regulations
[40:26] The challenges Nori faces around verification
|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.
[3:48] The fundamentals of cap-and-trade
[8:23] Why cap-and-trade doesn’t work
[12:27] Aldyen’s take on the ‘success’ of RECLAIM
[17:12] Why carbon pricing set my cap-and-trade markets is inaccurate
[20:36] The Nori team’s experience with CarbonSim
[24:21] What we can learn from successful pollution reductions in history
[28:42] Why a carbon tax doesn’t work to reduce emissions
[31:00] Aldyen’s top insights for government officials
[32:53] Why carbon taxes don’t change behavior
[38:29] How carbon taxes have impacted Sweden, Denmark and Norway
[41:58] Aldyen’s view on British Columbia’s carbon tax
|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.
[2:15] Alex’s introduction to the blockchain
[7:26] The fundamentals of the blockchain
[11:33] Noteworthy use cases for the blockchain
[18:46] The current evolution of the blockchain
[22:16] Alex’s insight on self-sovereign identity technology
[28:06] The idea of a blockchain ecosystem to support applications
[30:14] How lifeID functions as blockchain infrastructure
[31:47] What lifeID is working on right now
[33:45] Alex’s advice for aspiring blockchain enthusiasts
[35:04] The concept of monetizing positive behavior
|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.
[1:46] The fundamentals of Nori methodologies
[2:43] How to become a part of the Nori marketplace
[4:02] The benefits of regenerative farming practices
[5:53] The job of a verifier in the Nori system
[8:00] How farmers get paid through Nori after verification
[9:45] The difference between a verifier and an auditor
[14:09] How the Nori marketplace provides assurance to buyers
[15:47] The theme of recent ag tech and soil health conferences
[18:57] Why Nori is building a community of collaboration
[22:46] The Nori product team’s lean methodology
|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.
[0:43] John’s environmental origin story
[5:09] John’s reputation as the ‘grit in the corporate oyster’
[6:39] The evolution of environmentalism
[12:41] John’s take on the word sustainability
[18:36] Why capitalism is crucial in dealing with climate change
[23:33] Nori’s role in challenging the system
[28:53] John’s insight on calling out bad behavior
[32:20] The significance of conversation with the financial sector
[36:16] John’s perspective on China
[39:00] John’s view of the next 15 to 20 years
|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!
[0:48] How Mark became a ‘reluctant futurist’
[6:11] Mark’s experience at an underwater cabinet meeting in the Maldives
[9:00] Climate change mitigation vs. adaptation
[12:10] The benefit for companies that invest in reversing climate change
[15:00] The cultural shift toward doing the right thing
[19:19] Mark’s insight on climate solutions that can scale rapidly
[25:41] Mark’s take on the failure of government
[30:00] Mark’s decision to calculate and offset his lifetime emissions
[34:20] How to sell voluntary measures to offset emissions
[40:28] The difference between hierarchies and network-based systems
[42:03] How the blockchain functions as a network-based system
[45:53] How Nori will verify carbon removal activity
[48:58] The opportunities in proper grazing and regenerative agriculture
|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.
[0:30] Gregory’s path to Regen Network
[5:36] How a financial instrument can be backed by ecological health
[14:00] The role of decentralization in establishing trust
[17:29] The definition of an Oracle in the blockchain context
[22:23] The aim of Regen Network
[28:27] What Regen Network is working on now
[30:04] Regen Network’s other partners beyond Nori
[34:20] What needs to be true to facilitate interoperability between blockchains
[37:07] The Regen Network governance model
[44:22] Why farmers should care about Regen Network
|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.
[0:40] Keith’s path to sustainable agriculture
[4:09] How to recover the carbon lost in converting lands for agriculture
[6:58] How COMET-Farm works
[9:47] Why soil organic carbon is a good proxy for soil health
[11:49] The factors that impact the chemical and physical properties of soil
[15:08] Keith’s take on the Earth’s capacity to store excess CO2in atmosphere
[16:41] The hurdles to widespread adoption of soil carbon sequestration
[20:40] The benefits of the current technology revolution in agriculture
[25:16] The definition of precision agriculture
[26:11] The most common myth around soil carbon
|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.
[3:38] The idea behind Reversapalooza
[6:27] Takeaways from the Carbon Markets Today session
[10:15] The value of the Nori Trading Game
[14:51] Paul’s Marketplace Demo
[16:15] The premise of the Blockchain & Nori 101 session
[19:42] The themes of the Open-Source Tech Presentations
[23:21] An overview of the Returning Carbon to the Ground session
[25:28] The aim of the Proving Carbon is Removed session
[29:01] Nori’s next steps
|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.
[1:58] What Klaus likes about the Nori whitepaper
[5:43] Klaus’ questions around Nori’s customers
[9:42] The verification challenge Nori faces
[13:18] Klaus’ concerns over the permanency issue
[15:55] The categories of methodologies
[19:01] Klaus’ reservations around retiring certificates
[24:22] The regulatory gray area of cryptocurrency
[26:45] Klaus’ concerns around market equilibrium
|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.
[0:52] Stacy’s environmental origin story
[3:13] Skanska’s efforts to reduce construction emissions
[6:28] The concept of embodied carbon
[11:22] Embodied vs. operational emissions
[13:49] Skanska’s approach to sustainable construction
[16:00] The challenges around life-cycle analysis
[19:24] Skanska’s innovation around wood buildings
[23:06] Other opportunities in sustainable construction
[25:41] The two categories of innovation at Skanska
[28:00] The idea behind a Living Building
[34:13] How Nori can help Skanska reach its goals
|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.
[2:10] How Joe came to be a Seavangelist
[10:39] How seasteading facilitates innovation
[14:15] The idea behind Blue Frontiers
[19:40] How seasteading benefits island, coastal nations
[20:48] Paul’s takeaways from his tour with Blue Frontiers
[28:21] The concept of pollution as resources we’re not using
[32:37] What’s next for Blue Frontiers
[38:47] The two ways to affect change
|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.
[3:22] The concept of blended finance
[6:16] The importance of monetizing ecosystem service production
[7:31] The Farmland LP Model
[11:55] David’s mission to accelerate the flow of capital to planetary regeneration
[14:00] The roadblocks around shifting capital to regenerative projects
[18:00] The idea of 1000 Landscapes
[21:26] How investors might facilitate paying farmers in USD for carbon sequestration
[24:29] David’s insight around regenerative agriculture regulations
[28:06] The difference between sustainability and regeneration
[30:58] Why David is optimistic about the future of regeneration
[34:06] How doing the right thing for the land increases profitability
[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 350.org, 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.
[3:00] Amanda’s WHY in working with Buckminster Fuller
[4:54] The fundamentals of biochar
[7:19] The aim of the Buckminster Fuller Institute
[10:28] Fuller’s concept of dymaxion
[13:42] The role Nori plays in Fuller’s vision
[18:47] How the blockchain fits with Fuller’s vision
[21:52] The idea of Burning Man
[27:06] How the education of women and girls impacts climate change
[30:34] Amanda’s advice around approaching problems with design thinking
[33:15] How winners of the Fuller Challenge are selected
[36:04] The significance of ‘Team Trillion Tons’
|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.
[2:12] The message of Drawdown
[5:40] The potential profitability of the Drawdown approach
[7:28] Chad’s take on three mechanisms necessary to achieve drawdown
[10:20] The refrigerate management solution
[17:03] Chad’s ‘king of the world’ solution for climate change
[19:27] Why reducing consumption is an important part of the solution
[24:40] Chad’s insight around rising meat consumption in China
[28:40] How to get involved with the Drawdown movement
|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.
[3:36] The Center for Carbon Removal elevator pitch
[4:04] The three parts of CCR’s work
[8:30] Giana’s take on the ‘bathtub analogy’ of carbon removal
[10:44] The barriers around carbon removal at the policy level
[12:12] Noah’s take on the positive action required now
[13:41] Giana’s insight around tax credits for carbon removal
[15:42] The Center’s definition of carbon removal
[18:09] Noah’s vision around mitigation and carbon removal
[19:25] Noah’s take on policy as ‘the art of the possible’
[20:49] The aim of the Center for Carbon Removal
[24:40] The sticky sectors that need to be offset with carbon removal solutions
[27:48] The fundamentals of the new carbon economy
[30:07] The challenge for a marketplace like Nori
[35:37] What success looks like for Carbon Recycling Labs
[37:42] The thought process behind the Center’s name
|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.
[3:53] The definition of a ‘carbon wrangler’
[5:36] The current climate math
[8:07] The growing acceptance of adaptation and carbon removal
[9:45] Dr. Friedmann’s insight on the way forward
[12:21] How to inspire progress around climate change
[15:52] The differences among offsets, onsets and insets
[22:19] The basics of CCS (carbon capture and storage)
[26:11] Recent examples of advances in technology
[31:22] The benefits of modular technology
[34:32] The new carbon economy
|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.
[2:21] The definition of ‘moral hazard’
[4:04] The moral hazard argument against a technofix for global warming
[9:14] The problem with lumping all forms of geoengineering together
[11:50] The counter to the mitigation camp’s disincentivization argument
[14:14] The problem with the moral hazard argument in carbon removal
[16:34] Why a portfolio-based approach to climate change is necessary
[19:33] The accelerating effect of climate change
[20:37] The challenge around cap and trade
[23:06] Sean’s insight on carbon market policy
[25:07] The failings of the California cap and trade market
[26:18] The flaw in the Netherlands’ plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engines
[32:02] The risks of solar radiation management (SRM)
[36:51] Sean’s take on natural gas and fracking
[40:14] Sean’s approach to solving climate change
|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.
[0:58] Mark’s inspiration for Newlight Technologies
[4:23] Mark’s take on altruism vs. incentives
[5:31] Newlight Technologies’ founding challenge
[6:59] Newlight’s role in transforming the plastics industry
[11:24] Newlight’s sources of methane and CO2
[15:54] Newlight’s cradle-to-grave carbon accounting
[19:40] The benefits of polymers used by Newlight
[22:11] Mark’s big vision for Newlight Technologies
[25:01] How carbon capture techniques would benefit Newlight
[32:09] Nori’s role in creating a carbon offset market
[37:12] Nori’s challenge around verification of carbon removal
[38:00] How Nori differs from existing carbon registries
[40:16] Mark’s insight on 45Q
|Mar 06, 2018|
13: The Norigin Story with Ross, Christophe, and Paul
In the beginning… Paul and Christophe realized that the blockchain provides an ideal platform for a carbon marketplace where people can get paid to remove CO2 from the atmosphere—and ultimately succeed in reversing climate change. It took more than six days, but they eventually put together a team, developed a business plan, and Nori was born.
The bottom line is that we need to remove 1.5 trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to get back to safe levels. The Nori team intends to make that happen by connecting people interested in paying for carbon offsets with people who are using any number of methods to remove carbon from the atmosphere. One Nori token purchases one ton of carbon removal credits (CRCs), and the company measures the removal of CO2 and records that information on the blockchain. Ultimately, Nori leverages the power of markets to pay individuals who are innovating in the area of carbon removal and treat the root cause of climate change—too much carbon in the atmosphere.
Today, Ross, Christophe and Paul are sharing the details of Nori’s role in reversing climate change, explaining the company’s principal aims, how Nori addresses the problems associated with current carbon removal markets, and how cryptocurrency figures into their plans. They walk us through Nori’s core values and their current progress in developing the platform. Listen in for the Norigin story and learn how the team is preparing to launch in 2018.
[0:50] Nori’s purpose
[1:17] Nori’s role in reversing climate change
[5:02] The cryptocurrency element of Nori’s plan
[6:49] The problems that Nori addresses
[9:09] Nori’s core values
[12:30] How Nori came about
[25:10] The important issues Nori is working on
[27:39] Nori’s current progress
|Feb 27, 2018|
12: Dr. David Montgomery, Geomorphologist at UW
Modern conventional agriculture is destroying our soil. At the rate we’re going, we will lose one-third of our agricultural production capacity in the next century, even as the population is expected to increase by at least 50%. Worse yet, our current system actually pays farmers to destroy the land through subsidies and crop insurance, perpetuating a model that keeps farmers reliant on oil and chemical inputs.
But there is a solution, and today’s guest has written two books about it. David Montgomery is a professor at the University of Washington and the author of Dirt: Erosion of Civilizations and Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life. David studied geology at Stanford University before earning his PhD in geomorphology at UC Berkeley. He was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2008.
Today David joins Ross and Christophe to explain why civilizations that degrade their soil don’t last. We discuss the troubling numbers around soil degradation and loss and the three simple farming practices that would restore our soil. David walks us through the residual benefits of regenerative farming and the factors that inhibit widespread adoption. Listen in for David’s insight into the challenges Nori might face in paying farmers to capture carbon in the soil and learn how quickly we might restore the soil pending the adoption of regenerative practices.
[2:08] The relationship between civilizations and soil
[4:45] The troubling statistics of soil degradation, loss
[6:38] How simple changes in farming practices could restore the soil
[13:42] How diverse crop rotation defeats pests without chemicals
[18:36] What is preventing widespread adoption of restorative practices
[23:12] How regenerative farming provides a better business model
[29:21] The role of subsidies and crop insurance in slowing adoption
[31:40] The challenge in Nori’s intent to pay farmers who remove carbon
[36:52] The residual environmental benefits of regenerative farming
[37:40] How regenerative farming translates to variability in soil, crops
[42:44] David’s insight on the future of our soil
|Feb 20, 2018|
11: Andrew Himes of Carbon Innovations
When we think of green buildings, we typically think of operational efficiency. But what if the building process itself was greener? What if we used local building materials that didn’t have to be transported? And what if we sequestered carbon from the atmosphere and used it in the building materials themselves?
Andrew Himes is a partner at Carbon Innovations, currently working with the University of Washington’s Carbon Smart Building Initiative. The project seeks to transform the built environment from an existential threat to a net carbon sink that absorbs more than a billion tons of CO2 each year by converting captured carbon into useful building products and creating market demand for carbon capture.
Andrew has a background in activism and technology, serving as the founding editor for MacTech and co-founding the Microsoft Developer Network before becoming a nonprofit startup specialist. Today he joins Ross and Christophe to share the vision of the Embodied Carbon Network, explaining the concept of embodied carbon emissions and the necessity of accelerating their reduction. We discuss the challenges around motivating people to adopt carbon removal practices and validating that carbon was, indeed, removed efficiently and permanently. Listen in to understand how the blockchain could facilitate the reduction of embodied carbon and learn how the Carbon Smart Building Initiative is leading the global effort to rethink how we interact with each other and the Earth.
[2:21] How Andrew’s background led to his work with Carbon Innovations
[8:36] The Carbon Smart Building Initiative
[11:15] Andrew’s vision for transforming the built environment
[16:32] The definition of embodied carbon
[19:28] Andrew’s take on what motivates people
[26:10] Andrew’s insight around the challenges of creating a carbon removal marketplace
[30:01] The monetization of carbon removal
[33:46] The challenges of the Embodied Carbon Network
[36:07] How the blockchain might help facilitate the reduction of embodied carbon
[42:53] Andrew’s aspiration for a hopeful future
|Feb 13, 2018|
10: Dr. Hadi Dowlatabadi, Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability at UBC
“The impacts of climate change are already cliff edges occurring in micro-locations all over the world.
The whole notion that it’s at some distant future which is unknown to us quite how far it is—that’s just rubbish. If you look at coastal communities that are getting inundated right now, communities that were built on permafrost that are no longer stable in their substructure, all of those things are happening right now.”
Professor Hadi Dowlatabadi doesn’t mince words when it comes to his opinion of policy-makers who throw money at research rather than taking the known necessary steps to combat the problem of climate change. He believes that consequential climate change is measured locally, not globally, and any change in climate or atmospheric conditions in any community is unacceptable.
Professor Dowlatabadi is a Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics of Global Change with the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia. His research is focused at the interface of nature, humans, technology and policy. Among his greatest accomplishments are leading the team that built the first successful models of climate change and policy at Carnegie Mellon and co-founding the nonprofit Offsetters Climate Neutral Society.
Professor Dowlatabadi joins Ross and Christophe to share his frustration with the lack of evidence-based policy employed by governments as well as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change temperature targets. He offers his insight on geoengineering, explaining why he is so confident in its inevitability. Professor Dowlatabadi speaks to the fossil fuel substitutions he finds most interesting and the issue of subsidizing the zero till practice. We debate the ‘unobtainable goals’ of Elon Musk and compare Nori with Professor Dowlatabadi’s 2005 Offsetters program. Listen in for Professor Dowlatabadi’s take on the cliff edge model, and learn why it is time to stop studying policy-level science and take action on climate change.
[3:14] Professor Dowlatabadi’s frustration with the US government
[3:46] Why IGPCC targets around temperature are ineffective
[9:50] The difference between applied science for policy and pure science
[10:47] Why Professor Dowlatabadi isn’t a fan of the cliff edge model
[15:33] Professor Dowlatabadi’s take on geoengineering
[22:31] What fossil fuel substitutes Professor Dowlatabadi finds most interesting
[27:32] Professor Dowlatabadi’s criticism of Elon Musk
[32:43] The best strategies around using money to solve climate change
[40:39] The difference in carbon counting industrial vs. natural systems
[42:46] The agricultural practice of zero till
|Feb 06, 2018|
9: Dr. Greg Dipple, University of British Columbia
When it comes to climate change, the mining industry is typically seen as a ‘bad guy,’ depleting the Earth’s natural resources and emitting CO2 in the process. So you might be astounded to learn that carbon can actually be captured and stored using the waste produced in the mining process. In fact, mines could take advantage of this practice, with simple changes in facility design, to become greenhouse gas neutral. Indeed the potential exists for scaling up this carbon capture process to remove billions of tons of CO2 per year—simply by recycling mining waste.
Ross and Christophe are joined by Dr. Greg Dipple, a professor in the Department of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He is a geologist who studies the processes of and driving forces behind mineral reactions with a focus on fluid-rock interactions. In the last 15 years, Dr. Dipple’s research has focused on carbon sequestration at and near the surface of the Earth.
Dr. Dipple joins Ross and Christophe to explain the process of capturing carbon with mining waste known as tailing. He explains the relative ease with which mines could be redesigned to support the process and the economic and reputational value in removing carbon through mine tailing. Dr. Dipple walks us through his back-of-the-envelope calculations that indicate a very promising $10-20 per ton carbon cost for mine tailing as well as the potential to scale this carbon capture process. We cover several other safety and environmental concerns associated with mining, and Dr. Dipple shares the significance of his partnership with mining companies in deploying his approach in the field. Listen in and learn how Dr. Dipple came to discover the potential for recycling mine tailing to capture carbon.
[1:12] The process of capturing carbon with mining waste
[2:47] The nature of the mining industry
[3:32] The value of carbon capture for mining industry
[5:55] The fundamentals of carbon removal via mine tailing
[7:32] How mines could be redesigned to promote carbon capture
[10:33] The affordability of using tailings for carbon capture
[13:44] Dr. Dipple’s eureka moment re: tailings and carbon capture
[16:57] The safety concerns associated with toxic waste
[20:00] The potential to scale the carbon capture process in mining
[26:54] How CO2 might neutralize asbestos
[30:00] The other environmental considerations around mining
[34:29] Dr. Dipple’s take on next steps for his work
[37:46] How to measure carbon captured through tailings
|Jan 30, 2018|
8: Aldyen Donnelly, Director of Carbon Economics for Nori
Why don’t voluntary or compliance carbon offset markets work? The numbers simply don’t add up. A lack of connection between the certificates and the physical inventory means that both parties—the seller and buyer—take credit for a reduction in emissions. And this double counting (issuing two certificates for a single credit) leads to a surplus of certificates under which the associated markets crash and burn. The good news is, the blockchain will allow us to start over and do the math correctly, ensuring that a traded certificate represents a real reduction in emissions.
Ross and Christophe are joined by Aldyen Donnelly, the Director of Carbon Economics for Nori. She has enjoyed a 40-plus year career as a small business developer and consultant, with a focus on cost-effective methods of reducing pollutants. In 1996, Aldyen designed a non-profit consortium of Canada’s largest emitters, bringing those corporations together to reduce and remove emissions via a carbon offset market. By 2002, the Greenhouse Emissions Management Consortium (GEMCo) was the largest private sector buyer of carbon credits in the world.
Aldyen joins Ross and Christophe to discuss how GEMCo employed double-entry bookkeeping to trade in certificates that represented an actual reduction in inventory and why the voluntary and compliance markets that followed did not. Aldyen explains the fundamentals of cap and trade, the concept of ‘pump and dump,’ and the function of a derivatives market. She shares her experiences with landmark climate change work like the Kyoto treaty, COPT, and the Vancouver Stock Exchange. Listen in for Aldyen’s insight into how the transparency of blockchain technology can help farmers become more productive and profitable—with or without the benefit of carbon credit sales!
[2:18] Aldyen’s experience through the GEMCo
[3:40] The fundamentals of cap and trade
[5:44] Aldyen’s involvement with COPT and the Kyoto treaty
[9:18] How the principles of GEMCo differed from current markets
[15:30] The elements of a good market
[18:33] How the ‘additionality test’ limits innovation
[20:38] The difference between voluntary and compliance markets
[27:06] Aldyen’s role in the Vancouver Stock Exchange
[29:10] The concept of ‘pump and dump’
[34:07] How a derivatives market could be useful for Nori
[39:02] The benefits of blockchain technology for farmers
[44:42] Aldyen’s climate change solution
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|Jan 23, 2018|
7: Dr. Klaus Lackner of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions
“The CO2 problem is a waste management problem … If I were to dump my garbage in front of your house and you complained, I would say, ‘Now wait a minute. I’m 20% better than I was last year. I want a reward!’ … If you put it in this context, you see it immediately looks silly. The difference is, it really changes the way you think about the problem.”
Ross and Christophe are joined by Dr. Klaus Lackner, the director of ASU’s Center for Negative Carbon Emissions (CNCE) and professor at the School of Sustainable Engineering. The CNCE is known for advancing carbon management technologies to capture carbon dioxide directly from the air in an outdoor operating environment. Today Klaus explains how he conceived of the windmill-sized structures that could scrub CO2 from the air and how these towers prove to be a more efficient solution than planting trees.
Ross, Christophe and Klaus also discuss CO2 as a waste management issue, comparing the way society eventually addressed sewage with the current problem surrounding carbon emissions. Klaus offers his take on the feasibility of retrofitting coal plants for carbon capture, the politics of carbon sequestration, and the decreasing cost of carbon capture technology. Listen in to understand how putting a price on CO2 could balance our carbon budget and the role volunteers are likely to play in prompting government action.
[2:59] Klaus’ eureka moment around carbon sequestration
[7:22] The concept of a moisture swing
[8:53] Why trees aren’t an efficient method of sequestering carbon
[14:28] How viewing CO2 as a waste management problem would change the game
[20:46] Klaus’ work around diffused carbon capture
[22:33] Why Klaus is skeptical of the proposal to retrofit coal plants for carbon capture
[26:26] Small power plants vs. large power plants
[30:34] Klaus’ insight around the politics of carbon sequestration
[32:00] The role of volunteers in prompting government action
[33:53] How to foot the bill for carbon sequestration
[40:01] The alarming rate of increasing carbon emissions
[45:06] The decreasing cost of carbon sequestration
[50:11] Klaus’ take on the future of the air capture industry
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|Jan 16, 2018|
6: Michael Denby, Arizona Public Service
When investors started asking what utility companies were doing about carbon emissions, the energy sector got inspired to bring renewables online and find alternatives to pollutants like coal. And despite the Trump administration’s elimination of the Clean Power Plan, it is unlikely that coal is on its way back. The affordability and abundance of natural gas—which emits half the CO2 of coal—is bridging the gap and removing the need for coal-fired power plants. This evolving energy marketplace, fueled by business, social, and environmental concerns, could change even more radically with the introduction of blockchain technology.
Today Ross and Christophe are speaking with corporate environmental attorney and blockchain enthusiast Mike Denby of Arizona Public Service, the largest power company in Arizona. APS is a vertically-integrated utility, both generating and selling power to its customers. Mike explains how energy trading works and the unique position of the utility company as a shareholder-driven public service. They discuss how blockchain technology might be utilized in the energy sector and how the conservative business culture of the utility industry is likely to impact its interest in cryptocurrency. Mike offers his take on the future of fossil fuels in the energy marketplace, the so-called utility death spiral, and the impact of consumer opportunities in promoting renewables. Listen in for insight into how APS generates power and how renewables and natural gas are changing the landscape of utilities.
[3:16] Mike’s interest in the blockchain
[6:42] How energy trading works
[10:02] The regulation of utility companies
[13:38] What deregulation looks like in utility markets
[15:24] How APS generates power
[20:29] The APS solar innovation project
[22:23] Mike’s insight around fossil fuels in the energy marketplace
[25:54] How renewables and natural gas are changing the utilities space
[30:45] The likelihood of utility companies embracing crypto carbon offsets
[36:09] How APS could leverage blockchain technology
[40:18] Mike’s take on how blockchain will change the world
[42:21] The carbon capture projects at Kemper, Petra Nova and Decatur
[46:27] The potential impact of consumer opportunities in renewables
[49:04] Mike’s insight around the ‘utility death spiral’
Connect with Ross & Christophe
|Jan 09, 2018|