2014. It seems like yesterday and yet it’s already a full 7 years cycle behind. A special time in my personal life when we, as a family, decided to relocate from Australia to Switzerland. I had some experience about it, as I had done it a long time before from France to Australia.
What happened, once the family was settled in the new home with new schools ready for the kids, is a story of commuting to the antipodes up to 6 times a year to keep our energy efficiency business running, until the insanity of it all made itself clear. Where is the energy efficiency when you spend so much of it to make ends meet?
When you are at it you don’t see it that way, it’s only when I attended COP21 in Paris in December 2015 that the penny dropped. Yes, we were reducing the energy footprint of buildings using big data but there was so much more to be done; discussing this with some of the brilliant thinkers and doers present there, the seed of what would become Biodiver.City was planted.
Whatever we believe about the current climate situation, natural causes, man made causes, a combination of both and anything in between, science, observation and shall I dare say common sense are more than enough to experience the reality of it all. We just have to look around: Shrinking glaciers, chunks of ice pack becoming icebergs, number of natural catastrophes ramping up, heat maps needing colour adjustment to accommodate new highs, gigantic fires, the list goes on.
The question is: What do we do about it?
Some say it’s too late, some say it’s taken care of, some say who cares, some say… nothing. Like a lot of things on this earth, if you don’t experience it first hand it doesn’t really exist and it’s easier to brush it off. With this in mind, what could turn the tables if you are deeply convinced of the urgency of the matter and of the importance of having as many people as possible to contribute to its fixing?
Good will? Nice try… Scary talks? Yeah, yeah… Science and facts? All biased anyway… At this point it is tempting to follow the flow and just see what will happen, if anything.
What about making money? Sure, how? Ah! Now we have a conversation.
Bouncing the idea of a circular economy is certainly not new but it felt new to me when I considered it in January 2016 thinking about climate. One of the companies I contacted after COP21 had a brilliant idea, make marginal land fertile by planting C4 grass, putting carbon into the soil, harvesting the grass to make clean combustible for traditional coal power plant. This is still an idea and you know the quote: “An idea not coupled with action will never get any bigger than the brain cell it occupied.” A bit harsh but sadly true.
Thinking big can fool you in trying to find the magic silver bullet that will fix everything. It’s elusive, most of us have heard about the holy grail, I am still to meet someone who had it in hand.
With this is mind, going back to fundamentals, keeping things as simple as possible and working in a team seemed like the right way to proceed. I just not wanted to be the passer-by watching petrified during an accident, to be a bit less dramatic the idea was to participate to the effort and you know what Coubertin said about participation, it’s the important bit.
The universe I come from revolves around data, I am also a believer that technology has the potential to save the day if used properly. Data by itself can be confusing, we used to say to our customers: “Helping you making sense of your data chaos”, but it is absolutely essential when it comes down to prove a point. Evidence based results are a necessity.
From this standing view point it became clear that whatever practical solution could help with climate issues, it would need to be backed up by data if we were to scale it up globally.
I tend to believe that nature knows better when it comes to environmental questions, she is the environment after all, which made me look to nature based solutions. They are so many possibilities and they are so many great minds. One solution definitely does not fit all and again, if we are to succeed at scale, collaboration is essential.
Technology and a global pandemic helped me to take the time and courage to contact and discuss with amazing team players how such a vision could become a possible path forward to the realisation of projects replicable at scale. Five steps that can be taken one at a time.
Some say it’s too broad, some say it’s not broad enough, we say that’s what we do and yes there is plenty of room for improvement. We are open to collaboration, ideas and willing to share our progress. The race is on and it is something worth fighting for.
Stay tuned, we have plenty to discuss on soil, culture, tree, cattle, data, artificial intelligence, measurement & verification, carbon, biodiversity, trading and more.