Category Archives: earth

How to Reverse the Carbon Cycle

If we agree that climate change is an existential threat to mankind, what can we do about it?

One thing is to emit less carbon. There is a lot that can be said about this, and some hope that we will achieve reductions as we switch from fossil fuel based technologies to ones based on renewable energy supplies.

And there is something else we can do. We can start recapturing carbon from the air using the land that is available now. How would that work? Al Wenger gets into that in his post.

The bottom line —

… plants and plant based solutions can play a major role in fighting the climate crisis. That’s of course not a substitute to also decarbonizing the electric grid, transportation and habitation but it will make a huge difference.n.

To make that happen, we need incentives for people to use land for that purpose. We do not need new technology — just the right policy mix to take advantage of what we already know.

Stay tuned.


Damn it! Let’s Reverse the Carbon Cycle!

Combating climate change is a huge challenge. And the word “huge” implies that success in combating climate change requires a big vision. We won’t get there by getting overly excited about tiny steps.

What is the vision?

Here is one — we need to reverse the carbon cycle. Al Wenger puts it rather well

… for the last 200 years or so we have been digging up hydrocarbons from the ground, mostly in the form or coal and oil and have been burning them while at the same time cutting back on forests.

We now need to do the exact opposite.

How do we do that=

… we need to aggressively grow biomass which removes carbon from the atmosphere. We then need to make sure that the captured carbon is either stored back in the soil (for instance in the form of biochar) or is used in our materials supply chain (for example by creating plant based packaging material). One key insight in this context is that we now need less land than ever before to grow our food supply and can in fact cut down on that land use aggressively by building out vertical farming. The freed up land needs to be used for reforestation and for even more aggressive biomass growing (e.g. grasses that can grow up to 15 feet in a single season).

I think we can go deeper into this idea. But the key point here is to embrace an idea — have a vision where we are going. That puts everything in perspective.

Lost Explorer’s “Another Bag” Rushes in to Save the Planet

Here is the pitch

The Another Bag is a durable bag made from responsibly sourced wood pulp, and has a unique rollout strategy. It’s being crowdfunded, but when you select the color combination you also have to choose one of four causes the profits will go towards: Amazon Reforestation, Indonesian Orangutan Habitat, US National Parks, or the Rwanda Women’s Collective. On top of that, each bag purchased will get 20 trees planted thanks to a partnership with the organization One Tree Planted. The campaign aims to meet a minimum of 75 bags (which amounts to 1,500 trees planted) by November 1st, but by only taking pre-orders, The Lost Explorer doesn’t run the risk of wasteful overproduction.

Image result for Another Bag

Ut us made by “Lost Explorer”.

Founded by explorer and environmental advocate David de Rothschild—famous for his voyage across the Pacific in a catamaran made of recycled plastic (incidentally journeys in the name of nature is a trend among people we admire)—The Lost Explorer serves up premium products that have been sourced and produced ethically, selling at places like Mr. Porter and END.

Very cool!



Revisiting the Bosco Verticale in Milan

I love these two towers. They look like this

Image result for Bosco Verticale

Yes. They are very green. Together?

Image result for Bosco Verticale

This says it all. Enjoy!

“These two towers represent the will to reintroduce nature into everyday life. The impact of walking in Milan and finding yourself in front of an actual forest—which climbs from the street all the way up to the sky—envelops you with a sense of peace and wonder. Its colors and scents are so unexpected in an urban context. In an age like ours, where the exploitation of natural resources has greatly increased, it marks a real turning point.”

Monique Zappalà, creative director, Bentley and Bugatti Home

Why Don’t More Grocery Stores have “Happy Hours”?

I bumped into this link from Dave Lebovitz. Thanks Dave!

Here is the story

Visit any one of the 900 S-Market grocery stores in Finland at 9 PM each night and you’ll get deep discounts on soon-to-expire meat and fish. The purveyor calls this event “happy hour,” and it is certainly a joyous time for price-conscious shoppers. In addition to the deep discounts for customers, this happy hour has a larger purpose for the store: it is helping them to reduce waste and limit their impact on climate change.

This is such a simple and great idea. Why don’t more folks do it?

There’s No Planet B? Yikes!

Tell that the Elon Musk who says he wants to live on Mars.

But truth be told, none of us are going anywhere in space for the foreseeable future. We are going to have to make do with planet earth.

And this is not great news because climate change is going to make living on planet earth kind of a bummer. So it is about time, I would say, that folks start saying that they would not mind better policy making to make climate change less of a global emergency.

Hence the climate strike.

Great! But will this change anything? It will not lead to finding immediate “magic bullet” style solutions. It will helps shape the dialog about climate. And that is not too bad  as a starting point.


The article is worth a look. It will make you feel better. And it will help you silence folks who say that the situation is hopeless.

Our situation is serious but not hopeless.

From the Reality Sandwich Department: Carbon Levels

I took this squib about CO2 levels in the atmosphere  from the Exponential View

The latest measurement (as of September 5): 408.59ppm; 12 months ago: 405.66ppm; 25 years ago: 360ppm; 250 years ago, est: 250ppm. Share this reminder with your community by forwarding this email or tweeting this.

This is having commercial impact already

The Bank of Montreal is cutting down its reinsurance business, partially due to climate change risks. The Bank has said that climate change ‘poses physical risks from disruptive weather events and transition risks from adapting to a lower-carbon global economy.’

And now for some good news

Without subsidies, solar is now cheaper than coal in 22 percent of Chinese cities.