Why did a climate scientist lock himself at a bank?
This is not a riddle
Dr. Peter Kalmus is an astrophysicist turned Earth scientist.
2 weeks ago, he locked himself to the doors of a J.P. Morgan bank branch in Los Angeles.
He’s one of over 1,000 scientists in 27 countries who resorted to civil disobedience in the last few weeks.
Some scientists chained themselves to the White House fence.
Some blockaded government buildings in Europe.
Others blocked refineries, glued themselves to bridges and shut down banks.
And that’s because they want us to switch into a climate emergency mode.
But the governments are doing exactly the opposite- building new coal plants and opening new oil refineries.
Even if you don’t read the newsletter further, that’s OK. Please do read this article.
For this week, I have 3 startups that are bringing back the lost forests⬇️
Prioritize…Planting trees is an efficient way to combat climate change. But replanting projects are costly and labour-intensive. They often run into logistical issues. Also, not all forests absorb the same amount of carbon. Some of them like mangroves, tidal marshlands, and kelp forests absorb 3-5X more carbon as compared to others.
Cheaper and faster reforestation…Founded by Aymeric Maudous in 2019, Lord of the Trees is focused on restoring these forests. It’s a commercial drone planting company that uses a combination of high technology (artificial intelligence, robotics, and drones) and Lo-Tek (Local Traditional Ecological Knowledge) to regenerate the planet’s damaged ecosystems.
Their precision planting drones scatter 400,000 seed pods in just 12 hours.
The seed pods contain plant nutrients that sustain optimum germination conditions- creating a 75% success rate
They work with government authorities, the mining sector, landowners, and the agricultural industry.
The Impact…For one of their projects, they are planting trees in the Gunung Leuser National Park in Sumatra. Local farmers have replaced the trees there with cash crops like palm oil and rubber. The reforestation efforts would prevent the endangered flora and fauna species like orangutans, siamangs, tigers, and hornbills from getting extinct.
Humble beginnings…Taking Root started around 2010 as a non-profit. The idea was to do reforestation projects with smallholder farmers in Latin America. To fund these projects, it used the voluntary carbon market- on one side were the companies who wanted to offset their carbon and could pay for that. On the other side were farmers who could use part of their land(and the money given by the companies) to grow trees.
Scaling Issues…Although Taking Root helped farmers with an additional income source, scaling this model became difficult. Also, there were credibility challenges- are the trees really grown? How much carbon are they capturing? Companies weren’t sure of their real impact. So Taking Root began developing a technology solution around 5 years ago. It’s an automated forest and carbon reporting process.
It solves the problem of scaling and transparency.
It connects mobile field data with satellite imagery and uses machine learning to do so.
This allows organizations working with smallholder farmers to communicate their impact with confidence.
Another use case…Apart from companies that want to offset their carbon, Taking Root’s technology is used by producer groups, commodity buyers, and food brands. For commodity manufacturers like coffee producers, they can measure the impact of their own supply chains- how are their own farmers helping with the reforestation efforts.
Concrete jungles…With rapid urbanization, cities are quickly losing green spaces as they are being used to construct houses, offices and commercial buildings. Reducing green spaces degrades the quality of the land, causes flooding and results in poor air quality. Also, the densest areas in the city are the hottest ones.
Creating urban forests… India-based Afforestt is creating urban forests using the Miyawaki method(named after Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki)- planting around 300 native trees in a 1,000 sq ft area to make a dense, self-sustaining grove. They have successfully created ~150 forests across 44 cities in 10 countries.
It improves air quality, cut the risk of floods and heatwaves, and halts land degradation.
The key to the process is planting native, indigenous trees across four categories- shrub, sub-tree, tree and canopy
The process starts with soil testing and treating the ground for any nutrient deficiencies
And then…In 2-3 years, the plantation becomes a self-sustaining forest attracting birds and insects- an indicator of a healthy forest. If you are interested in creating your own forest, check out their guide.
🙋Trivia of the week
HMC is an investment management company owned by this famous university. They famously announced in December 2021 that as of June 2021, they did not have any direct investments in fossil fuels and that they would not make future investments in fossil fuels.
This university has the country's largest academic endowment, most recently totalling $41.9 billion, according to a report.
Which university are we talking about?
📊Stat of the week
Warning- Chilling the entire day could be tiring