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Tick tock. Time is of the essence.
As we slowly creep out of the COVID era, we are quickly approaching the world’s next big conundrum: Climate Change.
Just like COVID-19, a global pandemic-like effect will occur. The resulting entrepreneurial reaction will be just as big and industry agnostic, if not bigger. Yes, there will be segments of the populations more or less affected. During COVID, those in poor health and our elders were a prime target. That allowed new medical innovations faster than ever before.
During Climate Change, it may be more about where you live and your geographic susceptibility to strengthening natural disasters or rising sea levels. At least in the early years. In another 20-40 years, we may see mass migrations away from coastal cities worldwide, even in the United States. Americans will move northward to escape extreme levels of heat and humidity.
This human movement will allow new technology and startup hubs just like COVID did via remote work and a mass migration away from expensive, congested cities like San Francisco and New York. The way we move, transportation of both ourselves and things, has proven to be the number one target of greenhouse gases, giving the breadth of climate technology spanning to mobility startups and logistics alike.
Our way of life will change in both slow and quick ways. And you won’t be able to stay at home to avoid disaster this time around. The ecosystems that support our incredibly dynamic provider, Mother Earth, will reach breaking points without drastic emissions reductions. This understanding is not only agreed upon by the scientific community but the agriculture community as well.
Food is essential to all living things, humans included. The way food is grown, what is grown, and where it is grown will have to change in a hotter world. A warming planet demands not just a migration of farm locations but smarter choices of what to farm. We are already moving away from animals as our primary source of food and a vast emissions problem. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are two bright, shining examples of how the meat we eat doesn’t need to be meat anymore.
Redefining our relationship with animals and nature will be critical. If we think we are the smarter beings on this planet, then we should act it. That doesn’t mean destroying habitats for food, homes, and profits because we can. That’s the sloppy way. That means finding ways to live in harmony with the existing natural world. And not just maintaining, but regrowing.
Like David Attenborough said in his 2020 witness statement, we need to allow our wild spaces to thrive. In doing so, we will reduce extinctions, emissions and reconnect with nature in ways that will help our communities and health flourish.
From zero waste to the circular economy, movements are growing around plastic alternatives and responsible environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) practices for managing the waste you produce. Let’s finally say goodbye to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
We’ve already seen what a pandemic can do to our mental health, and happiness at scale wasn’t even close to figured out before that. In part, that’s why companies like Calm and Headspace have become unicorn, billion-dollar businesses.
Climate Change is already harming our mental health. Many people are worried, distressed by the destruction we have caused to our world that seemingly has no end as long as economic growth is in sight.
But what if we can turn that economic growth into social impact and climate technologies that positively affect our lives and make us money. I think we can. We will. And it’s already happening on a massive scale.
Over $60 billion of global early-stage capital was invested into startups tackling the World Economic Forum’s The Net-Zero Challenge. Elon Musk of Tesla just offered $100 million to the best carbon capture technology. Chamath Palihapitiya of Social Capital thinks climate tech will be a $1 trillion industry in 10 years or less. A new PWC report, The State of Climate Tech 2020, showed that climate tech investment is growing faster than the venture capital industry as a whole.
We are heading in the right direction. Now it’s time to double drawdown.