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🌳 Trees Are the Solution For Climate Change

My Climate Journey

Photo by Brian Garrity / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Jason Jacobs
Guest: Yishan Wong | Founder & CEO | Terraformation
Category: 🌳 Carbon Capture

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[3:10] “We have identified that mass reforestation is probably the fastest and most efficient and most immediately scalable solution to climate change. So what we're trying to do is we're trying to bring that about globally as quickly as possible.”

[3:33] “[We looked] at all of the geo-engineering and climate proposals […] with a […] ultra-practical view of what can be done, and whether it can be done now. With climate there's this interesting thing where it's not just opportunity cost for climate solutions. […] With climate, merely waiting accumulates debt because the planet is actively trapping heat. And so that changes the time variable so that a solution that may be better, but is a few years behind, is actually much worse than a solution that can be implemented immediately. So if you look at all the solutions that way, there are very few […] that can immediately begin drawing CO2 molecules out of the air.”

[4:44] “Climate change is often conflated with a number of unrelated issues, like social and cultural ones, but it actually is a physical problem. So if you define it strictly, […] it's actually just that the concentration of CO2 molecules in the atmosphere is […] 419 […] and it should be something around 280 parts per million. So if you were able to change that concentration of CO2 molecules, you would in fact solve most or all of the problem. And so if you take […] a very I guess strict view of that, and you focus on what is the most direct way to get there, reforestation is the cheapest and safest and also the most immediately available solution that we have.”

[19:26] “A lot of people focus on the fact that […] it's massive reforestation. But the truth is that any actual climate solution is gonna be massive whatever it is. […] Almost every solution is still focused on […] the zero to one problem. […] So zero to one is have we figured out a thing in the lab that turns out to be carbon negative, like […] direct air capture, or a new type of algae bioreactor? […] And then one to N is can we make it into a commercial product? And usually you think, […] once we've got it into a commercial product, capitalism will take care of the rest. […] That's kind of true, but going from one to N to N equals a billion is a materially different step that I think most people don't think about. Mostly because […] very few people just have any direct experience with that, or even know that it exists. A market going from, […] now you're selling some units, to now there's global penetration of this product, is a rare concept in people's minds.”

[22:53] “There's lots and lots of groups that already believe in reforestation as the solution. Reforestation groups and just forestry groups in general have known that tree planting, or growing forests, is a solution, and they've known it for like decades. Nobody listens to them, and so they just don't get any press, they're under-resourced. […] It turns out that restoration groups want to figure out how to scale. They wish they could do things five times faster. […] And so the product market fit that we are in is in fact helping people learn scalability techniques.”

[24:24] “I don't think that ultimately […] tech's contribution to climate change is going to be some new gadget or new magical technology. It actually is going to be spreading the understanding of the practice of scalability […]. How to think about and anticipate the organizational and logistical changes needed to scale an existing, successful operation.”

[25:07] “The thing that Terraformation is bringing is in fact the understanding of how to take a thing that works and do a lot more of that thing very quickly without losing coherence, without compromising on quality. It's kind of a fussy product market fit. […] If you think of that, scalability is our product, […] it's not easy to understand. But the reality is, that's actually the thing that we offer to all the partners, all of the existing reforestation groups that we're working with. […] We sell this product and we provide […] like reforestation in a box, or forest as a service.”

[34:14] “In order for reforestation to make an impact fast enough, we need to complete the out planting of about three billion acres of land within a decade. There is one plausible path to get there, which is to manage to get 10X the amount of land coverage every year for a decade. So there's eight orders of magnitude between 30 acres and three billion. And so every year we have to do 10 times as much. So it's mostly just an expansion of how many acres of land [we can] cause to be reforested.”

[34:48] “One way of looking at the phases is there's two phases. There's the first few years, where you do like 300, 3000, 30,000, even up to 300,000 acres of reforestation. And those are projects which have been undertaken by a single organization. It's a sort of like current scale projects that we know are feasible. Once you move beyond that, we have to be working in partnership with other organizations. We need to have caused the beginnings of a worldwide, decentralized campaign of multiple actors. We're one of the few startups that wants like a thousand copycats.”

[36:11] “It's very similar to other change the world strategies, where if you need to get everyone to do something, you need to be the champion yourself. You need to be doing it yourself. So the first few years we are doing it ourselves, and we're scaling. At the same time, just saying over and over this is the solution and we all need to be working on this.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "Startup Series: Terraformation")
🕰️ 56 min | 🗓️ 07/22/2021
✅ Time saved: 54 min

Additional Links:
My Climate Journey