The current state of the climate crisis creates an urgent need for accessible, inclusive pathways for average people to step up into entrepreneurship and other forms of action. As governments struggle to implement truly effective regulation, the large businesses responsible for a significant amount of the world’s pollution, continue to operate with little change.
While there is little debate about the validity of the climate crisis, the average person would not know how to impact climate change other than following the standard “going green” protocol. You know — switching to LED bulbs, driving a hybrid or electric vehicle, recycling and reducing waste. While those are all good methods to decrease the personal carbon footprint, it is questionable if that alone is enough to reverse the progression of the climate crisis. Can we buy our way to a better future?
When we think about how we feel about the climate crisis, are those feelings optimistic, hopeful, and positive? If “going green” is all you think that is being done about it, you may have different sentiments.
Luckily, creative entrepreneurs, global community members, non-profits, academic institutions, and other organizations are able to start and produce companies and socially-conscientious businesses. These companies are developing products, services, and initiatives right now that address the immediate need for solutions to the climate crisis.
Capsule 2020 by Experimental Civics
Capsule is a civic hackathon focused on the climate crisis and building solutions across the intersections of environment and six major categories. Taking place on June 20-21 of 2020 in Austin, Texas, Capsule is making an attempt to break a Guinness World Record for most participants. The current record is set at 2,950 people back in August of 2018 and took place in Saudi Arabia. This record-setting goal will help bring the urgency and need for more viable solutions into the spotlight by generating awareness on a new level.
Sarah Sharif, the powerhouse Founder of Experimental Civics and Capsule holds a successful track record producing impact themed hackathons, building innovation pipelines, and advocating for sustainability. Sharif won the Mozilla Science Grant in 2019 for her work with Life Sci Hack: a traveling global hackathon bridging the gap between engineering and the life sciences.
In a previous role as the Director of ATX Hack for Change, Sharif supported the generation of 157 social innovation and emerging technology projects. Sharif was a Judge for the Mozilla Gigabit Community Fund which awarded $280K to innovative projects across the U.S. which some of her hackathon project leads acquired. Sharif was also the Judge for the City of Austin’s Gigabit Fund of $38K to spur the generation of local social enterprises.
“Coordinated efforts between strategic partners like nonprofits, universities, governmental bodies, community groups, and corporate entities are essential support networks. We mobilize individuals with diverse skills and ideas to build businesses that address the complexities of our climate crisis and our partners provide valuable resources to enable the development and continuation of the most viable projects,” says Sharif.
For Capsule, their commitment to open innovation creates an inclusive environment for people of all disciplines to bring forth their ideas. Hackathons can be the start of something much more and people can use this as a platform to launch. Large, notable companies like Zapier and GroupMe have humble origins as hackathon projects. With proper innovation pipeline and community building, Capsule is poised to become a launchpad for climate-focused businesses.
Nori is a blockchain-powered marketplace platform bringing transparency and accountability to the offset buying market. Nori is on a mission to reverse climate change by enabling the physical removal of carbon dioxide (CO2) currently in the atmosphere. The marketplace allows businesses and individuals looking to offset their carbon footprint to pay for carbon removal performed by farmers practicing regenerative farming.
Scaling back emissions is important but there is already too much in the air, which means we must reduce emissions and also remove an estimated 1.5 trillion tonnes of CO2. Nori is a two-sided marketplace marrying incentives with technology to enable anyone in the world to pay to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere.
Nori was founded by a strong team with individuals specializing in blockchain, carbon pricing, design, engineering, startups, environment, and community. The team is supported by an impressive lineup of advisors including American-Egyptian futurist, Ramez Naam, and David Addison, the manager of the Virgin Earth Challenge, Sir Richard Branson’s $25M innovation prize for scalable and sustainable ways of removing carbon from the atmosphere.
Farmers, or Suppliers, use Nori to get paid for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it in the soil. The sustainable farming methods implemented, like controlled grazing and composting, helps the soil absorb and retain CO2 while providing additional benefits. Businesses and individuals, or Buyers, use Nori to pay for the removal in an effort to go carbon negative and receive verified certificates that prove CO2 has been removed. Using blockchain technology, Nori provides a high level of transparency when it comes to validating the carbon removal done by farmers for the businesses or individuals paying.
Nori is built to be a scalable company and that is definitely evident considering it is a Techstars company. Nori was one of ten companies that just completed the 2019 Techstars Sustainability Accelerator in partnership with The Nature Conservancy. Watch their Demo Day presentation to hear the pitch from CEO, Paul Gambill. In late 2018, Nori raised just over $145K on Republic, the popular startup crowdfunding platform.
Next time you or someone you know is feeling pessimistic about the current state or future of the climate crisis, remind them of the awesome initiatives mentioned in this article. Contributing your knowledge and skills to build a new solution at the Capsule hackathon, protesting and having your voice heard to drive political action, or sponsoring the removal of CO2 on behalf of your company are all ways everyday people can become further involved and increase their impact.