The Reversing Climate Change podcast with Nori
A podcast about the different people, technologies, and organizations that are coming together to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reverse climate change. We also talk about blockchains.

#34 Brian Von Herzen, Founder of Climate Foundation

August 7, 2018

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Marsupials in Tasmania can get everything they need from the rainforest without destroying it. So, why can’t humans do the same? Brian Von Herzen wants to apply this idea to the ocean and restore the sea life wiped out by climate change via marine permaculture. The way he sees it, if we take care of nature, nature will take care of us. 

Brian is the founder of Climate Foundation, an organization working to reverse climate change in our lifetime. Brian earned a degree in physics from Princeton and a PhD in Computer and Planetary Science from Caltech. He spent the bulk of his career in Silicon Valley, developing innovative technical solutions for Pixar, Dolby and Microsoft, among many others. Since creating Climate Foundation in 2007, Brian and his team have been focused on restoring life to the sea and soil.

Today, Brian joins Ross, Christophe and Paul to explain what inspired him to start Climate Foundation. They discuss the concept of marine permaculture and how it addresses issues of food security, ecosystem survival and carbon export. Brian shares the potential income streams associated with marine permaculture and the scalability of Climate Foundation’s ‘floating islands of life.’ Listen in for Brian’s insight on how tokenization could inspire the grassroots movement we need to facilitate large-scale change.

Resources

Climate Foundation

MARINER Program

AlgiKnit

Blue Economy Challenge

WWOOF

Key Takeaways

[1:43] The impetus for Climate Foundation

  • Observed growth of melt ponds on Greenland
  • Ice pouring into sea at alarming rate (113X more than normal)
  • Look to biology to balance carbon budget by land and sea

[7:06] The concept of marine permaculture

  • Humans get what need from ocean without destroying ecosystem
  • Up to us to take care of and regenerate kelp forest
  • Address food security, ecosystem survival and measure carbon export

[10:41] A business case for marine permaculture

  • Seaweed farmers in Philippines unable to grow high-quality seaweed
  • Livelihood and culture depend on survival of seaweed
  • Climate Foundation working to bring irrigation (nutrient value gaps)

[14:22] How to become a seaweed farmer

  • Takes 3-10 years to secure permit for seaweed forest in US
  • Climate Foundation pioneering ocean vessel (floating island of life)

[19:16] The benefits of feeding cows algae

  • Domestic livestock generate 25% of world’s greenhouse gases
  • Cattle with access to seaweed = happier, healthier and heavier
  • Cut feed energy ‘going up in smoke’ from 11% to 1%
  • Carbon negative beef in Australia in next decade 

[23:09] Climate Foundation’s intention to be multi-trophic 

  • Permaculture includes seaweed, fish, shellfish and mammals

[26:53] The potential income streams associated with marine permaculture

  • Food, feed, fertilizer and fiber
  • MARINER Programproject to replace fossil fuels with biofuels

[34:48] Brian’s take on the scalability of marine permaculture

  • Demo viability through Blue Economy Challenge, deploy in Indonesia
  • Start with subsistent seaweed farmers in Indonesia, Philippines
  • Less than 1% of US and Australia’s ocean could feed world/restore life
  • Facilitated by self-guided, ocean-going vessels

[39:18] Brian’s insight on blockchain applications

  • Politicians will not act until grassroots mandate for carbon price
  • Tokenization empowers individuals to take action
  • ROV (underwater drone) technology measures carbon export
  • Allows for support of thousands to grow to millions
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