from the world's big
Google and NatGeo team up to combat climate change
They're creating an unprecedented map of Earth to help government leaders make better decisions in regard to climate change.
- A recently proposed campaign among scientists aims to protect 30 percent of Earth's land and oceans by 2030.
- In light of this, National Geographic and Google announce an unprecedented mapping project to help government leaders make better decisions in regard to climate change, and to meet the 2030 targets.
- The Wyss Campaign for Nature Foundation is pledging $1 billion to help meet the 2030 targets.
Google and National Geographic plan to construct a dynamic, four-dimensional digital Earth to help us more viscerally get acquainted with the planet's many corners, all the while highlighting those areas most in need of protection. Indeed, the ultimate purpose of the digital Earth is to enlist individuals and governments to support the recently proposed campaign to protect 30 percent of the earth's land and oceans by 2030.
With widespread support among experts and scientists, the proposal, which was co-written by National Geographic's chief scientist, Jonathan Baillie, seeks to preserve those habitats upon which the planet's lifeforms depend — including us — and it may well represent our own best chance for survival. This said, with NatGeo's storytelling skills and Google's powerful technologies, the two organizations envision the digital Earth's near-real-time view of the planet as delivering both widespread inspiration and detailed guidance for leaders, helping them make better-informed decisions as they confront climate change.
This living rendition of the globe will allow users to monitor the world's species and ecosystems over time, understand threats to the natural world and realize solutions to help achieve a planet in balance. — From partnership press release
At the Geo for Good summit in early October 2018, NatGeo and Google unveiled the first two products of their partnership, both viewable using their Google Earth technology. They're both fascinating, if only baby steps, toward the full-on model they envision.
Product 1: The Human Impact Map
"Protecting the Earth's Wild Places"
The Human Impact Map shows the areas of the Earth that are currently least affected by human activity. (Click the link in the previous sentence if you have either the Google Earth app or the Chrome browser plug-in installed.) A surprising, actually encouraging, amount of the planet is still characterized by very low or low human impact.
Product 2: Expanding Google’s Voyager stories
Waterfall on the Cuito River, in the Lisima Lwa Mwono region of Angola
(Cory Richards/National Geographic)
For Google Maps, the technology company has a collection of stories called the Voyager series. At Geo for Good, Google announced a new Voyager story, "Protecting the Okavango River Basin" co-authored with Nat Geo. After clicking the web page's EXPLORE button, you embark on a virtual expedition through this important area in Africa. The story told is based on National Geographic's Okavango Wilderness Project, complemented with Nat Geo's on-the-ground data and "newly visualized Human Impact data" from Google. With text, overlays, video, and NatGeo's reliably gorgeous photos, it all adds up to an unusually absorbing, rich experience and a tantalizing glimpse of things to come.
In 2020, there'll be a gathering of the world's governments to set climate change goals, and NatGeo and Google plan to continue developing tools that will help world leaders there better understand the challenges and opportunities in front of them.
30% by 2030 is gaining steam
The Wyss Foundation is supporting The Nature Conservancy's Australia program
(Wyss Foundation, by Ann Killeen)
The 2030 goal proposed by Baillie, and Ya-Ping Zhang, vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences appears, hearteningly, to be gaining momentum. New partnerships continue to form. NatGeo, for example, is also working with The Nature Conservancy and the Wyss Foundation, whose just-announced Wyss Campaign for Nature is pledging a staggering $1 billion to help meet the 2030 targets.
Saving humanity, if we can do it, is an all-hands-on-deck project, and as exciting partnerships like these come together for the common good, it's hard not to feel a little more hopeful we can make it.
Innovation in manufacturing has crawled since the 1950s. That's about to speed up.
Here's why you might eat greenhouse gases in the future.
- The company's protein powder, "Solein," is similar in form and taste to wheat flour.
- Based on a concept developed by NASA, the product has wide potential as a carbon-neutral source of protein.
- The man-made "meat" industry just got even more interesting.
Seriously sustainable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDIzNS9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyMjM4NTMzMX0.BCEfYnn6C3z1zUHIS38xOWjXktgamNBi5iyqklSMYK8/img.png?width=980" id="ea524" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="50533380eeb18eb5833b6b6aa3abec38" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>Solar Foods makes Solein by extracting CO₂ from air using <a href="https://www.fastcompany.com/90356326/we-have-the-tech-to-suck-co2-from-the-air-but-can-it-suck-enough-to-make-a-difference" target="_blank">carbon-capture technology</a>, and then combines it with water, nutrients and vitamins, using 100 percent renewable solar energy from partner <a href="https://www.fortum.com" target="_blank">Fortum</a> to promote a natural fermentation process similar to the one that produces yeast and lactic acid bacteria.</p><p>When the company claims its single-celled protein is "free from agricultural limitations," they're not kidding. Being produced indoors means Solar Foods is not dependent on arable land, water (i.e., rain), or favorable weather.</p><p>The company is already working with the European Space Agency to develop foods for off-planet production and consumption. (The idea for Solein actually began at NASA.) They also see potential in bringing protein production to areas whose climate or ground conditions make conventional agriculture impossible.</p><p>And let's not forget all those <a href="https://www.bk.com/menu-item/impossible-whopper" target="_blank">beef-free burgers</a> based on pea and soy proteins currently gaining popularity. The environmental challenge of scaling up the supply of those plants to meet their high demand may provide an opening for the completely renewable Solein — the company could provide companies that produce animal-free "meats," such as <a href="https://www.beyondmeat.com/products/" target="_blank">Beyond Meat</a> and <a href="https://impossiblefoods.com" target="_blank">Impossible Foods</a>, a way to further reduce their environmental impact.</p>
The larger promise<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MDI0MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1NjU4MTg2OX0.7dZZYT5WEV_EupBuLVFwHynarTiz8RYR9aJtC6Ts2C4/img.jpg?width=980" id="3415d" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="2e6eebe06d795f844752f9e9d30040d7" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Solar Foods<p>The impact of the beef — and for that matter, poultry, pork, and fish — industries on our planet is widely recognized as one of the main drivers behind climate change, pollution, habitat loss, and antibiotic-resistant illness. From the cutting down of rainforests for cattle-grazing land, to runoff from factory farming of livestock and plants, to the disruption of the marine food chain, to the overuse of antibiotics in food animals, it's been disastrous.</p><p>The advent of a promising source of protein derived from two of the most renewable things we have, CO₂ and sunlight, <a href="https://solarfoods.fi/environmental-impact/" target="_blank">gets us out of the planet-destruction business</a> at the same time as it offers the promise of a stable, long-term solution to one of the world's most fundamental nutritional needs.</p>
Solar Foods' timetable<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8xOTk0MTEzMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTU5OTU1OTMwMn0.wnXh56iO_77x2XKV2uIPf78BKw4AJLUpmiyq_JBVGvo/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=172%2C146%2C62%2C135&height=700" id="0297c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="125c9a98ec818f5c241fa28ef1423e67" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Image source: Lubsan / Shutterstock / Big Think<p>While company plans are always moderated by unforeseen events — including the availability of sufficient funding — Solar Foods plans a global commercial rollout for Solein in 2021 and to be producing two million meals annually, with a revenue of $800 million to $1.2 billion by 2023. By 2050, they hope to be providing sustenance to 9 billion people as part of a $500 billion protein market.</p><p>The project began in 2018, and this year, they anticipate achieving three things: Launching Solein (check), beginning the approval process certifying its safety as a Novel Food in the EU, and publishing plans for a 1,000-metric ton-per-year factory capable of producing 500 million meals annually.</p>
The protein powder Solein. Image source: SOLAR FOODS
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