CONTENT

Lead Article

Kickstarting sustainable agriculture in arid regions
By Except

Article 01

AI makes huge progress predicting how proteins fold – one of biology’s greatest challenges – promising rapid drug development
By Marc Zimmer

The Future Now Show

DDOs (Deliberately developmental Organizations)
with Ferananda Ibarra

Article 02

The Civium Project 01: Civium vs City
By Jordan Greenhall

News about the Future

> The Great Bubble Barrier: A smart solution to plastic pollution
> NEOM

Article 03

Utopia Cornucopia
Ecuador

Recommended Book

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
By Bill Gates

Article 04

Ocean Mechanical Thermal Energy Conversion
By Just Have a Think

Climate Change Success Story

Biorock

Futurist Portrait

Phoebe Barnard
environmental futurist


Club of Amsterdam Search
Submit your article
Contact
Subscribe


Welcome



Felix B Bopp



Lead Article

Kickstarting sustainable agriculture in arid regions
By Except




Feeding populations in the most arid regions of our planet has always been difficult, but in recent decades, it is turning into a serious food security crisis in large parts of the world. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region exemplifies this with an urgent challenge on food security. Arid countries face the depletion of fossil water sources, the increasing scarcity of fossil fertilizers, and more extreme climatic conditions, which leads them to outsource their food production. While increasing pressures on food production may trigger international security challenges, the surging demand also presents world leaders with an opportunity to improve existing agricultural systems. The challenges the arid regions face are systemic and need to be addressed with a systemic approach. How can we create a food industry that supplies food at scale inside arid regions? We looked at this challenge in a systemic way, outlining micro- and macro-scale impact solutions that have the potential to drive a positive change in both medium- and long-term.

As a result of the fossil water crisis, population increase, prosperity increase, and slow sector growth, exacerbated by looming climate change, the domestic agricultural sector in the GCC is set for an expiration date. With food being a primary necessity, food security is a core element to the creation of a resilient society. The world’s arid regions are struggling to maintain food security in an unfavorable environment. We witnessed these issues during our project in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and now aim to put them in the broader narrative of growing food in arid regions.




Growing food locally is a systemic change that can contribute to the sustainability of the food supply chain.

Worsening factors ...

In Saudi Arabia, only 1.5% of the total land, approximately 1.000.000 hectares, qualifies as arable. The economic growth of the sector is low, with roughly 2.5% per year, which lags behind the growth in consumption, reducing food security every year.

Rapid population growth intensifies the challenges that stem from the GGC’s geographic location. The predicted 23% increase until 2030 means more than 12 million extra people to feed, of which the majority will be in KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Besides this, rising economic welfare will boost the demand for food, as well as dietary diversity.

Another factor that increases the severity of the issue is the energy transition. As many oil-producing countries commit to building a non-oil-based economy, their main source of income is likely to, at least temporarily, plunge. The energy transition can only become reality when a healthy economic alternative, based on other forms of value creation, advances. Relying on a majority of food imports is an unsustainable pathway.



Saudi Arabia has the potential to use its economic transitions to strengthen its agricultural sovereignty.

... and worsening solutions

The existing solutions to improve the GCC’s food security only exacerbate, and are exacerbated by, climate change.
Fossil water crisis

Starting in the 1970s, the Saudi government set up a program tackling local production of food security by setting up a huge agricultural program. The efficient center-pivot irrigation system was rolled out on a wide scale, and drilling for fossil water started. This method of irrigation has a significant advantage in terms of efficiency over older methods of irrigation. Yet, still, only around 40% of the water ever reaches the crops with this method. For a short while, Saudi Arabia became a net exporter of wheat and other water-intensive crops during the 1980s.

Yet the main sources of irrigation water, the few large fossil water deposits, have been depleted by over 80% in roughly 30 years. In response, KSA’s government prohibited the use of fossil water for the growth of cereals and crops that are mainly used as animal fodder, such as alfalfa, in 2018.




KSA desert crop fields.

Overdependence on imports

To ensure sufficient access to nutrition, countries need to supplement domestic production with imports. Income derived from fossil fuel exports facilitates this economically in the GCC region. Import covers over 80% of Saudi Arabia’s domestic food consumption, especially cereals.

Importing food is a solution that extends or outsources the problem instead of solving it. By prohibiting cattle crops domestically, the Saudi government forced companies to seek resources elsewhere. As a result, Saudi Arabian food giants have relocated their feedstock production with the purchase of 14.000 acres (5666 ha) of farmland in Arizona and California. While crop relocation may count as a short-to-mid-term solution, it de facto merely delays a crisis and shifts the problem to other areas. The export ventures employ the same water-intensive farming techniques, using finite water sources in equal measure. This replicates their domestic problem elsewhere and extends one expiration date with another.
Scaling up the possibilities

Food crises demand a serious effort to move towards a more local, sustainable agriculture that relies fully on renewable sources, usage of typically infertile land, and resource-effective production in extreme climate conditions. It may never be possible, or even desirable, to farm all food locally in the arid regions. Yet by adopting a systemic perspective, it is possible to outline solutions that have the largest potential for positive impact.

Every challenge holds a set of potential solutions, either short- or long-term. The place where these solutions overlap is called the solution space, and systemic long term answers reside within its boundaries.


Scaling up the possibilities

Food crises demand a serious effort to move towards a more local, sustainable agriculture that relies fully on renewable sources, usage of typically infertile land, and resource-effective production in extreme climate conditions. It may never be possible, or even desirable, to farm all food locally in the arid regions. Yet by adopting a systemic perspective, it is possible to outline solutions that have the largest potential for positive impact.

Every challenge holds a set of potential solutions, either short- or long-term. The place where these solutions overlap is called the solution space, and systemic long term answers reside within its boundaries.



To identify the systemic solution space, we first need to identify system boundaries.


With the current state of technology, the crops that both have the most negative impact, and for which growing systems can be relatively easily adapted to the harsh arid climate, are fresh and perishable goods. The value of growing these foods locally lies in both ensuring the population’s access to a healthy diet, but also a significant reduction of the environmental impacts. Perishables, which constitute 20% of KSA’s imports, require fast cooled air freight and thus generate massive energy and CO2 footprints, while also being costly.

The solution space in the case of local food production in arid regions is a blend of various micro-level solutions during the transition period necessary to achieve macro-level ones. While de-desertification and desalination technologies have the greatest potential to yield a positive impact on the agricultural landscape of the GCC, their scaling up needs considerable systemic changes, including fiscal ones. Micro-solutions, on the other hand, are more easily adaptable yet have a smaller scale of impact.

With the current state of technology, the crops that both have the most negative impact, and for which growing systems can be relatively easily adapted to the harsh arid climate, are fresh and perishable goods. The value of growing these foods locally lies in both ensuring the population’s access to a healthy diet, but also a significant reduction of the environmental impacts. Perishables, which constitute 20% of KSA’s imports, require fast cooled air freight and thus generate massive energy and CO2 footprints, while also being costly.

Long-term goal - solutions on a macro scale

De-desertification

The solution space in the case of local food production in arid regions is a blend of various micro-level solutions during the transition period necessary to achieve macro-level ones. While de-desertification and desalination technologies have the greatest potential to yield a positive impact on the agricultural landscape of the GCC, their scaling up needs considerable systemic changes, including fiscal ones. Micro-solutions, on the other hand, are more easily adaptable yet have a smaller scale of impact.




Combining de-desertification with greenhouse agriculture can significantly improve arid regions’ food security.


Desalination Technology

Reducing pressure on fossil water sources has to come from more abundant desalination of seawater. Desalinated water can be used for any type of crop, most efficiently perishables. As such, desalination reduces agriculture’s strain on freshwater, consequently improving water and food security. Yet, at the moment, typical desalination processes are highly energy-consuming. More efficient methods, such as reverse osmosis, forward osmosis, and multi-effect distillation combined with the use of waste heat, are becoming economically viable. The current energy shift worldwide also raises hopes that soon, desalination will be fueled by renewable energy. Once those challenges are overcome so that the process can happen sustainably, desalination offers a gateway for arid and semi-arid regions.

During the transition - micro impact solutions

Saline Agriculture

Saline practices open up options in terms of location and water tolerance. The resulting flexibility may bridge the gap in time until advancements in desalination allow for reaching sufficient freshwater capacity. The practices can additionally close freshwater capacity gaps. Many countries around the world are working towards crop stocks, using plant breeding, to grow to produce in partly saline soil. Such soil would conventionally be considered hazardous to crops. However, many crops already possess halophilic (salt-tolerating) genetic lines, including staple crops like tomatoes and potatoes. Specific varieties of carrots, red onions, barley, white cabbage, and broccoli have also proven to be partially salt-tolerant if grown in a specific way. While the market still needs to ready itself for this, alternative food crops such as more expansive use of seaweeds and sea kale are on the rise and subject to much experimentation around the world.




Large-scale, local agriculture in arid regions will have a global impact on sustainability of food chains.


Greenhouse horticulture

This solution can bring a part of the food production back to the arid countries by supplying them with specific crops, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, locally. Greenhouse horticulture is most commonly used to make the most of available resources, such as sunlight, as well as to shield the plants from the harmful elements in the environment and elongate the growing season. Originally, the method was used in areas where low temperatures did not allow for longer growing seasons, and for crops that were sensitive to the cold. Applying lights, heating, cooling, and air conditioning, as well as sophisticated watering systems and CO2 supply, have transformed greenhouses into flexible high-tech growing systems. In some cases, they can increase the productivity of a piece of land by over 400%. Increasingly, greenhouses appear in areas where the temperature is too high to grow efficiently. Cooling can increase the growing efficiency of the crops, as well as reduce the evaporation and thus the water use. A closed greenhouse can reduce water use by over 90% compared to outdoor cultivation.




A visualization of Serenity Farms, a greenhouse complex mixing high-tech green horticulture with renewable energy sources.


Plant Factories

Options to intensify crop density are increasingly available. Such options present a beneficial solution when it comes to climate control. Plant factories, unlike greenhouses, are solid buildings that can be integrated into the urban environment. Plants are vertically stacked under artificial light, in an entirely controlled environment. The growth rates, and with it the output volume, of these factories, are incomparably higher than those of open field practices. However, their crop selection is limited to leafy greens due to multiple growing levels being stacked under artificial lighting. This limitation may be overshadowed by the under-studied feasibility of this solution for a desert climate. Thanks to the specific features, such as insulation, high volume, and climate regulation, among others, plant factories can yield significantly higher results than other solutions. Their higher cost of both development and operations may prove inhibiting for feasible food production, except in high density areas where land footprint comes at a premium, or until these systems have been made sufficiently efficient.


Drip irrigation

The potential of drip irrigation as a medium-scale solution for field agriculture lies in its ability to replace the central pivot method. Increasing efficiency saves vital water resources, especially as losses of water through evaporation are responsible for the main fraction of water consumption in arid regions. Far less than 40% of sprayed water ever becomes available to the plant, even though practices that use spraying, including central pivot methods, are still prevalent. Drip irrigation provides a promising alternative and a bridge towards a more permanent solution. Although already widely applied within the urban environment, the method currently uses a mere fraction of its potential in open-field agriculture.

Serenity Farms

Serenity Farms is a project that plays a role to relieve pressures on both the macro and micro levels. Desalinating water with renewable sources of energy on the one hand and using sustainable, high-tech greenhouse horticulture on the other, Serenity Farms creates a domestic production capacity of high-quality produce. The design sets a precedent for a new generation of grass-roots solutions that contribute to sustainable agriculture in arid regions and a domestic source of fresh and healthy fruits and vegetables. However, solutions like these have their limitations. While Serenity Farms tackles the most impactful crop types, fresh fruit and vegetables, it cannot solve food shortages alone. Even when scaled up to their full potential, Serenity Farms stops short of tackling the domestic deficits in the form of cereals and meat industry fodder, which are unlikely to be solved domestically. True solutions, serving a global scale, will need to come from national and international governance, combining different approaches in a holistic system solution.



Technology system map for Serenity Farms.

Towards a systemic approach

Environmental concerns aside, the beauty of the transition towards sustainable, local agriculture is that it makes business sense. Each of the proposed solutions is scalable into relatively quick investment returns and profitability, and this trend will only increase with more research on growing food in arid regions coming to light. Strengthened domestic production, improved environment, and consistent profits - growing food in arid regions only creates winners. It is time for investors, farmers, and governments alike to grasp this opportunity. The first step towards activating this is to develop a systemic food security plan for each country, and rally investments into the right combination of approaches at the same time. The next few decades will be decisive for arid regions, and specifically the GCC. If no substantial investments are leveraged for improved domestic production, and development of a long term systemic plan, issues will only exacerbate until system failure. If the issue of food security is put at the forefront, however, the GCC can take leadership in food production solution in harsh climates, and take a strong non-oil economic position that the rest of the world is also in dire need of.


The article was written by Jacob Verhaart, Except's Head of Science, and Jon Woning, Except's Biotechnologist; and edited by Zuza Nazaruk, Except's Creative Communicator. Except Integrated Sustainability

References

Camels Don’t Fly, Deserts Don’t Bloom
Climate change and water scarcity: the case of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia - Ban on green fodder cultivation comes into effect
Foodex Saudi 2021
Fossil Aquifers
Saudi Arabia’s great thirst
Saudi Arabia Agricultural Overview





CONTENT

Article 01

AI makes huge progress predicting how proteins fold – one of biology’s greatest challenges – promising rapid drug development
By Marc Zimmer, Professor of Chemistry, Connecticut College









A simple chain of amino acids folds into a complex three-dimensional structure.


Takeaways

  • A “deep learning” software program from Google-owned lab DeepMind showed great progress in solving one of biology’s greatest challenges – understanding protein folding.

  • Protein folding is the process by which a protein takes its shape from a string of building blocks to its final three-dimensional structure, which determines its function.

  • By better predicting how proteins take their structure, or “fold,” scientists can more quickly develop drugs that, for example, block the action of crucial viral proteins.


Solving what biologists call “the protein-folding problem” is a big deal. Proteins are the workhorses of cells and are present in all living organisms. They are made up of long chains of amino acids and are vital for the structure of cells and communication between them as well as regulating all of the chemistry in the body.

This week, the Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind demonstrated a deep-learning program called AlphaFold2, which experts are calling a breakthrough toward solving the grand challenge of protein folding.

Proteins are long chains of amino acids linked together like beads on a string. But for a protein to do its job in the cell, it must “fold” – a process of twisting and bending that transforms the molecule into a complex three-dimensional structure that can interact with its target in the cell. If the folding is disrupted, then the protein won’t form the correct shape – and it won’t be able to perform its job inside the body. This can lead to disease – as is the case in a common disease like Alzheimer’s, and rare ones like cystic fibrosis.

Deep learning is a computational technique that uses the often hidden information contained in vast datasets to solve questions of interest. It’s been used widely in fields such as games, speech and voice recognition, autonomous cars, science and medicine.

I believe that tools like AlphaFold2 will help scientists to design new types of proteins, ones that may, for example, help break down plastics and fight future viral pandemics and disease.

I am a computational chemist and author of the book The State of Science. My students and I study the structure and properties of fluorescent proteins using protein-folding computer programs based on classical physics.

After decades of study by thousands of research groups, these protein-folding prediction programs are very good at calculating structural changes that occur when we make small alterations to known molecules.

But they haven’t adequately managed to predict how proteins fold from scratch. Before deep learning came along, the protein-folding problem seemed impossibly hard, and it seemed poised to frustrate computational chemists for many decades to come.




A chain of amino acids goes through several folding steps, which occurs through hydrogen bonds between amino acids in different regions of the protein, before arriving at the final structure. The example shown here is hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells that transports oxygen to body tissues.
Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions website, CC BY

Protein folding

The sequence of the amino acids – which is encoded in DNA – defines the protein’s 3D shape. The shape determines its function. If the structure of the protein changes, it is unable to perform its function. Correctly predicting protein folds based on the amino acid sequence could revolutionize drug design, and explain the causes of new and old diseases.

All proteins with the same sequence of amino acid building blocks fold into the same three-dimensional form, which optimizes the interactions between the amino acids. They do this within milliseconds, although they have an astronomical number of possible configurations available to them – about 10 to the power of 300. This massive number is what makes it hard to predict how a protein folds even when scientists know the full sequence of amino acids that go into making it. Previously predicting the structure of protein from the amino acid sequence was impossible. Protein structures were experimentally determined, a time-consuming and expensive endeavor.

Once researchers can better predict how proteins fold, they’ll be able to better understand how cells function and how misfolded proteins cause disease. Better protein prediction tools will also help us design drugs that can target a particular topological region of a protein where chemical reactions take place.


What’s your move?
style-photography/Getty Images

AlphaFold is born from deep-learning chess, Go and poker games

The success of DeepMind’s protein-folding prediction program, called AlphaFold, is not unexpected. Other deep-learning programs written by DeepMind have demolished the world’s best chess, Go and poker players.

In 2016 Stockfish-8, an open-source chess engine, was the world’s computer chess champion. It evaluated 70 million chess positions per second and had centuries of accumulated human chess strategies and decades of computer experience to draw upon. It played efficiently and brutally, mercilessly beating all its human challengers without an ounce of finesse. Enter deep learning.

On Dec. 7, 2017, Google’s deep-learning chess program AlphaZero thrashed Stockfish-8. The chess engines played 100 games, with AlphaZero winning 28 and tying 72. It didn’t lose a single game. AlphaZero did only 80,000 calculations per second, as opposed to Stockfish-8’s 70 million calculations, and it took just four hours to learn chess from scratch by playing against itself a few million times and optimizing its neural networks as it learned from its experience.

AlphaZero didn’t learn anything from humans or chess games played by humans. It taught itself and, in the process, derived strategies never seen before. In a commentary in Science magazine, former world chess champion Garry Kasparov wrote that by learning from playing itself, AlphaZero developed strategies that “reflect the truth” of chess rather than reflecting “the priorities and prejudices” of the programmers. “It’s the embodiment of the cliché ‘work smarter, not harder.’”


How do proteins fold?


CASP – the Olympics for molecular modelers

Every two years, the world’s top computational chemists test the abilities of their programs to predict the folding of proteins and compete in the Critical Assessment of Structure Prediction (CASP) competition.

In the competition, teams are given the linear sequence of amino acids for about 100 proteins for which the 3D shape is known but hasn’t yet been published; they then have to compute how these sequences would fold. In 2018 AlphaFold, the deep-learning rookie at the competition, beat all the traditional programs – but barely.

Two years later, on Monday, it was announced that Alphafold2 had won the 2020 competition by a healthy margin. It whipped its competitors, and its predictions were comparable to the existing experimental results determined through gold standard techniques like X-ray diffraction crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy. Soon I expect AlphaFold2 and its progeny will be the methods of choice to determine protein structures before resorting to experimental techniques that require painstaking, laborious work on expensive instrumentation.

One of the reasons for AlphaFold2’s success is that it could use the Protein Database, which has over 170,000 experimentally determined 3D structures, to train itself to calculate the correctly folded structures of proteins.

The potential impact of AlphaFold can be appreciated if one compares the number of all published protein structures – approximately 170,000 – with the 180 million DNA and protein sequences deposited in the Universal Protein Database. AlphaFold will help us sort through treasure troves of DNA sequences hunting for new proteins with unique structures and functions.

Has AlphaFold made me, a molecular modeler, redundant?

As with the chess and Go programs – AlphaZero and AlphaGo – we don’t exactly know what the AlphaFold2 algorithm is doing and why it uses certain correlations, but we do know that it works.

Besides helping us predict the structures of important proteins, understanding AlphaFold’s “thinking” will also help us gain new insights into the mechanism of protein folding.

One of the most common fears expressed about AI is that it will lead to large-scale unemployment. AlphaFold still has a significant way to go before it can consistently and successfully predict protein folding.

However, once it has matured and the program can simulate protein folding, computational chemists will be integrally involved in improving the programs, trying to understand the underlying correlations used, and applying the program to solve important problems such as the protein misfolding associated with many diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cystic fibrosis and Huntington’s disease.

AlphaFold and its offspring will certainly change the way computational chemists work, but it won’t make them redundant. Other areas won’t be as fortunate. In the past robots were able to replace humans doing manual labor; with AI, our cognitive skills are also being challenged. The Conversation

 

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


CONTENT

The Future Now Show


DDOs (Deliberately developmental Organizations)
with Ferananda Ibarra

DDOs move organizations from business as usual to a rethinking of the very place of people’s development in organizational life. What if a company did everything in their power for people to overcome their internal barriers to change? to transcend their blindspots and see errors as opportunities as personal growth? Welcome to the world of Deliberately Developmental Organizations (DDOs).







You find more by Ferananda here




Shape the future now, where near-future impact counts and visions and strategies for preferred futures start.
Do we rise above global challenges? Or do we succumb to them? The Future Now Show explores how we can shape our future now - where near-future impact counts. We showcase strategies and solutions that create futures that work.
Every month we roam through current events, discoveries, and challenges - sparking discussion about the connection between today and the futures we're making - and what we need, from strategy to vision - to make the best ones.

You can find The Future Now Show also at

LinkedIn: The Future Now Show Group
YouTube: The Future Now Show Channel

Producer: Felix B Bopp

CONTENT

Article 02


The Civium Project 01: Civium vs City
By Jordan Greenhall


The first video in a series about a new way for people to live together.


Jordan Greenhall has current jobs as Co-Founder at
Shopswell, Co-Founder Civium Project and Co-Founder & Chief Strategist at Neurohacker Collective. Additionally, Jordan Greenhall has had 3 past jobs including Vice President at MP3.com.

While studying at Texas A&M and Harvard University, I was fascinated by the idea that industries, economies, and societies as a whole can be entirely disrupted by technology delivered in the right way, at the right time. With this philosophy in mind, I was one of the first employees at MP3.com, where we reinvented the music industry by allowing people, not record companies, to control what music is popular.

After experiencing how consumer related movements operate digitally, I doubled down on my entrepreneurial drive and co-founded DivX in 2000, when I was 29 years old. DivX fundamentally changed how the world watched videos online and empowered over one billion people to experience the entertainment they cared about, anywhere, and on any screen. By the time I was 35, I raised over $150M and took the company public with a $600M IPO, one of the top technology IPO’s of the year.

After my exit from DivX, I have continued to influence and lead organizations using the corporate form as a dynamo to deliver social change. One of those organizations is the Neurohacker Collective, where we are applying complex systems science to neuro-technology to provide people with the tools to become maximally capable and fully responsible. Another organization is Backfeed.cc, where we are innovating the 3rd generation of blockchain technology - building a stigmergetic framework to allow collective intelligence to scale.


The Civium Project 01: Civium vs City






CONTENT

News about the Future


> The Great Bubble Barrier: A smart solution to plastic pollution
> NEOM

The Great Bubble Barrier: A smart solution to plastic pollution

The Bubble Barrier can reduce the amount of plastic pollution in rivers and can help raising awareness in order to prevent further plastic pollution. We believe plastic debris should be eliminated from our environment. That is why we have four goals:

1. Clean up plastic pollution in rivers and canals with our Bubble Barriers to prevent it from flowing towards the ocean.
2. Investigate and monitor plastic pollution in rivers to collect data about plastic debris and the source.
3. Increase public awareness about plastic pollution in order to prevent plastic waste and litter.
4. Build towards a circular plastic chain to create a shift from a linear to a circular economy in which plastics never become waste.

The Great Bubble Barrier offers solutions for different problems. The Great Bubble Barrier catches more plastic than current solutions in flowing water because we can reach plastic ( > 1mm ) in the total width and depth of a river. A Bubble Barrier can be placed both in big rivers as in small canals.



NEOM

NEOM is a bold and audacious dream. It is a vision of what a New Future might look like (in fact, NEOM means, “new future”). It’s an attempt to do something that’s never been done before and it comes at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. NEOM is being built on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship and innovation will chart the course for this New Future. NEOM will be a destination, a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.

NEOM will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. It will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world.



CONTENT

Article 03


Utopia Cornucopia
Ecuador


Utopia Cornucopia was initiated in March 2020, at an eco-village in Ecuador called Chambalabamba. Since then, we have been building an international team, a vision, a strategy, and a network of allies.



WHY

We believe that the transition to a regenerative, democratic, and just economic system is urgent, and can be accelerated with better collaboration.


WHAT

We are currently focusing on building a collaboration platform with a host of community tools and services, an interoperability protocol for other collaborative platforms, and a comprehensive sector map.


WHO

Our core team spans four continents, and brings to the table a wealth of experience in community development, digital collaboration, and sustainability strategy, with skill sets in tech, research, facilitation, and design.

Horizontal Government - The Conscious Solution to End Corruption in 2021




Our Adventure To Chambalabamba Vilcabamba, Ecuador - Part 1 - The Vision






Chambalabamba Eco-Community - Retirement En Vilcabamba (Newsweek)





CONTENT

Recommended Book


How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
By Bill Gates



In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical - and accessible - plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe.

Bill Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet's slide toward certain environmental disaster. In this book, he not only explains why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.

He gives us a clear-eyed description of the challenges we face. Drawing on his understanding of innovation and what it takes to get new ideas into the market, he describes the areas in which technology is already helping to reduce emissions, where and how the current technology can be made to function more effectively, where breakthrough technologies are needed, and who is working on these essential innovations. Finally, he lays out a concrete, practical plan for achieving the goal of zero emissions-suggesting not only policies that governments should adopt, but what we as individuals can do to keep our government, our employers, and ourselves accountable in this crucial enterprise.

As Bill Gates makes clear, achieving zero emissions will not be simple or easy to do, but if we follow the plan he sets out here, it is a goal firmly within our reach.


CONTENT

Article 04


Ocean Mechanical Thermal Energy Conversion
By Just Have a Think




CONTENT

Climate Change Success Story


Biorock


Biorock (also Seacrete or Seament) is a man-made cement-like engineering material formed when when a small electric current is passed between underwater metal electrodes placed in seawater that cause minerals dissolved in seawater to accrete onto the cathode forming a thick layer of limestone over time. The process can be used to create electric reefs as marine ecosystems suitable for mariculture of corals, oysters, clams, lobsters and fish. Discovered in 1974 by Wolf Hilbertz, the process was covered by a number of patents which have since expired. The term Biorock was protected by trademark between 2000 and 2010 since when it can without restriction. - Wikipedia

Biorock™ technology is the only sustainable method of protecting coral reefs from mass extinction from global warming. Every coral reef region of the world has already suffered from severe high temperature coral bleaching and mortality, and any further warming will destroy the little coral that is left. Corals growing on Biorock™ reefs have 1600% to 5000% times higher survival after severe bleaching than corals on nearby reefs. There is no other method known to protect corals from global warming, which is worsening as governments fail to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases. Biorock™ Coral Arks, designed to save coral reef species from local extinction, are currently growing around 80% of all the coral reef genera in the world. There is an urgent need to establish them in all major reef areas and include all coral reef species, as this may be the only hope when global warming intensifies.


Thomas Goreau, PhD, Discussing Soils and Climate - wetlands restoration, biorock, biochar

Thomas J. F. Goreau, PhD
President, Global Coral Reef Alliance
President, Biorock Technology Inc.
Coordinator, Soil Carbon Alliance
Coordinator, United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development Small Island Developing States Partnership
goreau@bestweb.net
www.globalcoral.org




CONTENT

Futurist Portrait


Phoebe Barnard
environmental futurist




Phoebe Barnard, PhD
Global change biologist | conservation biologist | environmental futurist | sustainability strategist writer and speaker | leadership coach | teacher and mentor | facilitator

I am Affiliate (full) Professor at the University of Washington, Chief Science and Policy Officer at the Conservation Biology Institute, and Honorary Research Associate of both the Centre of Excellence at the FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology and the African Climate and Development Initiative, at the University of Cape Town. Through my company "Biodiversity Strategy," I also recently supported the work of the IUCN Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group via the Center for Large Landscape Conservation on matters of global ecological connectivity, marine conservation and evidence-based decision-making. I've written three books, numerous book chapters and over 100 scientific and semi-popular papers.

Earlier, I founded, developed and led Namibia’s national biodiversity (1994-2003) and climate change programs (1999), worked as the Global Invasive Species Program's scientific and technological coordinator (2003-2005), and was the South African National Biodiversity Institute’s Principal Scientist (2005-2014), then Lead Scientist (2014-2016) of Climate Change Adaptation and its founding Head: Biodiversity Futures (2016). In 2017 I returned to the USA after 38 years in Canada and southern Africa to take the job of Executive Director of the Pacific Biodiversity Institute. I've also served, among many other roles, as course coordinator and core lecturer for the Tropical Biology Association (1995, Uganda and 2014, Tanzania), board and exco member of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2002-2005), Honorary President of BirdLife South Africa (2013-2016), External Examiner at the University of Jos (2014) and academic program reviewer at the University of Zurich (2015-2019).

I was born and raised in the USA, but have lived, worked and studied in Canada, the UK, Namibia, Sweden, South Africa, and run short courses in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. Always interested in the future, the state of nature, and the ways to bring about societal change, I've worked at large, medium and local scales to combine global understanding with fine-scale evidence. My career so far has been spent mostly in southern Africa, working almost equally between government and academia, trying to underpin strategic planning and policy with scientific rigor. I'm known as an active initiator, mentor and professor to young scientists across Africa and elsewhere, and as a team-builder, building consensus and resolving conflicts in the arenas of biodiversity, climate change and earth observation systems to community action, citizen science, sustainability and urban ecological connectivity.

At the start of my career, I was a student of behavioral ecology in the '80s, switched to conservation biology in the '90s after my PhD, and added global change biology and environmental futures in the 2010s. I have founded and led programs in environmental research, science/policy and strategic planning in academia, governments, international organizations and nonprofits.

I feel incredibly lucky to have been asked to join outstanding teams and departments wherever I've gone. Award-wise, I've received a Fulbright Full Doctoral Scholarship (1993), the Distinguished Service Award (government category) of the Society for Conservation Biology (2002) for team-building in national biodiversity planning in Namibia, and the Esther Forbes Distinguished Professional Achievement Award (2019) from Bancroft School for my work in environmental wellbeing. I have BSc (Hons), MSc and PhD degrees in biology, zoology, behavioral and evolutionary ecology from Acadia, Witwatersrand and Uppsala universities respectively.

In my spare time, I run and hikes trails, climb erupting volcanoes, am a community volunteer, explore and travel with my groovy filmmaker husband, and read history, economics, politics and catastrophe books to make sense of this bizarre crossroad in history. More about us as a family is below.

I've argued that just as society needs early warning systems for tsunamis, disease outbreaks, or economic shocks, we need early-warning systems for biodiversity. South Africa's successful early warning system applies citizen science and professional science to the policy, planning and management needs of tracking environmental change in southern Africa. Download these booklets by clicking on the cover thumbnails. After a year of public and agency stakeholder consultations, we are also developing a system based on South Africa's successes for implementation in the western USA and Canada (see below left), and we're in early planning stages for a national early warning system for biodiversity and natural hazards in Rwanda.




World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency
William J Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R Moomaw
BioScience, Volume 70, Issue 1, January 2020




The Alliance of World Scientists (AWS)

The AWS is a new international assembly of scientists, which is independent of both governmental and non-governmental organizations and corporations. We submit, that in order to prevent widespread misery caused by catastrophic damage to the biosphere, humanity must practice more environmentally sustainable alternative to business-as-usual. Our vital importance and role comes from scientists' unique responsibility as stewards of human knowledge and champions of evidence-based decision-making. The main goal of the AWS is to be a collective international voice of many scientists regarding global climate and environmental trends and how to turn accumulated knowledge into action. Other organizations do laudable work toward this goal, but to our knowledge, AWS is the only independent, grass-roots organization comprised of scientists from around the world committed to the well-being of humanity and the planet. Dr. Bill Ripple and Dr. Chris Wolf serve as Director and Associate Director of the AWS respectively.

World scientists declare climate emergency








Our moment in time - reflections on Earth Day in the time of COVID-19
An invited talk (in the era of pandemic self-isolation) on climate change, biodiversity loss, resilience and the transformation of society for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, for an audience of community members of the Skagit Valley Family YMCA (Washington State, USA).




CONTENT