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Is every climate solution "good for the planet"?

October 20, 2020

Last week's AirMiners discussion about environmental justice and carbon removal was a big hit (watch the panel discussion here).

I wanted to share 2 "a-ha" moments from people in the breakout rooms that helped shape my thinking. I put these thoughts in a video for this week, watch it here.

A-ha #1: "Until now, I thought every climate solution was automatically good. But there's more to it than that!"

This was a big discovery! The thinking goes "It's about the planet, health, pollution, so no matter how I take carbon dioxide out of the air, that's good". But if you want to build a system that runs for decades and grows to planetary size, you need to draw your system diagram a lot bigger to include more inputs and outputs.

Think about the chemistry, land, and impact of what's being built. It's more than a magic box where air comes in and carbon dioxide comes out. For example, what happens to the chemicals and materials after they're used? Whose backyard is filled with DAC machines. Historically, the environmental movement is mostly male and mostly white, and there's all sorts of limitations and blind spots that come with that. Planetary engineering is no small feat.

A-ha #2: "My a-ha moment was that this whole thing seems just as mysterious as it ever did"

Love this one. If getting clarity on environmental justice was as simple as reading a book or going to a workshop...well we wouldn't be having this discussion. That's what discovering a blind spot feels like, it's listening, reading, asking, it can feel uncomfortable, confusing, mysterious. That's the path, and we're not alone. Holly Jean Buck encouraged us to work with others who can see the pieces that we can't, because no one person can see everything.

Have you had an "a-ha" moment on environmental justice recently?


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