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"Natural" vs "Engineered"

May 30, 2023

It really bugs me every time someone refers to a carbon removal solution as "natural" or "engineered".

You might have heard things like "I'm all in on carbon removal but only if it's a natural solution" or "I like tech solutions but natural stuff is bogus".

There's no way to measure how "natural" or "engineered" a solution is. Is a Pac-Man robot in the ocean that gobbles seaweed and sinks it to remove carbon "natural" or "engineered"? I don't know. Is it scalable, permanent, sustainable, cost effective, verifiable, adaptable? Yes to all those? Sign me up.

This "nature vs engineered" framing also holds us back. You might overlook a solution that really would have an impact because you're focused on this separation. We already have enough work cut out for us figuring out things that are scalable, permanent, sustainable, why add this extra constraint?

Overall, I would like to remove the idea that anything manmade is not natural, and anything that's natural is not manmade. What's uncomfortable for me is to share that yes, it really does bug me. I wrote about this in my August 2021 update and I'm still irritated when it comes up. I bet there's something here for me to learn about my own discomfort.

AirMiners are working on removing a billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air by 2030. If you do it with direct air capture machine, great you're an AirMiner. If you're removing carbon from the air using biochar or forestry, great you're an AirMiner. If you're taking carbon dioxide out of the ocean, that indirectly pulls carbon from the air so you're an AirMiner. If you've got some magic dance, or a poem that you've written that you can show leads to removing carbon from the air, then hell yeah, show me that dance and read me that poem already, you're an AirMiner.

As a reminder, AirMiners is the possibility of removing a billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air cumulatively by 2030.

Our job is to discover together how that takes shape.

It's go time!


P.S. WOW! Last week Klarna/Milkywire announced $2.5M of carbon removal purchases. Of these, 62.5% (5 of 8) the recipients are AirMiners Launchpad grads! Come to our impromptu event on Thursday with Robert Höglund who led the purchasing round and 5 CEOs of the teams. Register here.


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