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Small acts of carbon removal

May 29, 2020

Following up on last week's email about riding the air miners wave, one of the things I've struggled with is thinking what I'm doing is too small. I've seen this in my own work, I've heard it from other people thinking that their own pursuit is too small, and I've even used it to criticized others. That voice is challenging at times. 

This week I got to meet with Bill McDonough. Bill is a force in the environmental design world, most well known for his Cradle to Cradle developments. He's a huge inspiration to so many whose careers have been shaped and inspired by his work.

So towards the end of our call I asked Bill about this small stuff. "Hey do you ever worry that what you're doing might be too small or somebody else says it's too small? How do you deal with it"

He explained there's a special beauty in small things. We talked about that for a while that small beautiful things add up together to make big beautiful things. If you look closely at something big, it's actually made of many, many small pieces.

That reminds me of Stripe's recent $1M carbon removal purchase. Stripe is a multi-billion dollar tech company, and there's a trillion tons of excess carbon in the air, so in the big scheme of things, buying $1M of carbon removal credits may look like a small step.

The real beauty was Stripe was very open about their process, they published all their their protocols for choosing the purchases, and they open sourced all the applications on Github, so you can go read them. If another big corporation wants to do the same, they have this great foundation to grow from. That's the beauty of small things, they build up into bigger things.

Is there something that you're struggling with because you think it's too small? I'd love to hear about it.

Podcast: I was a guest panelist on the Carbon Removal Newsroom this week, talking about Stripe's carbon purchase. You can listen to the Stripe episode here. I enjoyed speaking with Aldyen Donnelly (Nori) and Noah Deich (Carbon180), hosted by Ross Kenyon (Nori). Let me know what you think of the episode and format...it may become a more regular thing.

AirMiners Event: Come learn more about the Stripe carbon removal purchase from the companies involved. I'm moderating a discussion with 3 of theStripe finalists on Wednesday, June 3rd, at 12 noon PST. We're calling it the "AirMiners Roundtable". Register here.


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