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Trees suck and grandchildren are boring

July 25, 2019

This weekend I went to see the giant Sequoias in Yosemite. I counted all the rings on a 500 year old stump! Sequoias are biggest living creatures on the planet, it takes 10+ people holding hands to wrap their arms around one.

This got me thinking about trees. As a carbon sequestration technology, trees are primitive. Do we really think the solution to the changing climate is planting trees and waiting for them to grow?

Trees are the best technology we have right now for carbon removal…and I know we can do better.

The pace of new technologies over the next 50 years will make the previous 50 years look like the Stone Age.  AI, quantum computing, and direct air capture. You know how flying in a plane seems so boring these days? In 1958 the first jet plane was introduced with big fanfare as a "new way to a magic world of travel". Reusable rockets, driverless cars, and graphene batteries will seem quaint and cute compared to what comes next.

Sustainability, planting trees, worrying about future grandchildren to me is a kind of tunnel vision. It keeps us stuck where we are instead of moving forward. What if we think about building new technologies for a civilization of 1 trillion (1 million million million) happy and satisfied people instead? 

What technologies have you heard about that will be the launchpad to the next 50 years?


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