In green biotech–it’s Click & Grow Garden, plus Earthrise Studio, and Planet as Co-Parent?!
Click & Grow Garden, Earthrise Studio, Planet as Co-Parent?!
PLANET AS CO-PARENT?!
I recently watched American Outdoors TV host, Baratunde Thurston take lessons on salmon fishing and conservation from members of Idaho’s Shoshone indigenous tribe. They also taught him two other lessons: First: One of his guides pointed out how her love for the river is akin to her love for her grandmother. IOW, she doesn’t think of visiting the river in conquest terms, “I’ve been down this river 300 times! I don’t think, “I’ve visited my grandmother 300 times! No, I just think, ‘It’s time to go visit grandma. It’s time to go visit the river.’
Second: In the era of climate change, the future of knowledge is tribal knowledge because tribal knowledge is knowledge of the land. “We’ve tried the other knowledge, and look where that’s gotten us,” one Shoshone guide said. “It’s time to return to tribal knowledge and save ourselves.” Continuing in that vein, his Shoshone guide pointed out that they don’t need to touch their children in terms of disciplining them because “the land will teach them lessons, too.” Said one Shoshone to Baratunde, “If my kid wants to run around on the rocks barefoot, I’d say go for it. When he stubs his toe on a rock, the land has taught him a lesson. He’ll now think to wear shoes.” To which Baratunde replied, “Co-parenting with the land!” His guide agreed the phrase was true.
Westerners—and by that I mean all of us who are deeply influenced by western civilization see the world in terms of domination and conquest. We act like we’re the planet’s parents who know what’s best for it, when actually we are Earth’s children. We act like it’s our job to conquer Nature. Even well-meaning climate activists talk in terms of combating climate change. I’m certainly one of them. And like many well-meaning climate activists, I like to think I’m coachable. From here on out, I will drop the war speak. That doesn’t mean I’m giving up. Hardly. In the words of Paul Hawken of Drawdown fame, this doesn’t mean it’s “game over. It’s now game on!”
New thinking about climate change allows for new approaches to climate change–its reversal, for discovering ways to lessen the worst effects of it, and most importantly for expanding the movement of people inspired to address it candidly and with a new sense of life purpose. New thinking about climate change communication allows us to bridge what I call the Hope Gap–the abyss between the despair people feel around climate change and an imagined future with solutions worth striving toward.
Climate change is a thing nobody on the planet has ever experienced before and yet will be with us the rest of all our lives, forever. But you know who has been through climate change before? Earth. So to borrow a phrase from the wisdom of the Shoshone–perhaps it’s time we let Earth co-parent us through this thing.
“We tell stories for the new world. Stories from the future that help us navigate the now,” That’s the slogan for the upstart Earthrise Studio. You just can’t get more solarpunk. The name comes from the iconic photo taken in 1968 by Apollo 8 astronaut and lunar module pilot Bill Anders during that crew’s mission to the moon. When it was published, ‘Earthrise’ helped catalyze the global environmental movement. In Life Magazine’s “100 Photographs That Changed the World,” acclaimed wilderness photographer Galen Rowell described the unprecedented view of Earth as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken.”
The goal of Earthrise Studio is “to humanize the impacts of the climate crisis by sharing the diverse experiences of those living on the frontlines of climate change and the activists who have devoted their lives to tackling it.” It does that in a variety of ways, including campaigns, projects and films. Green Ideas Book Club was created in partnership with Penguin Books, featuring 20 books authored by 20 different climate activists. Activists as diverse as Aldo Leopold, John Wall Kimmerer and Greta Thunberg.
Another gripping campaign is their 2021 Choose Earth, an innovative campaign in collaboration with Choose Love and driven by Brazilian indigenous leaders “fighting for the future of our planet,” according to the website. Also according to the website, “Indigenous communities are only 5% of the world’s population;they protect 80% of global biodiversity.” And that’s why the Earthrise Studio matters to us. At the very least to provide us with fascinating and crucial information like that. At the center, its name reminds us of both the fragility and the uniqueness of Planet Earth. At the most, the stories it produces offer radical hope and new possibilities.
DEEPER DIVE: Earthrise Studio, Choose Earth, The Story Behind the Earthrise Photo
GREEN BIOTECH–CLICK AND GROW GARDEN
We pay attention to green biotech not because we’re techies but because it’s an all hands on deck situation in the era of climate change and drawing down and restoration of nature are only part of the overall solution to limiting the worst effects of climate change. Limiting the worst effects of climate change includes localizing food growth in order to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from trucks carrying food hundreds of miles to market.
Click & Grow was founded in 2009 in Estonia by Mattias Lepp. According to the website, he was inspired to develop what he calls the first ever indoor garden that took care of plants automatically after reading a NASA report about growing plants in space. He worked with several universities globally to perfect his concept. So what is the concept? To grow gardens on your own kitchen countertop with zero effort on your part.
You can’t get more local than your countertop That’s why Click & Grow Garden is such an interesting company. The smart gardens are two feet by eight inches by eight inches. Each comes with at least:
- An automatic watering monitor
- Pro-grow lights
- Companion app to become a plant expert
- A choice of 50+ pre-seeded plant pods from the company’s own selection
There are other companies that offer similar, robotic, indoor gardening products. So why does Click & Grow matter to us? I think it’s most important innovation is the plant pod. The pods come with “smart soil.” Remember how we said Lepp was inspired by the NASA experiment? To grow plants in the zero gravity of space, one needs to keep the water evenly distributed.
Lepp’s Smart Soil keeps water distributed evenly inside the nanostructure, so the plant roots have access to water at all times. Plus, it makes sure plants have optimal pH-level and get the optimal configuration of water, C02, and nutrients. And the growth medium is made of natural, renewable materials.
(Did we mention Click & Grow is its own community?
DEEPER DIVE: Click & Grow, NASA Report