I invite you to hop on to a time and teleportation machine with me. We will now travel to a classroom at Hokkaido University in Japan back to fall 2018, where it all began. I am sitting in that classroom and taking a Biodiversity and Climate Change course during my exchange studies. (I’m probably also anxiously waiting for the skiing season to start in Hokkaido and finally getting to experience the Japow.)
Experiencing the aha moment
“The Earth may survive, but we humans may not,” says my professor in the class. It hits me. It really hits me that climate change is threatening our extraordinary period of peace (relative to history) and even the whole existence of our humankind.
The IPCC has just released its infamous report stating that we must limit the warming to 1.5℃. The future looks dim, but luckily the IPCC report has a section on climate solutions! That’s where I find myself flipping through pages as an optimist and engineer. As course representation, I write about impact investing, an asset class that I’ve just discovered.
Setting the goal
This moment of realization was the starting point for my rising awareness about climate change and thereby action. It started to affect my decisions after returning from Japan. When I worked in VCs, I focused on supporting climate and sustainability startups. When I chose a minor for my Master’s at Aalto University, I chose Chemical Engineering to understand better the building blocks of many climate solutions. When I conducted research for my Thesis, it was on the commercialization of carbon nanomaterials in energy storage devices. When I’ve initiated bigger or smaller projects, they’ve been impact-focused.
This February, I decided to set a climate goal for myself. I’ve found out that setting a clear, measurable goal with a deadline is an effective way to maintain focus and get things done. Publicly announcing the goal only strengthens this effect. So here we go:
My goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by one gigaton of carbon dioxide equivalent before 2050.
Placing the bets
1 gigaton of greenhouse gases equivalent to CO2 is *a lot* of greenhouse gases prevented from entering the atmosphere and/or captured from the atmosphere. I did some basic calculations that encouraged me to strive for greater mediums of influence. Even if I planted one thousand trees each year for the next 29 years (until 2050), I would achieve only 0.001% of my goal. This estimation expects that I’d plant mature trees and that an average tree would take up about 22 kg of CO2 per year.
So clearly, I have to bet on large-scale collaboration with other human beings and/or exponential methods to magnify the effect of my climate actions.
My bets for magnifying climate action go for science and entrepreneurship. The reason is two-fold. First, together science and entrepreneurship form a real power couple. While science provides exponential climate solutions, entrepreneurship allows their fast implementation in our today’s capitalist world. Second, I’ve been involved with them for the past six years, so I am most familiar with them.
Since I’ve got my unrest for founding a climate tech startup has been rising, the next step is logically to find such an intriguing and scalable science-based climate solution that I want to spend my next 10+ years being obsessed with it. This is what initially sparked the idea for what I’m going to introduce you to next after three months of coding (I turned into a full-stack developer this spring. It has been fun!).
I am thrilled to present to you Survivaltech.club - a learning platform about science-based climate solutions and their rapid commercialization.
Survivaltech.club is formed around two questions:
What scalable climate solutions does science offer that have not yet been (adequately) commercialized?
How should a startup best commercialize a science-based climate solution?
To seek answers to these and share the learnings with the world, I’ve set up the three newsletters:
The Expedition - a weekly deep dive into a climate challenge and scalable science-based solutions to it.
The Gear - a biweekly knowledge tool for building climate tech startups that cover, for example, market entry strategies, team building, and protection of IP. Based on my previous research on the commercialization of carbon nanomaterials in energy storage devices.
The Pioneers - a biweekly interview series that meets phenomenal climate tech founders, investors, and researchers.
I will send out the first newsletters this Thursday. Join Survivaltech.club and start learning!
I hope that this journey into climate science and climate tech startups can form the foundations for my near future climate tech startup. By making this journey public, I hope to inspire many of you to start climate tech startups, work or invest in climate tech startups, or draw better climate and startup policies. Finally, those brave ones who are already building science-based climate startups, I hope to support the great endeavours to the best of my capabilities.
I want to thank all the brilliant people around me without whom Survivaltech.club would not launch today. Thank you especially Juuso Nykänen, Tuukka Rouhiainen, Anna Abrahamsson, Aleksis Tapper, Julia Jutila, Sanni Vilmi, Maiju Aspegren, and Emanuel Jöbstl.
I am excited about the future. I know that we can solve climate change and survive on Earth. I invite you to join the mission to save our humanity from climate change.
See you on Thursdays! Let’s go.
P.S. Many of you may wonder what’s going on with the term survival tech. Survival tech is my definition of climate tech that I have been informally using over the past few years. I think it captures well the urgency and severity of the situation we are facing. After all, we have almost 8 billion humans and many other species to save.