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David de Rothschild at Zeitgeist Europe 2007

0 (0 Likes / 0 Dislikes) [email protected] SPEAKER: Thanks. Thank you very much Frederic. I'm going to take a couple of questions while we set up for David. In our business-- in climate change capital or investment banking business-- we've already followed your advice and started to make a commitment to carbon capture storage on the policy front and also making money flow in that direction. We've helped finance the first carbon capture storage plant in the northeast of England. In your work with the commission, have you identified any particular policy incentive that you think would help capital flow more quickly to the new plant that you have designed? FREDERIC HAUGE: The problem today is that coal industry is burning a lot of money on their emission training systems. They're fighting heavily against us. But I think when we made the Kyoto Agreement, we didn't know about this technical option. I think when we look at the framework of the World Trade Organization, we are able to tax imported goods with the same taxes we have nationally. I'm sure that we will see post-Kyoto agreement coming up with CO2 taxes, because then we could tax the goods from non-Kyoto countries, and we could use the CO2 tax to build the infrastructure for carbon capture. SPEAKER: Take a question from the floor Frederic for [UNINTELLIGIBLE] if anyone's got something they'd like to get out. We can come back, we've got time later. No? Well I'm sure we'll get more later. OK, now we're going to go on to David. Now David's a wonderful man. I spent time with him in Davos recently, and it was one of the highlights of going to that great event, just to find a corner and sit and talk about the things that we were doing. I think you best sum up David by having a look at his latest venture, which is called Adventure Ecology, which combines his particular adventurous spirit and the fact that he is an adventurer, and his passion for dealing with ecological issues of the day. And you will see that as an entrepreneur, he's full of ideas and full of energy, and he's focused in on communicating in a way which is alluring and attractive the climate change issue to the vitally important resource for our future, which is children. David. [APPLAUSE___AND_ __MUSIC___PLAYING] DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD: So I have to admit I didn't sleep very well last night. I got into bed and I realized that after 28 years of what I thought I was doing was dancing, is really not dancing at all, if you sat down last night and saw what we saw. I thought Jesus, what have I been doing all this time. And it brings into a brief story. I just spent the last month in the Amazon in a tiny little village on the boarder with Peru. And these guys, as I arrived, were sitting with their guns. You know, we're warriors, we're not going to let the oil industry which is in the north of Ecuador come down to the south. If you lie to us, if you tell us things that aren't true, then there's trouble. And I thought to myself, OK fine. So we sat there, and after a few hours of drinking chicha, which is an interesting moonshine drink that they make-- I'm not going to go into that-- things relaxed a little. And the chief looked at me, and he pointed to the back of the room. He walked over and he pulled out a stereo. I was like, that's a bit odd. He then pulled out Now 2 from 1982, proceeded to put this onto the machine, and said show me how to dance. So my rope-a-dope and my little dance that I was doing last night doesn't quite cut the mustard I guess. So I have a request to Google. Please do not send the Sadler's Wells Organization down to this region of the world. Otherwise I will never be allowed back. I want to start by thanking everybody here today for actually putting on this forum. It's phenomenal. It's a real honor and a pleasure to be here. I feel about that big. And it's also very inspiring to sit in a room full of so many people who have achieved so much. And you look at a room like this, and being an optimist, I go, there is a collective capacity to actually make a difference. When a room or group of individuals who have the capability to shape the way our future is, get together and start to just talk to each other rather than at each other and engage, we can really I think meet the challenges that are global warming. When I was asked to join this group, I was asked to join green technology. And you said, go wow green technology, there's thousands of them. You go into the lab you can-- Frederic here will I'm sure tell you about it. And I thought, what's one technology that we've kind of seen emerge over the last maybe 12 to 18 months that's really kind of shaping the way we look at our planet, that's giving us a new perception. And to me-- and not just because they throw a good party-- but it's going to be Google Earth. And the reason why I say that is that-- I've got a kicker somewhere, hang on a second, there you go-- is that I don't know, we've all had the pleasure of sitting ar our desk and just surfing the world basically. And I think there is a huge power in this amazing technology which was once, you know, you had to be an astronaut or very soon a Virgin Galactic customer to be able to experience this. But to have that power, to be able to sit and go to the Amazon, to go to the Himalayas, to go to the Gobi or in a drop in seconds, I think really to me is a very powerful tool to help realign ourselves as being part of a greater whole. But also having fun, which is also important. Everyone talks about climate change and it's all very depressing, but I think we've also got to get optimistic about it and take the challenge. And I'd like to throw it out to Google that I think this is a fantastic platform to maybe even launch a Google green version. Take that risk and create a 3-D resource where you can see what's going on in our planet with water resources, energy resources waste, all the other things that we are seeing happening. So to everyone who actually engineered that, congratulations. I think that's a real impressive tool. I think to me there's a bit of a sort of irony I guess in trying to get people to connect-- as he presses his buttons-- to connect to the natural world online. Are we trying to say to kids, we want you to get really enthused, but actually you're going to do it all from your bedroom online. And I think that is a big challenge that we're facing right now. And to me it's about balance. There's an interesting thing, an author called Richard Louv recently wrote a book phrase nature-- well he coined the phrase, nature deficiency disorder. And it's this notion really, that as individuals, we can go online and we can pool resources and we can find out everything we want to know about deforestation, we can find out about the Amazon, we can find out about all these things that are happening around our planet. But when was the last time that a child actually went outside and played in the woods or jumped in a stream or just basically hung out and watched the clouds go past. Sounds a bit hippyish that one. But actually to me, it's very important and was definitely an inspiration for me to really look at this notion of nature deficiency disorder that we're seeing in kids. And like I said, I think it is a balance. We need to use the powerful tools that are the web to engage, but we also need to I think get them to start to explore the outside and be part of the system so they realize there's this sort of false dichotomy, that it's nature and us. No, we're all actually on the same line. To me, I found this inspiration-- I'm not sure if this is working. No? OK. To me, I found my inspiration standing at the bottom of what was the Axel Heiberg Glacier. It's pretty intimidating, and that was at that point when I thought, you know what Dave, you're really got to be careful what you ask for in life. It was setting out on 100 day voyage across Antarctica. I was part of a four-man team, 1,600 kilometers, and I felt again like a speck of dust. And really for the next three months I was nothing more than a speck of dust on what is one of arguably the most majestic, environmentally-challenged and fragile continent on our planet. And you spend anywhere between 9 to 15 hours a day with your head down pulling a sled which weighs over 100, 200 pounds, and you have a lot of time to think. And for me, it was at that point that I think I really kind of grasped-- how cold it was-- but really-- as I was saying going back to this nature deficiency-- sort of really grasped this notion of our role on the planet and who we are as individuals. And it was at that point that I think I really realized that it was our ability to live on this planet that we're putting in jeopardy. Yes we have a fragile ecosystems that we have to protect, but we're protecting for a reason, it's for us. And I think when I started that challenge, when I went into that challenge, if I was to be completely honest, it was to sort of, I say to scratch an itch, but to-- you know, I'm always interested in what was going on outside the window rather than inside, and it was probably driven by natural curiosity, it was driven by maybe a bit of ego. I don't know, but it was driven probably from a slightly selfish place. And when I returned from this expedition, I realized that once you start to share the stories, and you start to talk about things, you'll naturally start to engage, you get people coming up to you and talking to you, and saying how do you do this, how do you do that. And what I realized was that actually this power of captivation and effectively what is storytelling, can either continue along the lines of, I am a polar hero, and I can do one-arm push-ups and all the other things that probably go with a huge sort of polar rhetoric that we get. And I thought actually you know what, it's not about that. It's about taking these issues and this captivation and using that as a powerful tool to actually realign ourselves, our understanding that it is about environmental responsibility. It's about us as individuals taking what is really a very complicated challenge, but also a very manageable challenge. I became a bit of an obsessed man. I became determined that I would tell my story-- I'm just going to quickly pour this in here. Sorry. I wanted to take this and move people away from seeing environmental crisis as a problem that was too abstract, that was too big to solve or too intimidating and see that actually we could all become a community of change. And how can we drive that change. For me my expedition it ended, the energy of the expedition was dissipating, and it was about capturing that momentum and using it for something. So I realized that after talking to people, there's a sort of common thread among human beings, and that is we are all dreamers. Maybe some more than others, but there's one demographic within society that are more dreamers than others, and that's children. And to me, the notion of taking a dream and taking it from that full process to making it reality is an adventure. And it was about, well we all then have an adventure inside of us. And it's how you perceive that adventure. It doesn't have to be climbing a mountain, swimming an ocean. It could be going on a date. It could be doing the dance with the tribe. It could be standing here today. What I was hoping to do was to take the notion of adventure and use it as a way to engage people and saying, actually the adventure that we should all be on is saving the planet. And so after I got back from Antarctica I launched Adventure Ecology. And the idea was to make learning an adventure. And the most important thing was finding the right mix. A mix that would educate but also entertain. A mix that could answer, yet challenge. And it was a mix ultimately that would let individuals make informed decisions. I was determined to say that no longer should green be about the activist on one side, or the dolphin-loving, rainbow-wearing guy on the other side. This was about taking it mainstream. This is about keeping it simple. Combining adventure, ecology, education. But also very importantly at a time when information technology is shaping the way we learn, the way we socialize, the way we interact with each other, it was obviously going to be a challenge as well. And to maximize this experience, to say, how do we create a platform that would engage the digital natives who are growing up with computers coming out of their ears-- not literally-- and the digital immigrants. For me it was about giving users the sense of control. The idea that we create mission control. This is a platform that would help the kids to interact. They'll be able to use the information that we were presenting them to create their own adventures. Every kid gets their own mission control, they get to create their own avatar, they use Eeks or they earn Eeks, which are an interactive reward system. But it was more than that. As I said going back to balance, it was about using the web, using this technology to inspire children and our users to go out and take their own real life, hands-on projects. Sustainable projects. And by using the platform that we've created, we are doing that right now. We've managed to create a platform that engages, it gives children the opportunity to learn on the issues, to share the issues, to act and to speak in a way that isn't intimidating, which is engaging. It gives them the opportunity to take these serious issues, make them something that they can own, take control of, and see themselves of being part of the problem to becoming part of the solution. Now the fun bit, as I'm saying, this is a shot from Ecuador. We've started to move now to getting kids to be able to use this technology to actually access us in real time when we're in the field. And I'll put something out there to the audience. It sounds far more impressive then it really is, and if there's anybody who knows how to take and help us get that to go further, I have this vision of one day Billy Bolton sitting in his bedroom and his mum's going , come down to dinner Billy, and he's like shut up mum, I'm telling the expedition to go over the mountains in Madagascar. You know, giving them that interaction, giving them that feeling would be amazing. We create this platform where kids get to come online. They get to follow us, we talk to them from the field, we give them interactions, we help them to access information through a customizable learning platform. Widget-based technology where they can use cartoons, the can use animations. But to me what's important, and what's really coming back to that notion of giving them a sense of power is about saying, if we give kids the tools to design the solutions, they will design them. We are seeing children leading these discussions right now. The more exciting, it's actually becoming a place where they empower us. And inspire us. I say that because we're seeing children mentoring and inspiring their peers every single day by creating projects that they then take back to friends, family, individuals. Recycling movement was a great idea. We saw the robot earlier. You're guaranteed that every one of those kids who sat in front of that robot has gone home straightaway and said, I either want a robot or you're going to start doing that every single day. And it's happening. What's fun for me as well is that we're changing. The explosion of new technology, the coming of age of the web has opened up a whole host of opportunities for us to be able to actually engage in a more exciting manner. I'm a gamer. I understand the allure of the virtual world and I know that there's a-- we saw a lot yesterday with Second Life. And there are conversations that you know, gaming, isn't it awful, it's making our kids go the wrong direction. But I think it's a powerful tool. And recently I had the pleasure of working with an agency called Oglivy, which you probably all know. And we basically thought about how could we get our message out to a wide audience. So I'm just going to run a little video of a fun thing we did. [VIDEO PLAYBACK] The reach of Second Life is tiny, with an average of just 20,000 people in world at any one time. It's not huge of significant by any means, but it seems that everyone in there is either a journalist or a blogger. That's why we decided Second Life was a natural place to get the world to hear Adventure Ecology's environmental awareness message. The world is in climate crisis. Tony Blair said global warming threatened 40% of the world's species with extinction, 200 million people with flooding, and the new economic concern, 20% of the world's wealth. The consequences for our planet, are literally disastrous. To bring the dangers of this crisis to life, we staged Second Life's first mass event-- a virtual flood. [MUSIC PLAYING] The shocked residents of Second Life found creative ways to cope. Adventure Ecology avatars directed Second Life residents to their website. Here, they could learn how to prevent this from happening in the real world. Within hours, the news services and influential bloggers had commented on Adventure Ecology's climate crisis event. The message has reached more than 18 million people globally. Whilst costing nothing to produce or run, this event led to Adventure Ecology experiencing a 54% increase in traffic to their website, with a ten-fold increase in blog mentions. Most people pay for media. We bought ours with a powerful idea that got talked about. This is not advertising, nor PR, nor digital. It's a whole new way of reaching a mass audience. [END VIDEO PLAYBACK] DAVID DE ROTHSCHILD: The planet. We think we have one-- well we only do have one actually. And right now, as probably some of you will know and read, we're living well past our means. We're actually living what they call a three-planet economy. And as you just saw from that, there are a number of tools available on the web, which I guess you can class as green technology. They give us the opportunity to basically further our understanding of the issues. But to me I don't think there are any quick fixes. I think that innovation is vital. I think we should keep pushing our boundaries, and I think we should keep trying to achieve those breakthroughs in green technology, and I admire the work that Frederic and my other distinguished guests are going to talk about. But to me personally, it's more importantly about changing our attitude, it's about creating a new ideology. About you know, living within our resources, living within our means. It's changing our relationship with nature to say that it's not just about what can we extract, it should be about what can we learn. It's about actually changing our own story of why we're here on this planet. I mean it's this ideology, we're driving ourselves to expand beyond our limits. I think it's because we've got this notion that this planet was put here exclusively for us. And to me, you know it's amazing to think that right now one species out of potentially anywhere between 30 to 100 million species, one species-- us-- it consuming 40% of the net prime reproductivity. That's all energy and food resources available to all other species. One species-- us-- is taking 50% of the planet's freshwater and leaving all the others to fight for what's left. And through all those stats, we can keep on talking about them, and they say, after a while he goes, I'm statted out, and I've seen the graphs, and I know it's all bad. But I think we all have to sort of stop and go back and look at our daily imprints. Really evaluate what we're doing in our everyday actions. Reducing our ecological footprint. And for what we're calling at the moment-- oh, a bug. I don't know how that got in there. That was meant to be the species slide. Huge bug. We'll move on from that one. What we're calling before our planet, and it's this notion of saying, yes it's about recycling, yes it's about reducing, and reusing. But more importantly, it's also about rethinking. As we saw in the beginning, it's about saying it's not waste management, it's resource management. We live in a closed system, and as we heard before, my waste is your treasure and your treasure is my waste. And so it's about introducing and getting this new mindset, and putting people into a place where they believe that they can make a difference, they can engage without feeling intimidated. It leads me on when we're talking about waste, I want to quickly touch on our next expedition. If I look around the room, under everybody's chairs, I think we've all got plastic bottles. And I've doesn't know how many plastic bottles would be consumed over the last day or so all throughout the conference. But basically what we want to try and do in the new expedition that's coming up in our series, we want to-- it's probably that many actually, I think I saw him leaving the back entrance earlier. The idea is we're looking to use really rethinking-- I'm flashing, so I'm going to hurry this one up-- basically rethinking our way, taking intelligent design technology and using kind of the true adventurer spirit of what was the Kon Tiki. We'll be building a craft made of plastic bottles which we'll be setting sail on. It's going to be called the Plastiki. It's going to be an adventure voyage to document ocean trash across the Pacific. We'll be leaving at the end of 2008, early 2009. It'll be probably 100 day or more voyage using the power of the web and using the power of all the tools we have available to connect us. I know we're short one time so I have to call it quits. So, thank you. I hope that we get to talk a bit more in a minute. Thanks. [APPLAUSE] SPEAKER: I'm going to let David go because it's only

Video Details

Duration: 25 minutes and 32 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Views: 443
Posted by: on Nov 14, 2010

David de Rothschild, founder of Sculpt the Future and, more recently, Adventure Ecology, speaks about individuals' collective capacity to make a difference in global warming and the power of interacting with, not just talking at, children.

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