- 25 November 2013
A clean future is inevitable
Evan Williams is an American entrepreneur who has co-founded several Internet companies, including Pyra Labs (creators of Blogger) and Twitter. He also co-founded The Obvious Corporation and is working on a yet another publishing platform, called Medium.
He spoke at Climate Week NYC in September 2012 on the way new technologies can help catalyze a Clean Revolution.
"I guess as the entrepreneur from California, I’m ending this, a great group of presenters, on an optimistic note. At least that’s probably my job.
"I’m actually a farm boy from Nebraska as well, which may be why I connected to this issue deeply.
"But I am an optimist. I believe the green clean future is inevitable. It will come because it is technologically possible. And it’s economically superior. What we do in Silicon Valley is we move forward new technologies. We disrupt markets. And we replace incumbents with new, better solutions.
"The question is: How long will it take and how can we speed it up? My view is that The Climate Group is absolutely on the right track when they talk about “We have to reframe the challenges as opportunities.” And I would go further and say that we need to stop talking about climate at all – at least when speaking to the general public.
"We have to focus on the solutions that route around the impediments, to create models that we can all follow.
"One of my investments is a food company that makes an alternative meat product and that is – it’s called Beyond Meat – looks and tastes just like chicken. It happens to be delicious and it’s flying off the shelves. What we don’t talk about when selling that product is that at scale, we can produce protein three times more efficiently than chickens. And it just makes sense because we’re growing that out of vegetable protein and we’re not discarding the bulk of an animal.
"And I recently bought a new car. I bought it after driving my friend’s car of the same type. It goes from 0 to 60 in four and a half seconds. It seats five people. It’s the smoothest car I’ve ever driven – has this beautiful dashboard and interface. And it happens to be 100% electric – the Tesla Model S.
"These are small steps in the right direction. But I think they’re important because they demonstrate that technology can provide solutions that aren’t – that don’t require sacrifices. And they can also be profitable.
"And as we explore, and as more of these types of solutions are established, my hope is that they’ll dislodge money that will be invested in more entrepreneurs and more technologies. They’ll dislodge stuck political processes that are held by fears that there’re sacrifices and we can’t afford these types of solutions. And they’ll change people’s minds about what a cleaner, greener future means."
Watch the speech recorded live at Climate Week NYC: