This week, we are writing from the beautiful Crescent City of New Orleans as guests of Accenture Strategy. We are participating in a conference aptly named Planet:Tech as part of a select group of eleven IMPACT startups invited by Accenture Strategy to “Showcase sustainable growth priorities and highlight the value startups bring to market [as a] critical connection to the success of a circular economy.”
We are at a point in civilization where sustainable growth priorities are the only way forward. Leading organizations like Accenture Strategy have learned, through their interaction with thousands of companies of all sizes, that technological innovation can help us realize sustainable growth without painful compromises.
Events like Planet:Tech highlight the importance of innovation to ensure we grow in a way that can make a difference for all in our new “circular economy.” We are honored to have been selected by Accenture Strategy’s Global Sustainability Practice as one of “11 of the world’s most impactful startups” being highlighted at the Planet:Tech conference. We were selected to participate in the conference as an “IMPACT startup” based on five criteria including product maturity, growth potential, and ability to execute. The eleven startups showcased at this event were chosen precisely for our potential to impact planetary issues through innovative and sustainable clean energy, engineering, packaging, and much more.
The Black Marble: Civilization’s footprint is made clear by the darkness of night.
Shining a Light on Our Global Impact
A circular economy, where business, technology, and sustainability are increasingly interconnected, provides us with a macro lens from which we can collectively make decisions on where to focus our innovation efforts. This is not just an underlying theme of the Planet:Tech conference, it is a holistic and important framework that can be used to address some of the most pressing global issues of our time, such as that of our warming planet.
Humanity’s impact on our planet becomes visually evident when you take a look at the new nighttime satellite images recently released by NASA. Scientists refer to these images as ‘Night Lights,’ which NASA has released every decade since the 1990s. NASA explains that daytime images show us natural landscapes (forests, deserts, mountains and rivers) as well as human landscapes (especially the footprint of cities). Yet, “Add a nighttime view, and scientists can study when and how people are using these limited resources—like the lights tracing the Nile River leading to the metropolis of Cairo, Egypt.”
These fascinating night pictures put the “potential to impact planetary issues” into perspective by showing the impact of human activity on our planet. At the Tumblr location where NASA posted these images, they indicated that the image above, dubbed the Black Marble, is the “First new global map of Earth at night since 2012. This nighttime view of our home planet provides researchers with a unique perspective of human activities around the globe.”
Just Follow the City Lights
Apart from the beauty of human ingenuity lighting up the night sky, these images reveal just how pervasive civilization is on Earth and the need to approach solutions with a global impact mindset. Researchers use these pictures from NASA satellites to track all kinds of human activity—ranging from economic growth and human migrations to development and environmental impact. In these cases, the lights truly do tell the story. NASA scientists indicate, “By studying Earth at night, researchers can investigate how cities expand, monitor light intensity to estimate energy use and economic activity, and aid in disaster response.”
We believe cities form the intersection where business and technology innovation can make the biggest impact. As discussed in our January 10 post (Cities as the Engines of Sustainability), cities are the engines behind 80% of the world’s economic output. However, they also consume 80% of the world’s energy supply and emit 75% of the world’s carbon emissions. To positively impact progress and the environment, our focus needs to be on making cities super-efficient and clean energy users.
Companies like Joi Scientific are working at the crossroads of business and technology to give cities (where we can have the most impact in terms of sustainability) clean energy options that can complement the world’s energy mix, without economic compromises. Innovation of this kind, alongside the impactful technologies from the other ten companies here, can ensure that the nightly contours of our continents, as depicted in NASA’s ‘Night Lights’ images, continue to shine brightly on our Black Marble planet for the millennia.
As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.