Climate Confident

Climate Anxiety, Climaturity, and Water Offsets - A Chat with Liquid8 CEO Marc Cortez

November 23, 2022 Tom Raftery / Marc Cortez Season 1 Episode 97
Climate Confident
Climate Anxiety, Climaturity, and Water Offsets - A Chat with Liquid8 CEO Marc Cortez
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Show Notes Transcript

Today's podcast is a little different in that we're tackling two climate-related topics with the one guest: climate anxiety, and water shortages.

Marc Cortez is the author of Climaturity - A Journey To The Muddy Climate Middle, as well as being the founder and CEO of water neutrality company Liquid8.

I invited him to join me on the podcast to discuss both topics - his take on climate anxiety, as laid out in his book, Climaturity, and how his company Liquid8 aims to help organisations reach water neutrality.

This was a truly fascinating episode of the podcast and I learned loads as always, and I hope you do too.

If you have any comments/suggestions or questions for the podcast - feel free to leave me a voice message on my SpeakPipe page, head on over to the Climate 21 Podcast Forum, or just send it to me as a direct message on Twitter/LinkedIn. Audio messages will get played (unless you specifically ask me not to).

If you liked this show, please don't forget to rate and/or review it. It makes a big difference to help new people discover the show. Thanks.

And remember, stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

Music credit - Intro and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

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Credits
Music credits - Intro by Joseph McDade, and Outro music for this podcast was composed, played, and produced by my daughter Luna Juniper

Marc Cortez:

We have other businesses and homes save water. We can measure it, we can document it. And we validate those and we put those into a marketplace. And then if you're Coca-Cola, you say, look, I'm, I'm a hundred thousand gallons. I'm making up the number, but we're a hundred thousand gallons away from hitting our, our zero water quarterly goals. Let's buy those savings, let's buy the credits from other companies that, that have done that for us. If it's in the same watershed, then it's even better

Tom Raftery:

Good morning, good afternoon, or good evening, wherever you are in the world. This is the climate 21 podcast. The number one podcast, showcasing best practices in climate emission reductions. And I'm your host, Tom Raftery. Don't forget to click follow on this podcast in your podcast app of choice, to be sure you don't miss any episodes. Hi everyone. Welcome to the Climate 21 Podcast. My name is Tom Raftery, and with me on the show today, I have my special guest. Marc. Marc, welcome to the podcast. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Marc Cortez:

Sure. Thank you, Tom. My pleasure to be here. My name is Marc Cortez. I'm the, the CEO and founder of a company called Liquidate, a water conservation company based here in California, and the author of a book called, Climaturity, a journey into the Muddy Climate Middle. Thanks for having me.

Tom Raftery:

Climaturity. I like it. I like it. So tell me, mark, before we talk about Liquidate, tell me a little bit about the book Climaturity. What was the thinking behind it? What made you decide to write this book?

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, I I, I guess the, the last thing the world need is probably another climate book, right? But You know, I come from the renewable energy industry, specifically solar. I, I sold my first solar panel in 1999 on the northern tip of Africa back, back in the days when it was mostly off-grid applications. So I've spent almost a quarter of century in, in that, you know, on the front lines of the climate fight as it were solar electric vehicle infrastructure large utility scale energy storage. So, so have been working in this space for a long time. Uh, with a number of startups as well as established international companies. And then about five or six years ago, I got into teaching at the university level here in California and was working with a lot of, you know, young adults that are heading out into the workforce. And we in invariably we did projects and they of course, are very concerned about the climate. So I got to know a lot of 'em. And, hear you know, here are kind of the results of all that work over the years. And you know what, what surprised me was, I guess I wasn't too surprised, but what, intrigued me was this eco doom that they have as they're setting off into the, you know, these are young adults, 22. 23 year old adults going off into the world who literally think that they're not gonna be able to have kids because the climate is going to kill everyone. And as someone who started early on in these days, I got to thinking, man, how, how did we miss that messaging? You know, we, when we started this, this is not our, this was not our messaging. We knew what we were doing. We knew comparatively how, good we were compared to other energy sources. But it turned, it morphed over the past 10 years into something of just doom and gloom. And so, so I take it pretty personally because I was, I was involved in this industry for so long. And then also with my own, with my own kids. This whole idea that you know, this big cloud over overall, all the younger generation these days, that the climate is gonna just doom us all. And my own experience tells me that, that's just not true, first of all. But also I, I can't help but feel somewhat responsible for some of the messaging and, and and kind of letting it get away from us. So, so that's really what, started me to dig into it more. I've always been a consumer of climate science and climate information and I feel pretty confident in. You know, understanding it fairly well and, and quite well in many cases. And my own experience was starting to diverge with what I was hearing more and more in, the popular press and, and my own views were, pretty much down the middle away from the two polar extremes. So I just started writing about it and at some point I said, you know, this is as I was putting it out there on social media, I was getting a lot of responses about this, which was, Hey, we need to, you know, we need to have more open discussions about this. And so that kind of just led me down this whole path.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Okay. This is, this is something that we're hearing increasingly about climate anxiety in, in young people in particular. And it's one of the reasons that I wanted to set up this podcast initially was that there is a huge amount of bad news out there about climate and, you know, with good reason, I have to say. A lot of the stuff that's happening in the climate space is big and scary and it's gonna take an incredible amount of work to try and slow it, stop it, turn it around. But that's not to say we can't do it. So the whole raison d'etre behind this podcast is to highlight successful emissions reduction stories and strategies to educate and inspire more people to take action. That's the kind of mission statement of the podcast, if I can be so grandiose. So is, is that kind of what you're thinking with your book as well, that you want to try and highlight that kind of stuff, or is it that you want to change the messaging or a combination or what?

Marc Cortez:

I think, I think it's, just diving into all of that I'm with you on this. I think my overall premise is awareness is fantastic, right? We need, we need awareness. That's, that's let's give ourselves pats on the back for, for creating lots of climate awareness because we now have a generation of, of humans that are fully aware of this. Um, So that's great and, and I, I think that that's exactly what's, what's needed more of that, but, Awareness that turns into to panic. And this eco anxiety, I mean, this is a real thing. This is a new, a new mental health disease that we had to create because we've scared our kids. And that to me, you know, I, I can't think of any other industry. That actually ta has that as a pride point, right? Yay. Yay. We've scared our kids. You know this Greta Turnberg gal from Sweden who is now an adult, but you know, we've celebrated her incessantly for being scared. And I just, every time I see her, I wanna scream because you know, this is not a climate scientist. This is a, this is a woman who has. Is parroting the climate death messages that we have been basically shoving down her throat her entire life. So, love activism, but activism that turns into this sort of panic leads to really bad policies and, and a lot of miscommunication. We end up. We end up saying, oh my God, we have to do something. We have to do everything or else we're all going to die. And that just, that's just a bad strategy. And, and it has not produced, you know, my, my my feeling is it has not produced anywhere near the results that we need. And it is confusing things because right now I'll use the US as an example. You know, it's, it's a partisan issue and so in, let's see, we've got elections in two weeks, which means that the pendulum's gonna swing the other way. And hey, guess what? all this celebration that's been going on, because one side just got a big bucket of money, that big bucket of money's gonna dry up. And and we're gonna go nowhere. And so I, I sincerely believe that climate change is an important topic. It needs to be something that we all are dealing with, but it can't you know, it can't be. We can't, we can't come at it from a panicked perspective because it leads to really bad solutions. And and I think I would, I would cite our past 30 years of climate response, whatever you want to call it, as, as evidence of that. I think we haven't made nearly the types of progress that we probably could have with a more sane approach, I guess is the way, is a good way to put it.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah, I mean, there's a, there's a number of factors there, isn't there? I mean, there's, there's, the fossil fuel industry have poured huge amounts of money into lobbying to delay any action and to make sure that any legislation that's passed either slows down or makes policy change more favorable to the fossil fuel industry, which is just insane. And then the other big aspect, I think is the whole, as you pointed out, politicization of climate where one side thinks it's rubbish and the other side is like, oh no, we're all in trouble, so we gotta do something really fast. And this is something that should be bipartisan because climate doesn't care whether you're left wing or right wing or whatever. You know, the floods are still gonna come and destroy your house or the drought's gonna come and destroy your crop or whatever it is. This really shouldn't be political.

Marc Cortez:

Yeah. And um, you know, on the big oil side, I mean, it's a matter of public record. Now, what they did, I'm not a, I'm not a defender of big oil. We know what they did. They did it. They, uh, you know, lots of misinformation. They started this whole thing. But no one is innocent anymore. I mean, look, I, I, , I worked in solar for years. The renewable energy industry is, is guilty of the same thing. So let's not no one is clean in the clean energy game. So at this point, I don't even care. I, I think that's part of the message is you know, when you start off, when we started off in solar, We were David and Big Oil was Goliath. And so, from the very beginning it was in our DNA just to walk. You know, we wouldn't go any anywhere without having Goliath next to us because we had to make sure that everyone knew that we were better than this big, bad guy. So. just in, in the industry's DNA to hate big oil. But at this point, my view at this point is it's not helping. Let's, let's just be candid about it. I mean, it takes a lot of oil, it takes a lot of fossil fuels to make cleaner. Cleaner products. Okay. I mean, watch you know, any, I used to have arguments when I was in the solar business with manufacturers and they were telling me how clean these products were, and I'm looking at the tractor mowing down that mountain to get all the minerals and then the smoke coming out of the factory to make the solar modules right. This is not a clean process. These are, these are manufactured project products, just like EVs are, are incredibly dirty to manufacturers. There's nothing clean here. There. It's just progressively less worse than something else. So I think. So continuing to keep big oil in the, in our, in our gun sites, so to speak, is, I mean, we can continue to do it, but my view is it's just energy that we're wasting on not solving real problems. Oil is not going away. We need lots of it to, to make all of these better products. And a better policy would be let's at least acknowledge it and say, all right, well we, let's have a 20 year. 25 year phasing out of fossil fuels where we progressively use less and less and, and slowly decarbonize or decarbonize where it makes sense and not, not turn this into the left versus right issue, that it continues to be, because I'm bipartisan is the word. I, I, I'm firmly believe that we are not gonna make any, any significant progress on the climate. Again, speaking from the US perspective, unless it's bipartisan and I, I don't. You know, getting one senator to turn so it plays well for the media. I mean like legitimate support. Like imagine a president or or politicians saying, you know what, we actually need some oil to make all of these better products. Let's embrace it. Let's be honest about that cuz it's true. We're gonna, you know, we're gonna need it if we shut down the oil and gas industry tomorrow. There's no renewable energy industry, period. So it's just it's just sort of a matter of fact. And so I, I, I'm, I'm a believer in just having that discussion and putting it out there. Bipartisan support is an absolute must. And you know, until we, until we realize that and embrace that, I would put that front and center between every climate bill. It's gotta have support from both sides. And until that happens, I don't, I don't think that we're gonna make significant progress.

Tom Raftery:

Yeah, cuz I mean, as you said, we're, we're coming up on the midterm elections in the US and if the Republicans gain in the, the House of Congress or the Senate or both, then the progress that Biden's administration has made in the last couple of. And, and let's be honest, the progress that he has made has been minimal. I, I would say a lot of it was gutted. So that could be reversed very quickly and then well, I mean, okay. It, it's, it, we're speaking specifically about US politics now, but. The politicization has other casualties as well. We see there was a, a right wing government elected in Sweden just a few weeks ago, and they've they're doing away with the Ministry of Environment there. We've had a right wing coalition elected in Italy, and it remains to be seen what they're going to do, and it's kind of worrying. So, yeah, I, I don't know how we make it bipartisan globally. I really don't. I wish I knew and I, I think making the funding of political parties more transparent might be one way towards it.

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, I, I also believe you know, it, as much as we like to hate big oil companies, they were also some of the early innovators of the renewal energy industry. You know, BP Solar, I worked for them. And I, you know, they don't, they didn't have any altruism about 'em. They're mu, they're, they're a profit making company. So I think one of the issues is we gotta figure out how companies can make money saving the climate. So, you know, back the old movie, wall Street, Gordon Gecko, where he said greed is good. And so to paraphrase that, I would say in, in solar we always joke there was no green until there was green. the solar market was nothing. It was cabins and boats. Until we all this financial engineering came, came about and we figured out how we could actually make money at it. And now look at it. Now it's at, it's actually, you know, it's had double digit growth for the past 20 something years. So, so I don't think, profit is a terrible thing. And I think as once, once we figure out, You know, all these resources that are out there trying to make money, and I keep thinking these are resources. Once we figure out how to help them make money then that's part of the solution. So I'll use the EV world as an example. I'm not a big EV fan for lots of reasons, but, I mean this, it's an example of using all of that infrastructure, using all of those resources to help produce things that are better. And I think that's a, that's a good example of that.

Tom Raftery:

Mm. Yeah, I actually am a big EV fan, I have to say. I, I take your point that it requires lots of inputs to create an ev, but the, the latest studies now show that it's typically in about one year's driving, that you make up the carbon debt from the manufacturer of an ev and that doesn't take into account the likes of the Volkswagen plant, for example, in Zwikau which is fully renewably powered, which brings down the carbon debt of building those cars. So that's even less than a year. And in my case my electricity is 100% renewable from a renewable energy company, so that brings the carbon debt down even further. So it's well under a year plus, I've got a five kilowatt solar array on the roof, so I'm not pulling off the grid all the time either. So, you know, I and, and the batteries from EVs are fully recyclable. So it's not a, you know, it's, Take it, drive it for 30,000 kilometers and then dump the battery and get a new one. No, the, the batteries typically last about 350,000 kilometers now, which is the lifetime of a, of a, an EV in Europe or of a, of a car in Europe, not just an ev. So, and these things are improving all the time. The new 46 80 batteries from Tesla, have a reputed lifetime of about 3.6 million kilometers, which is 10 times the life of a European car. So, you know, these things are getting better and better and better all the time. So, anyway, we'll, we'll we'll get off that topic and we'll, we'll move on to something else and

Marc Cortez:

Let before we do, sorry, let me jump in on that. The EVs, I, I, I think EVs are fantastic techs. I love driving a Tesla, they're fantastic cars. From a product standpoint, I think they're fantastic. So, when I say not a huge fan of EVs in terms of priority of, of other climate, potential climate solutions. And so what the way I look at it is the climate problem is basically an over consumption problem. Okay? So we're just using too much stuff. So the idea that we can just continue to make more stuff and somehow make things better is is not, you know, it just doesn't make sense to me. So, I mean, if you're buying, if you're making EVs, you are making the problem worse. Now, you, you can take credit for making it less worse than other cars. But I mean, if you really wanna make things better, you, you stick that car in a garage and you figure out another way to do it. Right? That's, I mean, if, if the goal is to lower CO2

Tom Raftery:

Yeah. Getting the

Marc Cortez:

EVs, Yeah, right. EVs, I mean, a better solution is, you know, telecommute one day a week and you've just saved 20%. Right?

Tom Raftery:

Be or better.

Marc Cortez:

this is kind of my, this is kind of my point. So I love EVs. I think they're great cars. They're so much fun to drive. I mean, you get in and, and you know, I mean, driving down, the street with the, the Tesla Karaoke is just a blast, right? I mean, who, it's, it's like, it's, it's absolute. They're, they're just fun. But I, but I, you know, I don't kid myself to think that they are masquerading as climate salvation cuz they're not. And they're, they're better. But they're, they're only less worse, right? They're not, they're not, we're not sucking CO2 outta the atmosphere. We're actually adding CO2 in the whole process. So, that's part of what, what, you know, my point is with the book and just the, the whole mindset is it kind of, it kind of tricks us a bit, right? It, it lets, it gives us a false sense of success. That, hey, if I buy an ev I've made things so much better. And, and when I do the math, I'm like, well, We've actually made it worse. We've just made it less bad than other stuff. So that's, that's, that's

Tom Raftery:

No, that's fair. That's fair. I mean, the likes of using public transport or getting on a bike are far, far better than having an ev just, or using it far less and, and using public transport. I'm not sure what the public transport situation is like where you are, but it's quite good here, for example. So it's for me. There's a, a metro stop, couple of hundred meters away from the front door of the house here. I can get in that, be in the center of Seville here in 10, 15 minutes maximum for a cost of like one Euro 50, you know? So, and, and, and why wouldn't you in that scenario? Because if you try and drive the car into the center of Seville and try and find parking there, it's a nightmare. So, you know, in that scenario, and I think that speaks a lot to cities. And their place in this, and they need to be, you know, discouraging private car use and encouraging public transport by doing initiatives like that.

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, and you can imagine that that sort of a message in, in California, so , it's not that, you know, car culture. So look, I'm not saying necessarily it's the most practical thing, but like, to your point, you know, where I live in a small college town, so I can actually get around quite well, but if you're in Los Angeles you know, good, good luck. And so I, I'm just, my point is we we're, we've seem to have. Again, back to the panic. The panic of this. We've just rushed to all the other, the solutions that we think are going to make the most most impact or are the easiest to implement without too much thought as to whether or not they're going to make the, the sort of impact that perhaps we think they're going to. To make. So, so when I, back to my statement where I said, I'm not a big fan of EVs, well, I we're throwing so much money at it, and when I do, when I look at the comparative ranking of how much CO2 benefit we're gonna get from it, it's not very much. It's really not very much. In fact, it's at the bottom of the list. So in terms, you know, you'd have much more impact spending that same amount of money reforesting the, the southwest of the, of the us. So anyway, that's part of the challenge here is to sort through all those things.

Tom Raftery:

And what other measures would you, would you think would make more sense than spending so much on EVs?

Marc Cortez:

Well, I think. You know, conservation is a real thing. I, I, you know, I, I, when, in California, when we wanted people to adopt solar, we paid them, we paid them to change. It wasn't rocket science. We, we gave them rebates to change their behavior. My company liquidate is doing the exact same thing. We, water conservation drought is something we live with every day. So how do you get people to save water? You know, we keep, we spend, we keep scratching our heads and waiting for government to come in and solve this problem. Pay people to save water, they'll save water. This is, you know, this is tried and true. So, that's exactly what my company is doing. And uh, morality of offset aside, cuz I know people I, you know, I know that that's a, a hot button issue for a lot of people, but if the goal is to save water, there's ways to save water. And so I, I, I'm a believer in incentivizing, if we want behavior to change, Then let's incentivize that. And so one of the, one of the things that that bothers me about our current approach to the climate is, We're calling an emergency, and yet we're, we're ensuring that no one has to change any of their behavior, So we're gonna change all of the way that we're gonna generate electricity. Keep using everything that you're always using. That's all right. Continue to over consume. We will just spend trillions to make the grid cleaner. Keep driving everywhere that you wanna drive. We'll just make sure that the cars are a little bit cleaner. That's not exactly changing anything, is it? This, this is not a sea change, it's just continuing to incentivize the same behavior. The analogy I use in my, in my book is we're we're a hundred pounds overweight and we have a 20 donut a day habit. And now we're saying The way I'm gonna lose weight is I'm gonna cut that 20 donut a day habit down to five, and I'm gonna take credit for, for not eating those 15 donuts At the end of the day, I'm still five donuts fatter. Right. I'm not getting skinnier. And that's to me where, where these policies are going. So, Conservation is one thing. You know, carbon removal, I'm a big fan of carbon removal. It never gets talked about. I know I've heard some of your podcasts that address some of these things, but natural means investing in technologies to do that. And then certainly adaptation. You know, we're, we're not here in California, a great example with all these wildfires, you know, we're, we're, rather than going and trimming the trees and taking some fire mitigation measures that we could have taken, we've decided instead that we're gonna try to lower global temperatures. Right. So, so, you know, I keep, my joke is, we're saving the, the forest by burning the trees. It doesn't quite make sense. So, so that's, that's part of the discussion. I, I, I like to have is, is in terms if CO2 is the, is the culprit man made, CO2 is the culprit, which are the things that are gonna have the greatest impact on that, the quickest. Like it or not, the best thing that happened to the climate in the past 20 years was covid. Hate to say it, but I have a hard time even saying that sentence, but in the US we cut our emissions by double digits in one year. What 20 years of climate policy haven't been able to do. So that tells you something. It was painful, we did it, but it's possible. And so, you know, the fastest way to cut to lower total CO2 is to use less stuff. It's just, true,

Tom Raftery:

Hmm. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And you mentioned liquidate. Talk to me about that. What is that You mentioned it's offsets for water. That's, that sounds interesting and novel and not something I've heard talked about before. Apart from on the prep call for this call,

Marc Cortez:

Yeah. So, you know, I know offsets again, is a, is a bit of a hot button issue and I, I, I separate them into credits and offsets cuz credits are really I mean, that's. I know we, we, we talk about credits in the carbon world as sort of the, the right to pollute, right? And but I would offer that that's true of all of our, all of our climate efforts are, are basically offsets Because if you think about it, if you, if you install solar on your house and you're supposedly replacing or displacing. Capacity at a coal plant, for example, you're, you're essentially offsetting it and you're, you're banking on this potential future savings that may or may not ever happen. So offsets and credits like this have been around the energy market for decades. And so having worked in that, I got to thinking, well, why couldn't we do the same thing with water? California drought is, is a daily concern of ours. I keep seeing companies like Coca-Cola that have these big public goals that say, I mean, they say it, right? They're in their annual report. For every gallon of water we use we give one back. We're gonna be a zero water company, which is pretty incredible considering you sell water right?

Tom Raftery:

Yeah.

Marc Cortez:

Your number one product is liquid. And so how do you, how are you going to, to make sure that you have zero liquid coming outta your building? It's an impossible goal, right? And so your, your, your options are, well, I'll go find new water. Well, good luck. I can go restore watersheds, which are in the multiple dozens of, of millions of dollars to do that. I can replace all of the infrastructure in my buildings and just make it you know, better and more efficient, which is great to do. But as sustainability directors tell us, you can't conserve your way to zero. I mean, it's just you can't get there. They sell water for crying out loud. You know, you're never gonna get to zero. How do you do that? Well, the way that you do that is you have other people do it for you. And so, that's ex exactly what this is. We have other businesses and homes save water. we can measure it, we can document it. And we validate those and we put those into a marketplace. And then if you're Coca-Cola, you say, look, I'm, I'm a hundred thousand gallons. I'm making up the number, but we're a hundred thousand gallons away from hitting our, our zero water quarterly goals. Let's buy those savings, let's buy the credits from other companies that, that have done that for us. If it's in the same watershed, then it's even better. And so that's the concept behind liquidating what we're doing. It's very similar to the carbon market only with water. It's it's so that's, that's the basis

Tom Raftery:

Nice. Nice, nice. And what kind, I mean, you, you, you mentioned that you can measure the, the water savings. What kind of measures can people take from a practical perspective to save water? And how do you then measure that?

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, I think one of the things that we you know, one of the great advantages of the electricity market is now with all these metering and electronic meters, you can get a pretty fine level of detail about electricity usage and things like that. That's one of the big differences in the water market is that level of fidelity is not quite there. So, so we're working with smart meters and then now there's a retrofit smart meter market that's emerging here in California where you can just strap on these devices to actually measure the flow that's coming in and out of a house or or a building. So we tap into those and just pull the data right off that. But even if it's old school, we can use utility bills and, and say, well, you know, August of this year versus August of last year, we, we, can we make some calculations based on that? Here's your baseline. And then going forward we can measure against that baseline. And then what we do is we, we put 'em into a bit of a kind of an escrow account, and we say, all right, we think that this, we think that you saved a hundred gallons. Based on your, your past usage. And we put that into a validation process. And then once that validation process is complete, then then it goes into the, the marketplace and gets offered up for sale. So, so metering, understanding your water bill it's amazing what happens. There's been lots of studies that as soon as you start measuring something and noticing something, You tend to use less of it because it's just human nature. So part of our platform is going to be offering incentives you know, for homeowners and businesses. So if you say every gallon of water you save, you get money back, you get rebates for it. And so that's part of when we sell a credit a chunk of that goes back to the water saving the water savers. So it becomes a, a dynamic marketplace.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. And what kind of initiatives are you recommending people undertake for saving water? I know in our house here, the best initiative I could undertake would be to have my kids move outta home.

Marc Cortez:

Right. Yeah. Well, to to that point, you know, one of the things that we're developing is sort of a gaming system to help kids to help kids understand their water usage. And when I first did some initial prototypes, I had my daughter's 12. But she was about eight at the time, and I, I, I had each home create like a little avatar. So we created a little goldfish. And so the goldfish would thrive or not thrive depending on your, how, how you much water you use relative to your baseline. And in some, in some of my initial prototypes we made this little goldfish called Elmer. It had like a Elvis Presley hair and some big nerdy glasses, and it was very cute. And then one day we used too much water and, and she pulled it up and Elmer was dead and she got very upset about this. So I said, all right, note to self, don't kill Elmer. Don't kill the fish. So, so we've gamified it to some, to some extent that that's, that's gonna be a future thing. But you know, to, to just help people understand how much they use. That's one thing that's always a big thing metering. But, you know, watering your lawn less, or in my case, I'm actually gonna replace it with some zeroscape and maybe some turf. Just so just eliminate that part of it completely. Just to, just to avoid that. There's lots of, lots of ways, fix leaks you know, use water. Just be way more aware of it than and it's not that hard to do from a water perspective. It's just not that hard to do. Electricity wise here in California, when we're getting near blackouts, there are services that will, will notify you and say, Hey, if you turn your lights off between seven and eight tonight, we'll give you, we'll give you rebates. So it's, it's direct it's management of potential you know, outages going forward. And so they call 'em Ohm hours from seven to eight turn off you know, as many lights as possible and conserve as much as possible for, you know, for every kilowatt hour that you are below your baseline will give you five bucks or a pizza or something like that. So there's lots of different incentives that can do that, but it starts with awareness. Where we started this conversation with awareness is a good thing. Awareness is definitely a good thing.

Tom Raftery:

Okay. Is it possible to get kind of a granular reading from your water use to know that, you know, this particular room used this much or this particular devices used this much or, or is it just whole home readings that you get?

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, and it's a really mixed bag. That was one of the things that we've discovered. You're starting to see that level of granularity come out with some of the new metering systems where there's a lot of just intelligence where you know, there's the obvious ones where at four in the morning, And you've got a big water, bill, you know some, and you're using water and no one's up, then chances are you've got a leak. That's, that's, that's the first thing that they started. But you're starting to see now a lot of nuances. You can, you can map shower usage, you can map dishwasher usage, and you can start to see patterns. And so those are starting to emerge. But I have to say it's it's few and far between right now. It's, those things are just now coming out into the marketplace. So there's a long way to go. There's a long way to

Tom Raftery:

Still early days. Still early days. Cool. Okay, Marc, we're coming towards the end of the podcast now. Is there any question that I haven't asked that you wish I had or any aspect of this we haven't touched on that you think it's important for people to be aware of?

Marc Cortez:

Well, I, I, you know, in general, I always like to again, promote a, a message of it's not as bad as we think . And you know, I know that, I know that if we, if we pick up all the all the news media reports either there's gonna be one side that just ignores it completely. But, but most of the things that we read are are just so apocalyptic and dire and it's hard to walk away with that. You know, hopeful. And I, you know, I always remind people that everything that we're doing on the climate is trying to predict the future. And every, you know, we've got models based on models, based on models filled with some bit of science, but it's, it's mostly conjecture and for a good reason, and this is, this is open knowledge, right? We've created scenarios to help us try to understand and plan the future, but, The ones that get communicated are typically the ones that are most dire and most extreme that would cause us the most anxiety. And that part of it's worked. I think the reality is just a completely mixed bag and there's lots of things that we're in the middle of. That are helping, there's lots of ways that we can actually help and the situation for our kids is not nearly as as dire as you might read in some of the big, huge newspapers. And so that's always a message that I like to come across with is the answer lies somewhere in between. And again, that's the, the muddy climate middle as I call it, because it's a, it's a little bit scary to be down the middle with this when there's two big, huge extremes on the other sides. But that's, that's actually the, the. The reality of it. And we're starting to see a lot more attention paid to that and an understanding of that, which is you know, there, there are some solutions and there are ways that we can make this better. And perhaps the, the future, the immediate future is not nearly as dire as we've been tricking ourself into thinking. So, so that's a message of of hope and it's not, it's not a, it's not a vapid one where me, it's just saying that there's a lot of evidence that says that uh, you know, the, the, the truth is somewhere in between here. And I would just say, let's continue to have open dialogues and keep searching for this truth because it is an ever moving target. So, so we're not done. You know, the more information we have, the more conversations we have, the more we need to be really digging into the truth and coming up with real practical solutions for this.

Tom Raftery:

Cool. Cool. Great. Marc, that's been really interesting. If people would like to know more about yourself or any of the topics we discussed in the podcast today, where would you have me direct them?

Marc Cortez:

Yeah, my if they're interested in my book and just different thoughts on the climate, it's climaturity.com, so it's available there. I am available on LinkedIn, Marc Cortez, and I, I write a lot there and of. Put a lot of information out there about the climate and some of the work that we're doing with liquidate. So those are two very good sources.

Tom Raftery:

Perfect. I'll link to those in the show notes. Great, mark, that's been fantastic. Thanks a million for coming in the podcast today.

Marc Cortez:

Thanks so much, Tom.

Tom Raftery:

Okay, we've come to the end of the show. Thanks everyone for listening. If you'd like to know more about Climate 21, feel free to drop me an email to Tom Raftery at outlook.com, or connect with me on LinkedIn or Twitter. If you like the show, please, don't forget to click follow on it in your podcast application of choice to get new episodes as soon as they're published. Also, please don't forget to rate and review the podcast. It really does help new people to find the show Thanks. Catch you all next time.

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