Troy Carter and Patrick Leung on preventing speculative boom around the $5T carbon potential of degraded land

Troy Carter and Patrick Leung of Earthshot Labs discuss how compelling visualisations through their simulator impact our regenerative transition on a global scale. 



If landowners and stewards could visualise what regeneration would look like on their lands, what option would they have in the context of regeneration? What are the financial, environmental, and social benefits it would yield? Is visualising the potential of landscape really the missing puzzle piece? 

Restoring the Planet

The mission of Earthshot is to engage in “ecological restoration at a planetary scale” as they believe that nature’s restoration has holistic benefits for humans. Hence, they devised a plan that would help them attain this mission. Their first step was measurement, which allowed them to create an accurate model of ecosystems (forests, soil, water, biodiversity, etc.) followed by their vision, which is creating a platform that will show the stakeholders (landowners, policymakers, investors, etc.) a tangible visualisation of their lands if they apply certain regenerative practices. 

“So we essentially took existing academic literature and extended it using additional data sources and additional methods.” – Troy Carter

LandOS: The Simulator

Earthshot called the platform they created “LandOS”, a simulator that although has limitations as it’s still being developed, has datasets that can be utilised on a global scale, with the help of other sources. Earthshot partners with groups inside and outside Europe that have been doing regenerative practices and learns from them. At the moment, Earthshot is involved with the largest reforestation organisations to learn their best practices in terms of reforestation and land reforestation on a much bigger and automated scale. 

“It’s our intention to be able to provide different regenerative agricultural scenarios to be played out in the simulator.” – Patrick Leung

Realising The Value

We should not undermine the power of visualisation, for it helps the landowners realise the real value of their lands upon restoration. Aside from the possible emotional connection they might feel in the simulation, there’s also the indispensable aspect such as the economic impact as these lands, when restored, could actually increase their agricultural productivity that ultimately leads to a dramatic increase of their value. Through their compelling visualisations using techniques that have never been applied at a landscape level before, Earthshot can appeal to landowners and policymakers to step up and make decisions that will benefit everyone in the next decades to come. 

“We know it’s possible. We can imagine that these techniques can be applied at landscape level all across the world. But we need to show a compelling simulation to policymakers.” – Troy Carter

The Unintended Consequences 

There are “unintended consequences” that arise whenever people try to come up with solutions to a specific problem that can be incentivised, like planting billions of bamboo to sequester carbon fast. While this kind of practice may actually help with the underlying issue, carbon removal, this may cause another problem such as monoculture, that ultimately results in an imbalanced ecosystem or the loss of biodiversity. This is why Earthshot aims to develop a culture of land restoration that not only helps nature but also has valuable economic returns with minimal, if not zero, damage to the planet. 

“I think that we would go a long way towards helping to set a bar there. This should be done in a holistic way that’s good for everyone, good for the animals and the beings on the land as well as for us the humans that essentially are the stewards of that land.” – Patrick Leung

Other Points Discussed:

Koen, Troy, and Patrick also talked about:

  • how measurement is the fundamental problem we have now;
  • how Troy wishes to have a comprehensive understanding of small and big water cycles on land, climate modeling, and such, so he could provide the best recommendations for landowners;
  • how Patrick wishes to have collected best possible datasets for their bio map; 
  • how we should reward the ecological stewards that preserve our ecosystems; and 
  • how we should invest in de-risking reforestation and look for innovative intervention backed up by the indigenous community and science. 

To know more about Troy Carter, Patrick Leung, and Earthshot Labs, download and listen to this episode. 




Feedback, comments, suggestions? Reach me via Twitter @KoenvanSeijen, in the comments below or through Get in Touch on this website.

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The above references an opinion and is for information and educational purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

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