Many of the world’s most pressing challenges, such as energy demand, the need for increased food production, water scarcity, climate change and desertification are closely intertwined. We believe that we need integrated solutions to face these intertwined problems. The solution for one sector should not come at the expense of another.
Within this framework of a more integrated approach we are convinced that “trends can be turned”. It will not happen by launching even more doomsday prophesies and it will not happen by closing our eyes. Trends can be turned by combining understanding of the challenges and knowledge of new solutions with an innovative spirit and hard work.
To use the words of a man who was the catalyst for many great changes, Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ” This is why we are proposing to rethink the way we utilize our resources and rethink the design of the production systems that is set up to create growth.
The traditional Extractive use of resources has led to unprecedented growth, but also to tremendous environmental and social challenges. For more than twenty years a more Sustainable use of resources has been set as the target and it still remains a key concept in shaping our future. However, in a number of areas establishing a sustainable balance will not be enough. We believe that in such cases it is a need to move beyond this approach and realize a Restorative use of resources for growth that counters environmental and social challenges.
Traditionally our production systems are set up as a linear process – transferring resources into products, but also ending up with various waste-streams as a consequence. In biological systems this linear process is very rarely encountered. Organisms that waste resources and energy have very low chances for success. With nature as an inspiration we have designed a technological system where the waste product from one technology is used as resource for another. This integrated technological system allows for harvesting beneficial synergies and increased efficiencies of the individual technologies.
Based on this thinking we have therefore set a pretty ambitious target for The Sahara Forest Project. We want to enable a restorative growth defined as “Revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity”
In other words: It needs to be good for the environment, good for people and provide long term economic viability.