The Social Innovation Podcast had the chance to talk to Mick Liubinskas, a co-Founder of Climate Salad, an online community dedicated to fostering and developing the climate and sustainability industry in Australia. Mick shares with us what made him leave the tech world and commit to climate and how we can all look around and ask, “What more can I be doing?”.
This episode is hosted again by Zal Dastur. Zal, has been an entrepreneur for the last 14 years and has turned his attention to helping solve the climate crisis in the best way he knows how, helping for-planet businesses develop and grow. As an active advisor and investor, Zal has impacted dozens of companies in the climate space, helping them to reach their potential to do the maximum good for the planet.
Some of the topics that Zal and Mick discussed:
  • Being a private environmentalist
  • How an individual message changed Mick’s life
  • What good entrepreneurship looks like
  • The genesis of Climate Salad
  • Comparing carbon to dollars (starting to sound familiar!)
  • The role of consumers in solving the climate problem
  • What should a burger REALLY cost?
  • When do we realize this is a crisis?
Other titles we considered for this episode:
  1. Maybe It’s Time You Get In This Game
  2. Startup Helping Startups
  3. A Massive Sense of Urgency
  4. People Are Dying Right Now
  5. More Opportunities Than You Think

Read the best-effort transcript below (This technology is still not as good as they say it is…):

Zal Dastur 0:00
Hi, everybody, and welcome to the Social Innovation Podcast. I’m here with Mick Liubinskas, who is the founder of Climate Salad, which is actually an Australian Slack channel dedicated to connecting entrepreneurs and investors. And I’ll just let Mick say a few words and introduce yourself. Thanks.

Mick Liubinskas 0:19
So yes, co founder of Climate Salad. We are a network that helps climate tech companies in Australia and New Zealand, get to global scale and solve climate problems by helping them find teams build products, get customers and raise capital. So they’re doing the hard work, we’re just supporting and make their life slightly easier.

Zal Dastur 0:41
I mean, that’s not that’s not really the only thing that you do and climate space. Is it right there, you definitely are involved with a few other companies and as an investor and advisor. Yes.

Mick Liubinskas 0:49
So I got deeply into climate about six years ago, and I’ve slowly been learning this new craft. I’ve been tech guy for many, many years, but predominantly software devices and way back when doing desktop software, which was a long, long time ago. And I’ve been working with a lot of companies and various levels. So probably worked with about 100 Climate tech companies over the last few years, directly invested as with a major role in two companies, Cecil Earth, which is an age based solutions and ripe robotics, which is changing the way agriculture picks fruit. So fruit vegetables, so trying to reduce waste on the farm by robotics. And then I’ve done through syndicates invested in about eight companies through Ozzy angels, and also Angel List climate tech companies. So everything from everything from kelp burgers to smart windows and hydrogen, so yeah, looking at good to be diversified and help where I can.

Zal Dastur 1:47
So you said that you’ve been doing this or you’ve been learning about it six years was there. I’m always curious to understand like, what was there an event was there something that took place that made you stop

Mick Liubinskas 1:59
paying really there was I moved to the US, and really realized that whilst I loved my time in tech, I was looking for something new. I was always a private environmentalist. You just love doing it. I mostly sort of my private life rather than my work. And I worked across health tech, education, tech, all kinds of different technologies. I watched a couple of documentaries read a couple of books as I was kind of primed and ready. But But by far, the biggest thing was my best friend in the world who 20 years ago decided to leave his high paying gig and learn about climate and has dedicated his life to it. He works for a company called Principles of responsible investment in the UK, that advises big pension funds, super funds on private offices, like Blackrock on understanding climate, finance, climate risk, and then the when Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris Agreement, I messaged him as a good friend does and says, your job just got harder. And he we used to play competitive basketball together. And he ping me back at just a one line, which changed my life, which just said, Yep, maybe it’s time you got in the game. And it was a very, it was a very subtle, but I took it, I was like, Look, I’m a dad of three. And he attached the IPCC latest report and a couple of other documents. And one of the great things about me moving to the US was it gave me a time away from the Australian industry to think about different things in different ways. And, you know, just went to a cafe, read all these documents. And once you once you see the reality of what’s what we’ve done to the environment, you can’t unsee that. And again, as a data, three kids, I still was like, Can I do something to help here? And, and I was like, Look, I think this is my new thing. I’m gonna go explore it. And it’s a challenge. I’m 1% in but I’m loving it.

Zal Dastur 3:41
You know, something that you said was, once you see it, you can’t unsee it part of the problem that a lot of people, maybe they just don’t see it at the moment. And you know, once you once you’ve seen it, you’re like, how can you be so ignorant to this, but the reality is that, whatever that tipping point, everybody has faced at different places that are trying to be on this journey. If somebody hasn’t gone through that personally, they will struggle to find those.

Mick Liubinskas 4:03
Recognize, again, my path was very privileged in dozens of ways. And I had that massive influence of a close friend in the time and opportunity to go and do these things. But it’s so many of the benefits of what we’ve done to the environment have accrued to people like me and me personally. And I can sit back and be like, Hey, not my problem. But you know, I’m going to see the effects. We’re seeing the effects, I’m going to see worse effects on my kids. And it’s like, I’m really lucky to be have been involved in industry where if you invest in anything, two years later, you’ll see the results of it, not immediately, no, no instant gratification. But I know if you if you spend time building a product and MVP, and two years later, you can have happy customers and solve some problems. It was really easy for me to reverse engineer back from 2030 and be looking at my kids who would be you know, in their late teens being like, how could you dad? How could you live like that? How could you drive a combustion engine And then eat meat and pollute the world and the only the only thing I can do to, to allay that guilt is to basically to work my butt off and try to solve as much of a problem as I can with the added benefit of I might actually help a bit. Yeah, like I think I’m incredibly privileged and I don’t begrudge anybody. It’s I’ve got cynics in my family and friends and I never asked him to do anything. And I think actually good entrepreneurship isn’t about saying, hey, everybody has to get on the green bandwagon and change their whole lives and spend more money. I think that’s the best entrepreneurship is indistinguishable from real magic. And it should just be you know, the best tasting burger in the world as a kill burger. And the best car is a is a Evie. And we’ve got to make them better products. We cannot rely on the world The world is is not that privileged, unfortunately. And we can’t rely on it. We certainly can’t say to the developing world’s I know that we just developed for 100 years using cheap energy. But no, you can’t do it. So no way. Like as a dad reading books to my kid, one of my favorite books is The Lorax. And it’s like, you know, basically says if, if not you who? And if not now when? And I ran out of excuses. So I thought I’d start to try.

Zal Dastur 6:07
It’s funny, you should mention books, you have quite a close relationship, I would imagine, right? I mean, you’re not many people I know are published authors. Yeah. Laura

Mick Liubinskas 6:15
publishes an independent through an independent publisher out of the US. And I wrote a book called she’s building a robot. And that was my my last side gig, I did write in the US and was for my, mostly because I was reading to my daughters, and just most books are about males, male lead characters, and I was just like, that’s crazy. So combined, two things I care about, which is more diversity and, and technology. Look, I’ve sold a few 1000 copies I love the journey was really interesting was very, very different to writing. I just today, like updated my web page about five times just to try stuff. When you write a book, you got to write it and fit it, finish it and send it enjoy that journey, and do do love books, and then they’ll hopefully remain a part of the world. But yeah, there’s other things we need to do to come into the next generation.

Zal Dastur 7:00
What you’re saying is 100% Spot on about providing a better product in every way. And I think sustainability is a team sport, it is everybody trying to do what they can where they can. It’s a nice segue to bring you into climate salad. And what was the inspiration behind that? And

Mick Liubinskas 7:17
honestly, I didn’t know quite what to do. When I first started working six years ago, I was like, Well, I’m not I can’t solve nuclear fusion. What can I actually do and really, really fortunately, problems that entrepreneurs with climate tech building biotech companies have at least a solid overlap with building any company. I’m not in pretend to be the best entrepreneur in the world, that I’ve never been good entrepreneur, I, I enjoy working with them. It’s hard. And I’ve got some experience in high school, I can help. But I was really lucky to find that that some of the companies just wanted, again, build a team, build a product, get customers and raise capital, and like, hey, I can do that. And when I came back to Australia, three years ago, started working with companies and was very slowly to begin with. And then last year, the momentum started to really build and it shifted in the whole world. I certainly won’t pretend we did it. The timing was right, the world adjusted the finance world got it and we’re moving couple of years ago, the reports were getting worse, there was more Australian bushfires, I think half the world was on fire afterwards being flooded, freezing year boiling there. Like it’s just significantly more evidence, the exponential growth of the My attention was getting pressured. So working with four or five companies, big tech came 10 to 15. And it was like just unscalable, and then the 10 or 15. And then I had a lot of mentors wanting to meet with them, and they had a lot of companies investors want to meet with them and corporates are getting involved and governments have contacted me and I just needed a kind of a vehicle to put it all in. And honestly to begin with and looking back at the I think that my LinkedIn description still said like climate tech news, because I was just gonna share reviews of climate tech products like that was the first five posts was me basically writing about oh, I wrote about a swab product like a reusable one. Like, that’s how basic I was getting. So it was it was gonna be a newsletter. And then it just like just snowballed. Like, it was like 20 3040, climate tech companies, and then more mentors and more investors. I was like, I’m throwing you all in a Slack channel. And I said, like, I need to pay the bills. I eventually I’m going to charge 100 bucks a year now. Yeah, great. No problem. So no one had a problem with it. So and then it was just like, oh, okay, running events, then it was more talks. And then there was more workshops and more tools. And it was like a Charlotte Connell came in to help me on engagement with the community. And she’s done amazingly. And then we’re like, hey, let’s get everyone together in Sydney. So we were in the showcase and was like, maybe we’ll sell 50 tickets. And we like we sold 200 tickets. And it was not about the tickets, but it was about getting everyone in a room and showcasing the technology and it snowballed from there like it’s been again, it’s I’ve certainly leveraged and push my network which I built over 20 years I’ve leant on that a lot. I’ve really proudly transitioned that over to this new industry, which is a combination of climate entrepreneurship and tech and really with local climate scientists still working out what we are we we shared content, we have the Slack community, we run training events where you do mentor matching, like people like yourselves out, come in and help these companies and we are really scrappy, like we are legitimately a startup helping startups that’s completely, we’ve had a bit of corporate support, we’re looking for maybe some government support. But you know, I put in a tiny amount of money, but we’ve got a tiny team, and we’ve got a big, there’s a big opportunity here. So we just we’ve got to get to find our own way to be financially sustainable. So we can help these companies keep growing.

Zal Dastur 10:27
I love the fact that you guys are scrappy, and fighting it out. And, and also that it’s a place for the community. I mean, you know, I know there’s a website, I’ve maybe been to it four or five times, but I’m in that slight community every day posts and the how active it is, with people reaching out, it’s really, you know, it’s a fantastic experience. And I think that leads me on to the next kind of big project that you undertook last year, which is amazing. And I think that every country needs to undertake this, which was your climate tech 100 map. And that was you talking about all the different climate tech that’s out there in Australia, trying to map that trying to have people understand what’s in the space. So tell me about that. And how that okay, yeah,

Mick Liubinskas 11:07
so one of the groups I’ve worked with in the US, well, even in back in Australia, it was in education, technology, we’ve never tests and to the people I worked with there, Patrick and Maria, and visually spun that out and started to spun out a project around data and started a company called hole and IQ. Their goal was to build an impact intelligence organization, so but like Bloomberg, but for for impact Bloomberg data for impact. So they were they were doing amazingly growing like going crazy and doing such a good job in education, and really leading the whole world and totally global company with a big base in the US and China and Europe as well. And the thing that really struck me about climate was a lot of people were saying it’s just not big enough. So it’s not active enough. There’s not enough quality and quantity. And also the complexity. There was clean tech and sustainability but and even what is sustainability, clean text like clean energy, but climate is a bigger problem. And it’s complex. There’s reducing emissions, removing emissions, adaptation, mitigation, environmental improvement, biodiversity, there’s hardware, like there’s science, and there’s food, and there’s ag and there’s just so much complexity to it. Now, I just started badgering Patrick, and be like what you’ve done for education, technology and education industry, generally, we need climate. And thankfully, he doesn’t live far from me. And I just kept, I just get on and on and on and talk to them and showing them the problems. And I kept sending these things I was reading, which convinced me about climate, because he’s a dad too. And unless like, education is really important, but education on a planet that doesn’t work is not going to help you a cop 26 is coming up, we need to do it now. And the project was actually global. So they did the climate tech 1000. Globally, if you Google climate, climate tech, global landscape report, you’ll get their page. And then what they did is they basically went out to every data source and they sucked it all in and they use their machine learning processes to collect all the information about every region and understand this new industry from the bottom up. They built this sector map and taxonomy based on what is actually happening in the industry. And what I was really interested in was number one, is it true is there not enough companies, certainly in the world, or Australia, New Zealand, trying to solve these problems, because a lot of the world is hoping that technology is going to solve these problems. And I’ve always known as a as an entrepreneur, that hope is a terrible strategy. And you can hope that they’re going to do it, but I wanted to know, like, it wasn’t good enough for me, like I wanted to know. So was Is there enough globally, and what’s in Australian New Zealand, where our strengths where our weaknesses helped me communicate everyone else, like, as you said, like not everyone’s gonna get this, it is really complicated. But that’s have a framework by which we can talk about climate tech, that’s more than just sustainability or clean tech, these areas are really, really understanding. So they took about three months, they end up profiling about eight and a half 1000 companies globally, we were trying to find at least 50 companies in Australia, New Zealand, and I was like, please, please, please give me at least 50 Like maybe we’ll get to 100 we end up finding 684 companies that basically we’re solving climate problems are identified clearly as as having a climate mission. We had a climate, yeah, take 100 of Australia, New Zealand, and we built the taxonomy. And that was the MVP. I bet this year they are going they’ve tripled down and they’re going around the world doing everything in climate tech. And it’s going to be phenomenal work, Patrick end up going to cop 26 data has been really well received. They just got a really, really important role to play and really proud of the work that the whole and IQ team have done. And just glad that you know that what they sold for climate salad is like all the investors were like, oh, okay, it is big, it is strong, great. Let’s get more involved like we literally tripled the amount of investors interest in this space following that, and it became like there was a investor survey done about three months ago, cut through ventures and Climate and Clean Tech is the highest level of interest are new investments in Australia. You know, I think we’ve done a great job of getting it on the map and getting it started but it’s still early days.

Zal Dastur 14:56
probably deserve a little bit of credit for your badgering and harassing Trying to get that map made and get it done. Otherwise, you know, without the persistence, it might have taken a while. And I think what you’re saying is absolutely right. There are so many amazing companies doing really incredible, incredible things that the average person sitting at home probably wouldn’t even be able to think about from a local communities standpoint up on and doing at a global level. And I think you know, what you’re doing both with climate salad, and the list is just allowing people to see this space, allowing people to see, you know, what is going on in Australia, New Zealand, where, who is in your landscape? Who are your competitors? And for investors? Exactly, that there are all of these companies out there, you know, that there’s an opportunity here for you?

Mick Liubinskas 15:40
Yeah, exactly. So one of the projects we’re doing right now is a deeper dive on that data for Australia, New Zealand, we’re doing a full census and building an industry report and trying to understand what markets are they focused on where they are with revenue and customers? How are they measuring? Impact? You know, how are their teams growing? What’s their diversity? Like, we’ve got about 30 responses. So far, I hope we will get to at least 100. And that’ll give us again, more more data. Like it’s, we need data to convince the corporates and governments and media and, and consumers that there are opportunities here and every market needs to do it. That’s absolutely global. So yeah, it’s a good start. But it’s, there’s a massive sense of urgency. If this was about optimizing, frankly, if this was about education, or or equality, income equality, or gender equality or health, absolutely, those things are very important. And they should be done as quickly as they can. But there’s a different sense of urgency around climate, because we’ve already got the debt, like we’ve got the environmental debt hanging over us, it’s getting worse and worse and worse, like, we are still going backwards, we need to do it quickly. We don’t have 10 years to slowly build this system out organically, we need to accelerate it,

Zal Dastur 16:51
you know, you raise something there, which is something that I tried to ask people that are in the space, how do you measure impact? You know, what is the effective score for whether a you know, recycling plant is more impactful than mangrove regeneration project? And I know you don’t have the answer. I’m just understanding from your point of view, like how do you impact?

Mick Liubinskas 17:12
It’s a really good question. And it’s a I was chatting to the breakthrough ventures team. And they’ve they’ve decided just to focus on greenhouse gas emissions, equivalents reduction, like they’re half a giga tons, the minimum goal, that’s it, that’s great, I think some people will be very, very specific around that, that won’t be enough. Like we have companies like flood map out of out of Australia, who are doing great things globally, help prevent through understanding floods, manage them that that are happening in order to recover from floods. So they, we have to do adaptation, we absolutely have to We I was just talking today to some to some investors about carbon dioxide removal, carbon capture and storage, like it’s even see and sequestration, like all the methods to take things out of the environment, like to large is actually critical, we won’t won’t get there purely by reducing what we’ve already got out there, it’s too much out. So we need to go across all these areas. And it’s telling that we don’t have a measurement like we there’s always been a cost of carbon, the fact that we’ve never had to measure it says we measure everything, compare it to $2, you can get 45,000 bits of data around every bit of dollar spent everywhere, efficiency, etc. Because the dollar has mattered to humanity. And in capitalism, we’ve felt the environments free, we felt the oceans are free, the air is free food is free, basically in terms of cost money and those things. But it’s haven’t thought about the effects on that having a cost but of course it has. And we need to really quickly understand it. So some things are simpler in terms of like you soldier combustion car and got an Eevee. And now you are putting less you reduce the amount of emissions going out, that’s clear up, you can do carbon capture and storage, like climeworks out of Iceland, pull it out of the air, you know, a ton of carbon and put on the ground. That’s clear adaptation mitigation, you’ve got to talk in terms of live saved or dollars saved. People are dying right now of climate of global warming isn’t absolutely no doubt about it. And people dying from heat from cold from water and flooding from rising tides and starvation. And that’s going to get worse. So

Zal Dastur 19:12
I was watching a drawdown lecture today. And he said, you know, everybody, maybe we don’t understand what a significant when we talk about one and a half to two degrees of warming, everybody shrugs it off. Like you can turn your aircon up one, one to two degrees. And it doesn’t make a difference. His reference point was that the last Ice Age was only a two to three degree draw. And so when you think about the fact that that impact on the planet, the change of how everything was functioning on this planet from two to three degrees, getting cooler or getting warmer, it just I imagine you’re looking at the complete opposite effect. And that’s just the start of what you should you know what you could be feeling that’s going on if we let the temperature get out of hand. And you’re right, that is such it’s such a small amount that we don’t think about it was so easy for us to do. Smith, it can happen. Absolutely.

Mick Liubinskas 20:01
This is real. This goes to the to the opportunity for everyone to play a role here because I speak to physicists, chemists, biologists, mechanical engineers, who are solving these really hard problems. But today I chatted to Lily Dempster from one small step. And she’s got an app that sits on your phone. And instead of getting you to watch another cat video, that gets you to take an action, a positive action around climate. And so the consumer behavior change of understanding a situation and getting into movies really, really powerful, important, consumers aren’t going to solve all the problems. But every single consumer that makes a positive decision actually helps like we got here because of a trillion tiny decisions, which we didn’t think of the consequences of and we can get out of it with a trillion positive decisions. Absolutely. I think there’s communication issues, and especially when you have people being defensive, you have governments and big business, and people’s jobs are specifically paid to obfuscate this. The carbon footprint was designed specifically to make people think it’s their responsibility, like, tell me about your life? Well, you are contributing this much, that’s your fault. It’s like, well, you know what, I don’t really have an alternative. It’s bizarre when you read into this, and it’s, it gets worse, it gets us worse. I’m lucky that I’m have unbridled optimism and positivity, because you’re reading things like how the world America had to campaigns to get people to throw things away. They had to train people basically, to say, no, no, if you don’t like the shirt, just throw it away, buy a new one, if you’re got your bought bottle, don’t recycle it, just throw it out. Like, of course, my grandparents generation weren’t just like throwing it away, they didn’t have that consumption mentality. So it’s been trained into, again, a privileged part of the world that we so we’ve got to we got to train out of it. So the communication has been very confusing. I actually wrote a post on it about the degrees because I totally agree. Like I’m, I’m working with some scientists and I, they keep talking about this. And I get that that’s important. But totally to your point, like one and a half degrees doesn’t sound like very much. And the way I was trying to present it was if you’re got a sick person or a sick child, and their temperature goes up one and a half degrees, you take him to the hospital, it’s for core temperatures, it’s actually bad. Even that, right? It’s even bush fires and floods, unless you’re personally affected by and you’re privileged enough to be able to make a choice, because the vast majority of people in poverty in Sub Saharan Africa aren’t saying, Well, gee, make Yeah, sure, let me sell my internal combustion engine and I’m eating meat all the time, I’ll just eat but they’re not making those decisions. They’re mostly vegetarian anyway, they don’t transport it’s, it’s on the affluent world who had the benefit, and it’s up to them to make those decisions. So I’m ranting a lot. But

Zal Dastur 22:35
I mean, the you know, the ones that that blew me away was that the 100 most polluting country, companies account for 75% of all the carbon emissions, because you know, they come from the big oil, the big steel, it’s like, it’s like the heavy industry, you’re right, even with drinks, you know, it was made that recycling was our problem. And our fault if we didn’t recycle. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that every dollar that you use is a vote, it’s a vote for the kind of life that you want the kind of world that you want to believe in and bring in. And at least that’s what what I think, and I, again, agree with you, it’s from a privileged position. But in every situation, you know, when you are buying a particular brand or product you’re trying to associate with some of those values, and I am seeing a shift, but whether that shift is happening fast enough, and through a vast majority of people, but definitely in the last five years, I think the awareness that we need to make a change has become more prevalent. As with everything, I don’t know how excited people are to make that change, or how ready they are to make that change. You know, it’s like they had a survey, which was how many people want to support or, you know, want to stop global warming and 95%? Yes, yes, of course. It’s horrible. And they asked the same people okay, well, how much are you willing to spend to stop global warming, the basically as little as possible, and that green premium is still there, and so many cases, because a lot of the things that are environmentally ethical or better for the planet have not had the decades of thought energy effort put into them to get the price as low down as it as it is, you know, like the reason that McDonald’s burger is so cheap is not because they’ve had so much time to refine that whole process for so long. To get it as cheap as possible that beyond an impossible they will you know, they they’re they’re going to need a little while to ramp that up as well before they start getting there.

Mick Liubinskas 24:26
Yeah, absolutely. It’s, the reality is we can’t wait for regulation to completely put the full price in, but your McDonald’s burger should cost $20 And you’re beyond burger should cost $3.50 Like it’s, but we don’t have time to wait for that we have to, but it is on the entrepreneurs to go and build better products like the Tesla right if the Tesla was purely just environmentally better. It would have been a flop but it was an awesome guy that was super fast. And it was it was a bonus. Right? So I think my view was there’s enough consumers now who had motivated businesses are definitely motivated. They recognize that they’re Is there is big loss if they don’t act big gain if they do act and personal motivation. So I think that’s the right way. And there’s enough governments, I think it’s because they’re also paying the price like they’re paying the price for lack of energy security, lack of food security, lack of water security, health risk. Everyone’s like, oh, well, there’s no point doing if China’s and do it, China has been so they’re still growing. And they still got coal by coal fired power plants, but they’ve got massive pollution issues. When I visited China, there were days when you just could not go outside, it was just too polluted. Like they need to clean the air like it’s nothing India’s the same. And, again, we’ve got to bring the whole world we can’t it’s a single environment we have to care for national borders don’t make too much of a difference other than the fact that there is massive inequality between a lot of the countries benefits of the environmental degradation has gone to the effluent companies or countries and companies. And my view is like, it’s what’s going to hold them to go and do that. Yeah, I’m not going to be enough. I don’t have billions of dollars. And you’ve got Mike and Brooks’s and Bill Gates’s and others who are positive behind this, but I am optimistic, I believe we’ve got enough technology, there’s enough momentum now built on Moore’s Law where Microchip Technology basically doubled in power per dollar every two years. And we need Moore’s Law to apply to like every single part of climate for the next 10 years,

Zal Dastur 26:18
something that I read, and it’s possible, which made me feel a little bit more comfortable pacifically, when they were talking about renewable energy, they said renewable energy is technology. It’s not a resource, the theory being that Moore’s law applies to renewable energy, far more than it applies to something like coal, or oil or natural gas, where you are limited by however much you can pull out of the ground or the ocean, or whatever it is. Whereas as solar cells get better, as we’re able to understand aerodynamics of wind tunnel is better or like wind flow better, we get more efficient at producing energy. And that becomes self perpetuating prophecy, which made me think, well, it is technology more than it is anything else. Right. And it’s just having enough minds looking at it. And I think you know, that’s what we’re seeing now, at least that’s what I hope we’re seeing now is that so many different minds are put onto so many different parts of the problem that everybody is sort of chipping away at this. And you know, I love this phrase that you use climate debt, and the fact that that’s what we’ve been accruing all these years, that interest has been burning, just piling and piling. And we have to find a way how do we get rid of all of this interest and principal payments? Yeah.

Mick Liubinskas 27:29
But look, what have we what have we spent that money on? Right? So we have borrowed against the environment, but the world has spent it on innovation, we’ve got the internet, we’ve got technology, we’ve spent it on research and r&d, we’ve spent it on education, more on education as well, we spend it on collaboration, globalization, we’re more connected. So while you really

Zal Dastur 27:48
are more optimistic than me, I was gonna say we spend it on weapons. You know, that’s that’s what the vast majority of rich and poor countries have spent their money on.

Mick Liubinskas 27:58
In some of that accrues positively back to solve the problems. I won’t pretend all that does, but hopefully enough, right? Like, that’s, that’s the question, is it we’ve got a loan, and we’ve gone to uni, and we’ve studied for two and a 50 years. And now can we usually use what we’ve learned to pay down our environmental debt in time, and it’s going to come down to one thing, I think is is is tough, and I don’t know when it will happen, but it will, is when is the moment when it’s absolutely undeniable that words, an emergency in a crisis, when a bomb explodes or there’s or there’s a fight or a tornado or a tsunami, it’s like really easy to see that event and easy to respond to it. Whereas so much about climate is is horribly to the analogy like the boiling frog, right? It’s it’s all happening very slowly. And for a lot of people like they don’t see it every day. And it’ll it’ll change is a very slow but the ecosystem is significantly more fragile. We don’t fully understand it is really, really complicated. And we can we have we have borrowed against that environment. And now the pressure is on is can we can we use what we’ve got to pay down that debt? Or are we going to blow it all on? Weapons and cat videos? Like I think to your point, I think there’s enough people, honestly, the climate solar community is testament to the positivity. There are mentors, investors, researchers, entrepreneurs, and everyone that no one’s going holding in not wanting to share or soul like everyone there is positive and supportive and collaborative. And

Zal Dastur 29:32
I get a lot of my mindset about the startup community is that startups are not fighting other startups. They’re fighting incumbent players or existing companies. And I think that when you look at the climate space more than anything else, all of these startups have that same notion of like we’re not fighting each other, but at the same time, they all share a larger vision of where they want to see the world to go. And I think that’s something that’s very different from just the tech world in general. Where you Yeah, of course, you know, You go work at Google or Facebook, you get absorbed into their shared mission. This is something that is larger than than any one company, any one person. It’s a really powerful vision to have. Right? That’s what you want to that’s where you want to take. One last question I have for you, you know, your story is quite unique. And we didn’t even get to cover. You know, one of the things that I wrote down here, which was that you did marketing for Kozar, which really took me back back to those Napster file sharing days. But what would you suggest to somebody who is sitting around is thinking that I don’t want to quit my job right now. But I wanted to do something I want to help. What advice do you have to that person?

Mick Liubinskas 30:37
Well, the first thing I’d say is, if you truly want to help, my guess, is there are more opportunities than you think to actually go and participate. Somebody will probably falsely believe that working climate is like is like working for Greenpeace, you know, you’re you’re a volunteer, you don’t get paid. And it’s you’re against the world. And that’s not the case anymore. Like it’s, this is good business, there are good jobs, that most amount of capital is going in this direction than any other direction. My view is that a lot of people can live a great life and have a great mission, what they do so at least look for that, and climate sounds got a job board, and I’ll work to get anyone a job interview, if they if they contact me, the next thing is to think about your own personal power, there’s no doubt that if every government in the world actually regulated and put a carbon price in that that will make a big impact and every business, but we underestimate our individual power, like we your influence over the people you’re around, you have eating just a little bit less meat of carrying a keep cup and using recycle recycling, you’re really, really significant, more influential. And you think you as you said, you’re voting with your dollars, you hopefully vote with voting to for those lucky enough to be able to have that right in democratic worlds, that countries use all those things, and that one of the massive big things actually is employment. And so you might not want to change jobs. But go talk to your managers and leaders and say like, Hey, why aren’t we being more sustainable? What’s our scope three missions, what our customers and suppliers like? So ask the questions. You know, it’s again, it’s it doesn’t need everyone, it just needs someone ask a question and be like, Whoa, what if we lose all our employees like it’s, it’s a massive issue for some of these big companies who are not even bad for the environment, these just ambivalent, like or apathetic, that’s not good enough anymore for anyone under 40. If you’re not mission driven, and have a climate positive policy, they’re out of there. They will vote with their feet. And my view is you are massively more influential than you think. Just stop making positive decisions and you will find good people around you,

Zal Dastur 32:30
Mick always been great admirer of your energy and your persistence. Thanks so much for taking the time. It’s been been very enjoyable.

Mick Liubinskas 32:40
Fantastic, great to share. And thanks for all your support of the climate tech companies in Climate Salad. I appreciate it.