Bold Solutions for a Net Positive Humanity with Tom Chi

Tom Chi has dedicated his life’s work to making humanity net positive…this is no small undertaking. His approach is calm, grounded and factual. He’s an engineer, a developer and an inventor, the chair of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, managing partner at At One Ventures and was one of the founding members of the Google X team.

His work finds creative solutions to the damaging effects of human interference in the natural cycles. Put simply, Tom believes that there should be a core set of things that are essential or sacred that should not be allowed to be maximized for profit.

“…in the presence of industry we actually have a choice. We can make it so that we corrupt or damage or pollute those cycles or you can set up industry where we encourage those cycles in a healthy way.”

What would industry look like if it were shaped by a focus on optimization for as many living organisms as possible?

As Tom puts it, the cycles of nature want to work well. In fact, the cycles of nature have shown, amidst the pandemic, that they want to swell and come back. As he sees it, humans have a unique opportunity to change how things are done and then turn it over to the real pro: nature. 

Tom’s worked with drones capable of planting 120 trees per minute. And not mono-cropping, but a whole range of species of trees, purposely creating biodiversity. From there, nature does her magic and pollinates, spreads seeds and amplifies the groundwork laid by humans. 

Imagine humans laying the foundation for an abundant future and then turning it over to nature to amplify that.

What if the natural cycles of nature were leverage?

Actions to Instigate Change

  • Change what we’re eating. Agriculture takes up 50% of the habitable land on the planet and ¾ of that is taken up by animal agriculture. Consider minimizing your meat intake as a way to minimize your environmental impact on the planet.
  • Turn down your hot water heater to the temperature that you like to take a shower. That simple act saves a huge amount of energy, and it only takes you 5 minutes.
  • Switch all your bulbs over to LED from incandescent.
  • Feeling bold? Make a bigger change, switch to an electric car, or buying a used electric car. You can significantly decrease your carbon footprint (3-10x) by not using fossil fuels, even if your electricity is coal-powered.

Lastly, Tom spoke about a new program he’s developed that coaches individuals on how to be an invaluable resource in the 21st century. Looking towards a future in automation, he coaches people to be personally developing the following skills that cannot be replaced by technology: 

Creativity. Compassion. Critical thinking. Community


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