With the New Year here and emergent hope due to vaccines, I am reminded there are similarly effective solutions to the climate crisis. Forest regeneration and renewable products/structures are some lesser considered pathways I explored here and here. Unlike Covid, where self-preservation is the motivator for taking the vaccine, there is still the question of how to motivate consumers to buy-into lower-carbon ways to dress, eat, move, and live. Changing consumer behavior is notoriously difficult, so how do we nudge folks towards a lower-carbon future? The key is to activate their desire by engaging an innate inclination for superior products. This means going beyond ‘green’ certifications, and instead meeting their needs more completely, all the while nailing the basics of form, feel, and function.

This last decade has brought examples like Tesla and Impossible Foods, which are made with superior and greener technology, design and materials, where the changes required to meet lower carbon and ‘clean’ specifications can result in higher quality and better products. Allbirds is a great example of this trend—driving consumer adoption specifically for lower-carbon, plant-based materials which recently expanded into high-performance running footwear to rave reviews. To all achieve their successful product outcomes, Allbirds needed to establish a plant-based supply chain for footwear.

Examples like these show that everything: from boots, bikes, and buildings, can be made better, sleeker, and still carbon-negative. More importantly, perhaps these examples show that big consumer traction can follow this model and drive the shift from extractive materials/high carbon materials (e.g. metals and plastics) to regenerative, CO2 negative plants. Emerging solutions, like Lingrove’s Ekoa®, with its natural fiber composite superpowers, helps make faster, lighter, stronger, and healthy surfaces/structures for humans and the planet.

A man protests deforestation/logging