How I walked away from € 152 500 Part 1

This is what happened to my startup project in its first 2 years of existence.

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Pen in hand and a white piece of paper in front of me, I find myself unable to start writing. I need to close my eyes, take a deep breath, exhale loudly through my mouth so I can begin. Here it goes.

This is a startup horror story. A true one as well.

I am a person who works to deliver solutions to climate change. As many, I believe we are late. I expect that global warming will hit us hard even within my lifetime and that the human civilization - as we know it - will sieze to exist. However I do not see this fact through the negative lense it is usually presented. Earth, humanity and climate change is our collective story, and as the authros of it we can help write the next chapter. So I put all of my energy into delivering climate change solutions - only time will show what effect they will have on the climate.

This is a four-part story, with links to each part here:

  1. Dream
  2. Success
  3. Horror
  4. Drive and Thank you

# Dream

One day five years ago I woke up. I decided to dedicate my professional life to mitigating the global warming crisis we seem to be headed to. I actively seeked, found and worked on social and environmental projects which my hot A.I. and data science skills can help multiply the impact of. I spent a couple of happy years consulting for such projects.

Come 2017. I bought a tent. A side note - I love camping - and the smell of grass and trees and the roar of the ocean which come with it. Then fire was all around. Unfortunately the 2017 wildfire seasons was the most devastating one Portugal has seen. Being from Bulgaria, where the climate rarely allows for perfect wildfire conditions, I suddently started being bombarded by news of wildfires - week after week after week. The news described the losses a little too well. This is the year I started paying attention to wildfire news - Portugal and California in 2017; Sweden (above the Arctic cycle - which is very high North!), Greenland and California again in 2018; Alaska, Russia and AUSTRALIA last year. A new natural phenomenom has emerged - megafires. These are wildfires, which fueled by climate change, rage uncontrolably for weeks, sometimes for more than a month, and spit out fumes to suffocate even the neighbouring countries and travel across seas.

“Megafires have to be prevented”, I thought. I did a bit of self-reflection - my calling is to help impact projects however I can. Then a “but” crept in my mind. “But how much change do we make by delivering quality education now if we would have to turn farmers in 30 years?” This is what happens in the movie Interstellar. “But why do we race to develop AR/VR to show us wonders of imaginary worlds when we are losing the only one we have got?”. Many more similar questions formed into my mind, until I decided that for me the most pressing global problem we have nowadays is man-made climate change.

Biologically speaking, we - humas - are animals. Shelter is one of the most basic needs of animals. Earth is our shelter so we better take good care of it.

At some point all became clear. I was, and still am, on a mission to fight climate change so I could give future to all of us and all of these impact projects which would make our lives better. I only needed to make “fight climate change” an achievable collection of tasks and have a plan on how to execute these tasks. I have this plan now.

Adult trees in forests are so far the best mechanism - natural or man-made - to sequester carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Wildfires destroy these trees. Even when a new tree is planted immediately after another one has burned, it takes ~ 20-25 years for it to grow to become as effective as the burned one in capturing CO2.

Moral of the story - protect adult trees. How - by mitigating wildfires and preventing megafires. Migitating wildfires means preparing the natural world so that when the natural disaster fire happens - it can be contained faster with smaller loss of trees.

Good, the plan has formed.

The story continues here