Drones to Save the Forrest

A few days ago, an article about drones saving the planet with seed pods scrolled on my Twitter feed. A startup called BioCarbon Engineering has plans to repair all the deforestation around the world with this use of drone tech! This idea seems great as long as you don’t think about it too much.

Just because you have the ability to throw money at Mother Nature and fly some fancy helicopters around her, doesn’t mean she will show a little leg. They are going to use some geography mapping software to get a lay of the land, then bomb targeted areas with a gel containing sprouted seeds. They learned from their past attempts that throwing a handful of dry seeds at barren land didn’t work very well, so covering parts of it with an unknown gel is better(?). At any rate, it takes a special person, like an ecologist, to understand how nature works and grows. I decided to look through their founders to see who these Robo-Planters are.

  • Lauren Fletcher (a dude by the way) CEO: Civil and Environmental Engineering, worked for NASA; so he is an industrial landscaper.
  • Matthew Ritchie CFO: Has lots of experience with money and accounting but no real stated environmental knowledge. I guess he doesn’t have to since he is the finance guy.
  • Susan Graham: Loads of experience in the Biomedical field and she worked for Cochlear, which is cool, but not an environmentalist.
  • Shuning Bian: Biomedical and Electrical Engineering, but no environmental studies. I suppose he and Susan will be working on the drones.
  • Martin Tegler: The “PR” guy. He comes from a background of helping companies and corporations become more green.
  • Irina Fedorenko: She has some interesting environmental sounding degrees which are only offered at Oxford. Her history of education seems to be only in research though. This is not to discredit her, but while it would seem that she is the only one who would know the most about the environment, she is not an experienced ecologist.

As you can see, there is not one who is specifically an experienced environmental researcher. There are a few who have some experience in dealing with large scale environmental factors, but building a forest is more of a balancing act. You need the person who is sitting in the woods armed with a pen and paper, observing all the little relationships around them.

When I see this group, I see good people trying to do the right thing, without the right people involved. Where is the hippie? Where is the person who sleeps in a tent for work? I want to see that in my forest recovery team, not a team of business associates treating nature like a struggling subsidy.

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