SXSW Eco Day 1

I had a great day today at SXSW Eco.  The big surprise was being asked to be an emergency fill-in speaker for someone who’s flight was late.  It was only 15 minutes, but I was presenting on the same stage right after Phillipe Cousteau and Austin’s Lucia Athens.  Thanks to the crowd for not rioting after the change in topic!!!

I am told that the presentation has been captured for a Youtube video.  I will be including the link somewhere (here in the blog/newsletter/website) when I can find it on-line.

One of the conclusions I am coming up to while at the conference, is that we need environmental Rock Stars.  That is why I am including pictures of the speakers at a really important topic/session from this morning.

Habitat Credit Trading Markets Save Rare Species

This panel spoke on the evolving tool of credit markets for preserving habitats for endangered or near-endangered species.  What became clear is that companies making significant funds from the use of our natural resources (coal & gas, but also electricity transmission lines etc) have a real risk when species are listed on the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  It turns out that they are able to manage their obligations and risks with much more creativity and flexibility when “Habitat Credit Trading Markets” are used to save critical species.

This becomes a new and exciting resource for land holders to add revenue to their properties by providing habitat that offsets problems created elsewhere.  As an example, a 10 acre alteration of key habitat by an energy company might result in 80 acres of new habitat created/designated elsewhere.  When you are talking about Fort Hood and the Golden Cheek Warbler, that amounted to big bucks of federal funds being assigned to local farmers to create new habitat.

As the number of species being added to the ESA is set to grow, this will become an important tool, especially if we are to develop a biomass industry.  Microbial Earth’s goal is to create new and constructive habitats which can produce greater quantities of bio-energy per acre, but also maximize species diversity.   We have learned that those two goals go hand-in-hand together.

I had to attend critical meetings this afternoon off-site and was not able to attend the afternoon sessions.  More tomorrow and Friday.

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