Green.org sat down with Troy Carter, the CEO and Co-founder of Earthshot. Earthshot Labs is building the technology for planetary-scale ecological regeneration.
Troy, thank you for being here. Tell us a little bit about you and your background:
I am the CEO and Co-founder at Earthshot. I previously co-founded RIZOME, a pioneer in climate-positive bamboo lumber, and have a background in financing renewable energy and agriculture projects. I am passionate about restoring human relationships with non-human nature and creating scaled institutions that honor the sacredness of life. I was deeply affected by the coral bleaching event in the Pacific in 2015. While living on the Hamakua Coast on the island of Hawai’i, hosting nature retreats and stewarding a 42 acre piece of land, 99% of the coral reef at my favorite freediving spot suddenly died.
That event led me to co-found RIZOME, with the goal of decarbonizing the built environment by replacing wood, steel, and concrete with climate-positive bamboo building materials. While I was operating ecosystem restoration projects in Southeast Asia, I realized reforestation could be funded by carbon markets, though the project development process was too expensive and complex to scale. I came to the thesis that streamlining the carbon development process for land stewards while increasing rigor and project quality would unlock financing for ecosystem restoration at scale.
Prior to this, I founded the first internationally distributed cider company on the West Coast. I sold the company after being disillusioned by consumer packaged goods and alcohol, seeking instead businesses that could achieve deep ecological and cultural impact. I traveled the world, motorcycling across India and hosting retreats in the Salish Sea in remote British Columbia, before meeting my wife in Portugal and moving to Hawai’i.
I developed a deep love of wild places and healthy intact ecosystems growing up in the Caribbean, 6 months solo climbing in the High Andes in the Atacama desert, and spending the summer sailing across the Pacific Ocean during my undergraduate years studying Economics at Stanford University. These profound nature experiences forged the motivation to build an organization that was healing for the planet. Earthshot was born during a potent dinner conversation after Patrick’s ecological awakening in Hawai’i, where they began synthesizing their combined expertise in technology and AI, private equity, and carbon markets. This year, while running Earthshot, I spent 2 months deep in ceremonial work and building partnerships for ecological restoration with the Yawanawa in Brazil. I love ocean swimming with marine mammals and hiking with my wife.
What would you do with $1 Billion dollars?
Invest in tropical reforestation
Land rematriation for indigenous peoples
Policy advocacy for ocean protected zones
Climate policy advocacy
Why do you think climate change and sustainability is such an important topic today?
We live on planet earth, and nature has a right to exist for its own sake. It is our responsibility to restore right relationship with the rest of the planet and align our economic system and policy to reflect our knowing of interconnectedness.
What do you envision your industry looking like 10 years from now?
Carbon markets will have reached the scale and sophistication to provide the financing mechanism for the 30×30 ecological restoration goal, and on our way towards protecting 50% of land and oceans by 2050.
What can the average person do to make a difference?
Everyone needs a meaningful way to engage with the climate and ecological crisis; you can align your career with sustainability and ecological restoration by advocating for climate and nature goals within a larger organization, joining a new team, or starting a company. Spending time in nature and cultivating a love for the planet is perhaps our deepest responsibility so we can carry that energy into our everyday life.