Leonardo DiCaprio is known for being a Hollywood actor, an Oscar winner, but in the past years, his climate action has taken a dominant part of his life. Following the production of the documentary ‘Before the Flood’, he became an active investor in some of the leading climate tech start-ups in the world, including in the Israeli cultivated meat company Aleph Farms.
A new movie called ‘Don’t Look Up’ recently broke the weekly views record on Netflix. In this movie, DiCaprio plays an astrophysicist that identifies a comet that is going to destroy the planet but can’t get the attention of the government and the public to take action. It wasn’t a huge surprise to realize that DiCaprio used the movie to mirror our lack of action on climate change.
The criticism about the tech community was clear as they had a classic, ignorant, tech leader as the main character who thinks their technology can save our planet and bring people together.
But the real criticism lies under the surface, and it should get entrepreneurs and investors to understand that they must change their ways. Leadership can come from different angles, and tech leaders should turn on their ‘urgent mode’, change priorities, and set an example for corporations and governments.
Yet, Israeli tech is far behind the global climate tech movement, with some people still thinking that climate tech is a form of charity or a tree-hugging activity rather than a real opportunity.
Hey techies! What is your excuse? Why aren’t you in climate tech?
There is a lot you can do by recycling, changing diets, selecting your commute mode and many other things. But as a tech person you have a much higher potential for climate impact using technology, and at the same time become part of the biggest business opportunity since the internet.
‘You can’t make money and help the planet’.
Wrong! In fact, it’s the other way around.
Ask Bill Gates about climate tech, and he will tell you that 10 companies the size of Google and Amazon will be built in this field. You can also ask Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, who will tell you that the next 1,000 unicorns will develop climate technologies.
‘It’s hard to raise funds in climate tech’.
Last month, a global record of annual funding in climate tech was reported by PwC, with an astonishing $87.5 billion raised, and in Israel alone, the annual record of climate tech funding was $2.2 billion (announced by PLANETech). Climate funds are opening constantly and are actively looking to invest in new technologies.
‘Climate is just a trend that will pass in a year or two’.
Unfortunately, wrong again!
An enormous number of countries and corporations are already committed to net-zero emissions for the coming years and must invest in climate technologies to get there. And of course, the climate we experience outside will make us remember that unfortunately, this problem is not going anywhere.
‘It’s harder to build a climate tech start-up and it’s a long process. It’s easier and less risky to get involved in other sectors’.
Yes, it is, so what?
Israel is great at providing solutions in times of crisis and in tackling global challenges. We have done it in water, cyber security, and more recently with COVID-19. The fact that climate will not kill us tomorrow doesn’t mean we should ignore it. Think for a second what you’ll tell your children, and grandchildren on what actions you took to prevent this crisis in 30 years.
So, what can you do?
You can start a climate tech start-up (and no, it’s not just renewables, electric cars, and hardware solutions), invest in climate tech, find ways to solve a climate challenge with a technology that you have already developed, and don’t stop speaking about it.
There is a reason for optimism after all. There are more and more entrepreneurs starting to build climate solutions in Israel these days. We’re going to experience a new wave of technologies, coming from new ventures that are dedicated to climate, but also existing start-ups that are building new products or business models in climate tech.
So, what’s your excuse? Why aren’t you in climate tech?
Written by Uriel Klar, Director of PLANETech