Innovation has carried us a long way. Science, technology, and culture have taken incredible steps forward, and promise still more amazing things ahead. But it can’t come at the expense of our planet. Earth Day is an occasion to consider how we can do better for our planet, and for ourselves.
In the world of innovation, the biggest, most audacious goals are called moonshots. It refers to the seemingly impossible mission of sending humans to the moon, suggesting that what seems impossible can be achieved, inspiring us to overcome great challenges. But the biggest challenge we face today is realigning human activity with our home planet.
That’s why we’re pulling for Earthshots.
So what counts as an Earthshot? Anything step forward for humanity that also renews and deepens our relationship with the planet. A carbon-free energy system, for example, or a city’s successful transition to walkability. Earthshots don’t solve every problem, and might not be as spectacular as a rocket launch. Instead, they mark a turn for the better in terms of our life and impact on the Earth. And let’s be honest, rockets aren’t great for the environment anyway.
At Ecovative, we see mycelium as one of the biggest and best opportunities to innovate in harmony with the Earth. Mycelium materials represent a natural technology that meets a wide range of modern needs, from fashion and automotive to food and packaging and lots more, without needing to extract fossil fuels or pouring CO2 into the atmosphere. By growing our materials on agricultural leftovers, we make use of what would otherwise go to waste. With compost as our main byproduct, we can sustain a circular manufacturing model that actually enhances soil health instead of depleting it.
Over the last year, we’ve made strides in some of our own Earthshots:
- Through a successful partnership with Whitecrest Farms in Canada, and the establishment of a raw materials facility in Europe, we have established an international supply chain and proven our mycelium technology’s ability to integrate with existing mushroom farms, unlocking billions of pounds of potential capacity worldwide.
- Through brand partnerships such as with ECCO Leather and the Fashion For Good cooperative, building hundreds of thousands of square feet of infrastructure, and extensive research by our Foundry team, we’ve commercialized mycelium in industries ranging from packaging, to food, and now fashion and apparel.
- Through our Grow Bio division, design programs like FFAD, and a growing network of licensees, we are democratizing mycelium technology by putting it into the hands of others who can explore its endless possibilities.
The world needs innovations to bring us to a brighter, sustainable future. That will require innovation in computers, transportation, and biotechnology, but also embracing what nature already provides. This Earth Day, we’re encouraging innovators to find new and ways of meeting humanity’s needs in alignment with the planet’s needs, for a future where humanity serves as the responsible crew and caretakers of Spaceship Earth. After that, the sky’s the limit.