Passing the spark

by Dvorit Mausner

Dvorit recently joined Carbon180 to direct operations and engagement for Carbontech Labs, our startup accelerator. She was most recently the executive director of Manylabs, a community for carbon removal professionals and enthusiasts, and has also been an entrepreneur, philanthropic strategy consultant and project manager, and fundraising program manager.

What’s any movement without a community to back it?

All good movements take people: people to shift the conversation, people to bring attention and resources to the cause, and people to lead. Great movements, on the other hand, require a community — where people get to know each other collectively and feel part of something important. Real momentum occurs when forward-thinkers are charting their path together. Carbon removal is no different.

For these frontier climate solutions to scale up and make a real difference, they need to reach at least the same level of public awareness as emissions reduction. Public awareness ushers policy and markets in the needed direction, in this case towards utilizing atmospheric carbon rather than emitting it. Now, two of carbon removal’s greatest advocacy and action-oriented communities — Manylabs and Carbon180 — are banding together to build the carbon-removing future.

While I was leading Manylabs, we pivoted in 2018 to provide spaces and resources for our members — carbon removal enthusiasts and professionals — to share in news, job and funding opportunities, business advice, and educational and social events. Over the course of a year, the community blossomed, with an active Slack workspace and well-attended monthly event series.

Attendees participate in the Manylabs event Biological Sequestration: Soil, Forests, and Farms, held in November 2018.

“I feel like I have found my home with a bunch of passionate and smart individuals tackling real climate issues at scale,” Jon Gibson, an aspiring carbon removal investor, wrote to me once. “This is rare these days to find the commitment, action, and community!” With our growing membership as evidence, we knew we were filling a critical gap for those seeking motivation and support. Sarah Thorpe, a creative professional, described it as having a “home” that created permission for hope: “Manylabs has been a positive beacon, a source of information and a foundation of belonging.”

Others let me know about jobs they’d received after meeting new colleagues at Manylabs meetups, and how connections made through the events helped direct their careers into carbon removal. In this case, Manylabs members formed a virtuous cycle of influence — building an ecosystem for entrepreneurs, investors, and enthusiasts to find new opportunities and become leaders of the new carbon economy as a result.

Yet, given our limited resources as a very small nonprofit, I knew there was so much more untapped potential in our community. That was, until we discovered the perfect partner. The pairing of Manylabs’ network and public programming with Carbon180’s depth of industry expertise makes this merger remarkable. Our carbon removal missions are strengthened by joining forces.

Dvorit Mausner (that’s me!) introduces speaker Amanda Ravenhill of the Buckminster Fuller Institute before the Manylabs event Systems Approach to Climate Change Mitigation, held in July 2018. Photo: Heidi Lim

Looking forward, we are bringing the existing Manylabs community under the wing of Carbon180. By joining together, we can connect the budding carbon removal community with the opportunities provided by Carbon180 programs. Members of the carbon removal community can become involved with Carbontech Labs, an initiative of Carbon180 focused on accelerating carbon waste-to-value startup opportunities. Our goal is to nurture the enthusiast-to-professional pipeline, educate potential investors, and proactively support carbontech entrepreneurs. These are no small tasks, and we’ll go farther if we do it together.

I’m thrilled to unite the Manylabs community with Carbon180. With Manylabs’ network and Carbon180’s strategic vision for policy, research, and business change, we’ll be able to offer greater support to carbontech entrepreneurs, with more educational inroads for advisors, investors, partners, and enthusiasts. Realizing carbon removal at scale will require a fundamental shift — a shift that can and must start with a spark passed from person to person. Having an active community makes that spark so much more likely.

Thank you for being a part of our fire-starting community, dear reader. Now let’s spark a movement!

Interested in carbon removal? Apply to join our Slack workspace. Follow Carbon180 on Medium to never miss a story. Send us your questions and dog pics via Twitter or our website.




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