By Alex Eaton, Sistema.bio CEO
It’s fitting to reflect on ten years working on the mission of Sistema.bio in the midst of a global crisis, as crisis is where the mission was born: climate change, poverty and the land and soil that supports humanity poisoned and running away under our feet. A swine-flu that had jumped to humans and killed thousands, a drug war in rural Mexico and a global economic meltdown were the backdrop as we opened for business.
With the clarity that only crisis can provide, we could see that those on the land were the best poised to protect it, and the most willing. Our part —putting the right technology and financing in their hands— was a small one compared to their daily, multi-generational labor of love feeding the world and caring for a small piece of it. We could see a small glimmer of the world we wanted to build in every farmer that turned waste into energy and turned old life into new.
Now, the seeds of change have been planted at over ten thousand farms and growing every day. A small whisper in the air suggesting larger change is possible, against the screech of business as usual. The force we apply is no longer that of a small band of outcasts, but now an international team of organized preachers that have seen true miracles and wish to repeat them.
We have learned from the bacteria, plants, trees, and animals that surround our work that all life is looking to thrive and can. Here on this stupidly fragile blue dot in an infinite vacuum, Humans seem to have briefly forgotten the fact that life will only thrive in cooperation, love and respect of all other forms of life. The structure we built to govern our recent global domination omitted this truth in its programming, and it has pitted infinite aspirations against finite resources. It has set a path to destroy ecosystems, communities and life of unspeakable value for riches with no true value at all.
From our current crisis comes a glimmer of hope to drive our next ten years, as it reminds us that the structures that govern human societies are just ideas, malleable, fragile, and fleeting. Radical change at every level of human life is as easy as changing one’s mind, seeing things just a little differently, then acting just a little differently. Optimism at this point reads Quixotic, as every single problem we sought to address ten years ago is worse. Yet ten years ago we were working on issues many had never heard of and didn’t care about. Today the world better understands them, has called them by name and some are even trying to solve them. It is clearer today than ever that every single person employed in destruction could be recruited for regeneration.
I personally wish that I had planted more trees over the last ten years, but there is great satisfaction knowing that the seeds of change that were gently set into the ground over this time have set deep roots. We are here for the long arc, and we will help bend it towards good. We go forth with a simple truth that humans can thrive within our ecosystems and must. We know this to be true because we have seen it in ten thousand farmyards. We are here because we believe this truth is one that everyone will come to, and we will be here to do our small part when they do. So onward into crisis, doing what we do better, faster, and smarter. Undaunted, because the second best time to plant a tree is tomorrow.
10 years, 10 voices is a series of testimonials from our farmers and the members of our team, the people whose hard work makes up Sistema.bio. It is a compilation of our stories, our values, and our hopes for a better future. We invite you to read and share the experiences and opinions of our heroes here.