Here is the transcript of Guro Grytli Seim’s Earth Day Texas speech:
“Hi all! It’s a pleasure to be here today, at this fantastic event, the world’s largest celebration of Earth Day. My name is Guro Grytli Seim, and I’m one of the co-founders of One Earth Designs. I have come all the way from the north of Europe, from Norway, to celebrate Earth Day together with you.
I’m here to tell you our story, the story of One Earth Designs, from our humble beginnings trekking with nomads in the Himalayas, to today’s situation. Now we are a global startup, and we are making a difference together with all of you.
It all started when one of our founders, Dr Catlin Powers, went to the Himalayas, to study outdoor air pollution. She was trekking with the nomads, measuring the air quality they were breathing in outside. Until one day, one of the elderly asked her – “Why are you measuring the air quality out here, under the blue skies, when the air inside our homes is so much worse!”
And so it went, Dr Powers measured the air inside their tents, and found that the air was 5x worse than in Beijing. Because the nomads were cooking with wood and fire inside their tents, causing them to breath in toxic smoke every day. And air pollution inside homes is not only a problem in the Himalayas. 2,3 billion people around the world use biomass for cooking. The indoor smoke pollution leads to more than 4 million deaths every year, and that is more than the number of people dying from malaria every year.
Dr Powers and the nomads wanted to find a solution to this, and they started developing better stoves with pipes. However, that would not solve the whole problem for the nomads. Because relying on wood is a problem in itself. The area they live suffers severe deforestation, and collecting wood is banned in the area.
So wood was not the solution they were looking for. And suddenly one of the nomads looked up to the blue sky and the blazing sun, and said “But what resource do we have plenty of, and it comes to us every single day, without us seeking it. The sun!” A brilliant idea…
Did you know, Dallas, that one hour of sunlight, is enough to power all human activity for an entire year. It’s a renewable energy resource we don’t utilize enough. So, instead of wood, the nomads wanted to rather use the sun for cooking. Catlin gathered a team, and together we started prototyping solar cookers. After years of development and creating 54 prototypes, we found a design that the nomads indeed did like to use. In fact, they loved it – and that was SolSource.
And it truly was an invention. SolSource is the ultimate solar cooker. The concept is easy, but the technology is unique. The sun rays hit the parabola, and the rays get concentrated in one point, where you get over 550 degrees Fahrenheit. And the heat is there with the speed of light. Because we in One Earth Designs developed it together with nomads, we had to make it durable, robust and user friendly. It had to withstand long hours of trekking, be easy to assemble, and be used for ten years. The material we developed was perfect for the application. It is so durable, that it maintains the same efficiency in sand storms.The reflective technology is unique in the world, and we have several national and international patents.
So, our business started out there, in high altitudes in the Himalayas. But when we ran our kickstarter campaign, we realised, that hey- people in other parts of the world- like here in the US, like in Texas, people love SolSource also here. We are all humans, even though we might look different and speak different languages- we are still the same species and we all eat food. And we all need to cook our food! And not just that, but the sun is also the same- here in Dallas, in the Himalayas and north of the arctic circle in Norway.
And for us that care about the earth, solar cooking is the perfect daily action to make a difference. Most of us today use charcoal, gas, and electricity from coal, and the CO2-emissions from this is higher than most of us know. Did you know that:
- Just on 4th of July, american grills produce as much CO2 as a coal fired power plant produces in 8 months.
- If you have a SolSource, and use the sun instead of your charcoal grill. If you use it 30 minutes, three times a week, then you could save 396 pounds, in just half a year.
But solar cooking is not only about fighting climate change. Solsource is about enjoyment of life, reconnecting with nature, and embracing the real joy of nature. The feeling of harvesting your fresh vegetables, picking up this season’s produce from your local market, putting on your clean SolSource, and eating delicious food that is both healthy for you and the planet—that is a feeling you don’t want to miss. Get close to nature, and get inspired to use the sun as nature intended.
To me, SolSource also means fascination of science and physics. People, young and old, always get fascinated when they hear the first solar sizzle in our grill pan. Like one of our ambassadors, this year’s winner of Top Chef, Jeremy Ford, said he was truly surprised at how powerful SolSource was. Solar cooking gives you the joy of teaching your children how to use our cleanest energy source. Showing how the rays get concentrated, understanding how the sun moves – how our planet travels around the sun. Solar cooking brings you and your family closer to the wonders of nature. Our customers tell us they enjoy entertaining their children, grandchildren and their neighbours and see the amazement in their eyes when they see the power of SolSource.
So why are we here at Earth Day?
- We want to show people that a bright, clean future, is indeed possible. We are optimists, we believe that new solutions, a new way of thinking, will create the change we need. We want to show that being climate friendly is not a step down. It is a step up! Together we can create a better way of living. And we want you to take part of the solar cooking movement, and that you in this way will inspire others to take action in their daily life.
- We are here at Earth Day to show that there is another and better way to do business. We are a company that practice what we preach, and therefore we are a B corp, a benefit corporation. This means that we put social impact and positive environmental impact as high as financial returns. As a B Corp, we are rigorously evaluating the impact from cradle to grade- measuring the footprint from the production of our products, to end-of-life processing. That’s why our products are 100% recyclable. Due to our high focus on our impact business model, we are on B Corp’s best for the list- meaning amongst the top 50 companies in the world with highest positive impact.
- And most importantly, we are not only here at Earth Day to inspire others, but to get inspired by all of you. We are here to learn from you! That’s why we have a booth here at Earth Day, to talk with all of you, to cook with you, and learn how we can develop further.
What is next? The inspiration we get here, we will use to create the next products to take care of our one earth. Our next big thing is our heat battery. Because you might think that solar cookers don’t work when the sun is not out – and you are completely right! This is the largest barrier in this industry. That is why we are developing the next generation of batteries, so that you can use SolSource during night time, or on a cloudy day. And we are thrilled, because there are no other solution to this, and we are going to break the largest barrier against widespread use of solar cookers.
We are also developing great new accessories, to help our customers use SolSource in even more efficient, fun, inspiring and creative ways. Our R&D team never stops inventing and rethinking how we do energy in today’s society.
We are a startup with ambitions. We are paving the way for new way think about energy.
After I finished my engineering degree in the university in Norway, I decided to not go the safe road with a big salary and a stable job from 9 to 5. I took the chance, and I decided to continue working with my startup. That means not taking a salary, and working day and night to see our dreams come true. We took action, and jumped into the adventure.
And you can also take action, together with us. You can spread the word about solar cooking – and take part in our movement. Come talk to us at booth 207 where we will be demoing SolSource, and you can try solar cooking yourself. We are cooking delicious fajitas that you can try, and come and experience the real power of the sun. I am sure many of you will be amazing solar chefs! We promise you that you will be amazed by the power of the sun.
Remember, that each and every one of us can make a difference. Throughout our lives we influence the world we live in. We can choose, and decide, that our fingerprint on the world will be a green one, a positive one. If 1 % of the planet used SolSource, it would make the same positive impact on our climate, as the Amazon rainforest!
We in One Earth Designs can only play a positive role in the world, with the collaboration of our customers, together with all of you. Together, we are a team, and we are a winning team. We can make a huge, and significant difference.
Every time you purchase something, you give a vote to the world you want to live in. A vote for us, is a vote for a greener world!
It was great to be here today, and I’m looking forward to the rest of this amazing Earth Day celebration. Thank you very much!”