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A Global Water Crisis – Marc Cortez

How One Startup is Helping Companies Zero Out Their Water Footprint

Podcast Summary

Marc Cortez, CEO and Founder of Liquid8Water, is helping companies meet ambitious water neutrality goals. Using a water-conservation-as-a-service model, the startup has developed a trading marketplace that allows corporations to effortlessly zero out their water footprint. The method is simple: business and home owners are incentivized to save water, and those water savings are then turned into purchasable credits – similar to the carbon trading market. 

In this episode, Marc talks about the hard work behind building Liquid8, his take on climate change, and the big ideas behind his new book:

  • Liquid8 is a product of the Clean Tech Open startup incubator. Marc says the experience opened up new doors for his company, allowing him to gain valuable feedback from mentors and really flesh out his core business strategy. He highly recommends the incubator to any startups in the clean tech space looking to take their ideas to the next level.
  • Unlike the carbon market that has potential for fraud, Marc says that Liquid8’s water credits are tangible and validated. Water savings are pulled directly from meters, using verifiable data to create Water Conservation Credits. Then, Liquid8 has a third party agency verify the credits before they are released in the marketplace, assuring buyers that there is no “greenwashing” involved. 
  • Marc stresses the importance of focusing on activism, rather than fear, when we talk about climate change. Younger generations today are faced with climate anxiety, which can act as a barrier to progress. It’s vital that we focus on transparency and solutions rather than scare tactics. 
  • In his book Climaturity: A Journey into the Muddy Climate Middle, Marc hopes to start a discussion that can change opinions about climate change. He believes that most of us lie somewhere in the “muddy climate middle,” neither preaching denialism nor fatalism. By presenting the facts in an easily digestible format, he believes that his book can start a conservation about how we can actually solve this humanity-wide problem.

Marc’s book is available here: https://www.amazon.com/Climaturity-Journey-Muddy-Climate-Middle/dp/1629672416

Peter Perri 0:00
And we are live on Energy Superheroes. I’m excited today to have Marc Cortez, he’s with Liquid8. And Liquid8 is a marketplace for buying water conservation credits, specifically for companies looking to zero out their water footprint. And Marc is going to talk more about that today. We’re excited Marc to have you on the podcast.

Marc Cortez 0:20
Thank you for having me excited to talk about it.

Peter Perri 0:23
Hey, so you told me that you went through sort of an incubator with Liquid8. And a lot of people wonder what that process is like. Could you talk more about that?

Marc Cortez 0:35
Yeah, so I applied to I’m here in California. And so they have regional versions of this, but it’s called the Clean Tech Open. And you can just look it up clean tech open, they have, they have facilities all across the country. And it’s not really a contest, but you, you apply to it. And it costs a little bit of money. But it’s it’s an incubator, and it’s about a I want to say a 12 week incubator, because lots of people have ideas, but man, you need to flesh it out. And that’s the whole process. And nothing, I always joke, nothing. No idea survives first contact with the customer. And so that’s what this helps you do, could be the greatest idea. You can see the whiteboard behind me, you get up there and draw and everyone goes, ooh. And then as soon as you ask someone for money, they go, Well, it’s not that great of an idea. So something like the Clean Tech Open or an incubator in general, it just allows you to put it all up there on a whiteboard and flesh it out. If there’s a process that you go through this thing called the Business Model Canvas, which is really nine different areas about a business that you need to think about. If you haven’t thought about them, it’s really obvious. And then you need to spend time thinking about it. But what they also do is put you in touch with a mentor, and, you know, mentor has no skin in the game. So they tell you from a customer’s perspective, whether or not where the holes are, and where you know, where you need to work and where you need to spend some time. So it’s a very hands on process. Great organization, and anyone who’s got an idea in the clean tech space, I would recommend looking into it. Because it’s, you get a lot of good resources, you get a lot of really smart people looking at it. And look, as I always say, a quick yes is fantastic. A quick no is also pretty fantastic. And a long maybe is just death, right? It’s just like dying from 1000 paper cuts. So this gets you up, it will tell you all of those, it will tell you what your quick, yes, what’s your quick nose, what do you need to work on. And by the end of the process, you either have something that you think you can take forward, or it just dies. And you know, a startup that dies before you spend too much money and effort on it is fine. And so I this survived the process, my company, survive the process. And I was more convinced ever that there was a market for this. And so very valuable, very valuable thing to participate in

Peter Perri 3:05
now is a great way of looking at it, you don’t want to waste time on a lot waste a lot of time on a startup, you know, because time is sometimes worth more than money because you could move on to something else that would work. You know, that’s called the pivot. And so I think getting that know, makes a lot of sense. When you were going into that incubator, you probably had some preconceived notions, what was the biggest thing that you’ve took away from that that was completely different? Or a total surprise to you from when you went into it?

Marc Cortez 3:35
Yeah, I think that’s a great question. You know, one of the things that they do, and anyone who gets an idea, and then you get the opportunity to stand in front of investors is that in and of itself is a is an interesting process. And it’s very rewarding. But I think that was part of the process that it didn’t surprise me because I’ve been through that before, but it’s always enlightening. So for me, I come from an energy background, I was in the solar energy, energy storage, early days of EB infrastructure, so worked a lot in the end with investors in those ecosystems. You know, my takeaway going into this venture was, hey, waters, energy, right, we it’s sort of energy, and certainly we use a lot of energy to move water around. So I thought that investors would be into that and would be the same investors and when I found out was completely different types of investors, I went back to the same people that I had gone to before they’re like, Yeah, we don’t do one. And so very eye opening for me, water is a very specific thing, even though it’s super important, which is a real big takeaway for me. So. So that was the first thing. The second thing was anytime you deal with investors is there’s a there’s a language that is they have their own language and also it’s not just valuations and different seed rounds and things like that. Early Stage means something different to everybody. And so and the target is continually moving. So I can’t tell you how many conversations I had say, Well, I’m an early stage investor. And we typically, you know, we’ll invest a couple million dollars in early stage ideas. So you get into it. And then what they really mean is no, I’m an early stage growth investor. In other words, you have to have a product, you have to have customers, you have to have revenue and all that, and all the risks have to be gone. Right. And so, so that’s a continual moving target. And, you know, you just have to ask those questions. Do you know and, you know, one of the takeaways and working with all investors is be real specific about what they invest in, and what they don’t invest in, because otherwise, you’re going to spend hours, you know, this, this investor was talking to 50 100, early stage companies that had no no revenue and no product, right? So for him to say, we’re an early staging investor that, but you need a product and you need customers and you need revenue, we’re like, well, then what are we doing here? Now, it’s just an exercise in academia, really, and so. So those were a couple of big things, you know, anytime you, you know, if you want to really test your idea, go talk to people with the money, and you’ll walk away, enlightened either way, though.

Peter Perri 6:19
When I first went out and tried to raise money was just, you know, you think as a, as an entrepreneur, you think, hey, if it’s a good way, if it’s a good investment, I’m gonna do it, right. But a lot of the investors are using other people’s money, they have things called limited partners, right? And so they have to fit into a certain box, and they can’t say, oh, this is a great opportunity, but it’s outside of my zone, I can just pull the trigger on it. They’re sort of stuck having it only invest in the things that fit their mandate. So it’s definitely a big learning process, just finding the right investor, and realizing how many of them there are out there. Did you ultimately did you ultimately get funded from that incubator? Or was

Marc Cortez 7:03
what actually came out of the incubator was just, I needed to do some more customer development work and really get that I mean, the good news is it really hones down on your value proposition. And so when I look back now, so my investor pitches, I’m kind of like, pretty, pretty lukewarm. And, and it just wasn’t ready. So that’s a big part of it. So I didn’t, we did a friends and family around to get it to the next phase. And so that’ll be my next step of the company. But, you know, that’s, again, investors are mirrors, and you hear your story back, coming back at you. So if they’re confused, it’s because you confuse them. And so in my case, I was like, Okay, I need to really hone in on what the customer would look like and what they would want out of something like this. Yeah, for

Peter Perri 7:53
sure. biggest things you know, you always say you confuse you lose. And with technical stuff, it’s really hard to simplify it and get it to a way that it can be digested. So does that mean are you guys actively out there looking for, say, a seed stage? round of funding? Are you guys still in? Let’s say development mode before you go back into the market?

Marc Cortez 8:18
Yeah, I think August is when we’ll take our next round, we’re in development of our initial it’s not quite our our minimum selling, minimal selling product, sellable product, but it’s, it’s something you know, I got, you know, warm leads, right in the sales game. So you talk to a bunch of customers, when they go, hey, I’m interested, show me and then the crickets chirp, right if you don’t have a product specially in the software game, so that was also a lesson I learned my first really foray into a software service. So gotta show it. And so that’s what I’m doing. So by August, I’ll have that I can go back to the customers that I’ve talked to in the past, and really have them start to kick the tires on this at the same time we go look for our next round.

Peter Perri 9:04
No, super cool. Are those when when you say I imagine you’re a marketplace? So you’re having to bring together? Is it? Is it water credits, and match those up with, say corporate buyers that are looking to zero out their water footprint? Or who are your customers that you’re going after?

Marc Cortez 9:23
Yeah, you know, the customer I would I pick on, I say pick on a company like Coca Cola, right. So companies, some large public companies have very visible public water neutral goals. Coca Cola in their annual report says for every gallon of water that they use, they give one back. So our network were net zero. Well, great to say impossible to implement, right? So your options are I can go find new sources of water, good luck. I can I can restore watersheds super expensive. I can replace all of my infrastructure in all of my facilities to do to lower flow meters and things like that, but hey, guess what, as the sustainability directors will tell you, you can’t conserve your way to zero. I mean, honestly, we make water, right? We sell water, how we, how do we not use water? So, and then the kicker, of course, is your supply chain, right? You can’t do anything about your supply chain. By the time, all your components show up on your doorstep, they have embedded water, embedded energy, and you can’t do anything about that. So it’s a great public goal. But you can’t get there. And so, so Coca Cola, beverage companies, Ford, GM, they have these big, you know, we’re going to be water neutral, just like everybody wants to be energy neutral these days. So I love it when the CEO said, you know, stand up and say that in public at their at their quarterly meetings, then they hand that over to the sustainability directors, and they just go, oh, man, how am I going to do I can’t do it, right, it’s an impossible goal. So this can help them with that. And so, so it really is a two sided market. On one side, we are working with companies, and later homeowners, but we’re starting with businesses who have water saving measures in place, they have automatic meters that, that pull the water data, and they know exactly how much they use. So we can baseline their water usage, we put it through an algorithm to, to show to calculate their water savings. And then we do a process of validation, where we have a third party agency, basically audit it to make sure that you know, it’s actually legit. And when they give it the thumbs up, then it goes into the marketplace. So there’s a conversion process that happens. And so if you’re a buyer, you go in there, and it looks just like Amazon, something very similar. You go, Hey, I need to offset a million gallons of water over the next quarter. And here’s the 20 different sites, and the amount of gallons that are available for sale that I can I can take credit for. And it’s just a transaction with that point.

Peter Perri 11:58
Yeah. That other companies or that other people have made in trying to capture this water credit market is something that you guys have addressed and are doing a little bit different.

Marc Cortez 12:12
You know, we, the water credit market is hugely different, as I alluded to earlier, in the sense, and normally with water, it’s a physical thing. And so as soon as whenever you have a conversation about water, the first thing someone says is, well, who owns the water rights, right? So it goes back to the 1800s, and cowboys and guns and stuff, right? Like, no, that’s my mountain. And that’s my water. So this is different. And so we muddled it up to the carbon market. So this is not rocket science here. You know, people are trading actively trading voluntarily carbon credits, you know, basically, to say, in a blunt way, the right to pollute. And I know it sounds kind of funny, there’s there’s a regulatory market, that’s a very big one, but also the voluntary market. So General Motors, for example, is the largest buyer of voluntary water credit, or excuse me, carbon credits. So we modeled it after that. And I think one of the things that we found in investigating this was, there’s a potential for fraud. So what is a carbon credit, you know, isn’t as big as a Volkswagen, you have to make it tangible. And so sometimes people would buy and or sell, you know, carbon credits four or five times. And so so one of the things we did was number one, we’re pulling the data off of meters itself. So you can, you can literally see with data that water was saved. So we’re not making any of that up. In fact, we’re pulling the data off, and we’re data agnostic, we pull the data, and then we make some calculations based on other data. So that’s the first thing. The second thing is we were just transparent about it. We’re not hiding anything. This is, these are real savings, you can see it you can validate, you can point to the building that saved it, you can see their water meter, you can see the data. So we just want to be transparent. But I think the biggest thing is, if you don’t have to take our word for it, we want another agency, the same groups that certify green, renewable energies, you know, credits and certificates like that, something akin to that that’s going to come in and say, well, we’ve looked at the savings. We analyze their calculation, yes, it’s valid, and then they click it and then it goes into the database. So So we’re at least, you know, hands off from gathering the data, but also validating it for the customer. So when the customer sees it, they have a good assurance that this is real, and that it’s not greenwashing because that’s

Peter Perri 14:41
you got to have the transparency, again, have transparency. What do you really have? Yeah, yeah, that makes total sense. So has there been any sort of blockchain or any of this stuff? We’ve interviewed people in the carbon credits market and we hear people thinking about trying to be bring blockchain to bear Because of the transparency, and then I’ll say I was in debate on on LinkedIn today. You know, somebody’s basically saying now that blockchain is a waste of time for this. And for me, I’m kind of, you know, I don’t know enough to know, but I’m hearing a lot of conversation around it.

Marc Cortez 15:17
Yeah. And so early on, I actually, Blockchain is actually made for this. So, you know, and I think blockchain is and another of my experiences with this actually wrote a white paper, I thought, Blockchain is a secure computer protocol that is all about transparency and hands off transaction. It’s literally built for this. And I found that Aetherium based platform that was going to that could enable it, I wrote a white paper about it. And my one of my initial concept was, hey, we’re bringing blockchain to the water conservation market. Right. So sounds awesome. It’s a great soundbite. But here’s what happens. And you’ve probably experienced this boy, you walk into a room in investors and you start talking to you about your idea. And then and then boom, here’s the punch line. And it’s blockchain. And then it becomes blockchain. Blockchain sucks all the air out of the room. And even though it’s a perfect fit, and it’s a perfect technical enabler for this, you walked in talking about what water conservation, and you’re walking out talking only about blockchain and

Peter Perri 16:22
from being a fin tech company, or being an energy company being a water company or being a clean tech company, to being a fin tech company all of a sudden, and they can’t invest in you anymore. Yeah. So I

Marc Cortez 16:34
was like, you know, at the end, you know, it’s almost like at the end when you’re walking out to go, so what are you what are you selling? Again? I’m like, Alright, miss the point. So, so I backed out of that, I say, look, I think blockchain is actually a perfect thing for this. And I actually even early stages invented my own coin. And we’re going to do that whole thing as a way to perhaps fundraise. And I was like, no, that’s just smoke and mirrors, in my opinion. It just was a distraction that I didn’t like. I mean, look, we’re in California, water conservation is a way of life like it or not, it has to be real. It has to be tangible. There’s a concept of additionality, that is absolutely has to be through, you know, you can’t just wave your hands with it. And anyway, with my experience with Blockchain was it just took you down a rabbit hole that you just would never recover from. So I, it has perfect application for this, but I chose just not to do it.

Peter Perri 17:27
Yeah. You can always bulk up and sell it one day, and then let somebody else figure out that problem, I think,

Marc Cortez 17:35
yeah, and, you know, as we’re seeing with crypto right now, it’s who knows what’s gonna happen with that? Right, I have no idea. And I just, you know, this is a, this, to me is such a logical extension of what we did in energy and renewable energy. It has, it’s, it’s valid, it’s gonna, it’s gonna be, you know, these types of financial, I call it financial engineering in the, you know, like we did in solar and renewables, it’s absolutely going to happen in water, we’re already seeing water, water being traded on the NASDAQ, there’s water trading companies. So it’s coming, it’s going to be, it’s going to be a foundational building block of the water market. So I don’t want to distract from that. I think it’s, it’s too important. We need to do much to be able to, to just blockchain it and and have it, you know, haven’t get distracted with that.

Peter Perri 18:26
Yeah. And the thing about chain is you’ve you’ve got to be able to, you’ve got to be able to have a stable coin that people can trust. I know, there’s a stable coin in the market recently, if I forget the name of it, I won’t even try to say it because I don’t want to get it wrong. But I know that the value of it collapsed, and it was supposed to be a stable coin. So until we get a stable coin, that’s really all about transparency, and not about the value of the coin itself. I think it’s going to be hard to bring that to bear. You know, so what, who knows going to who knows which one’s going to be the winner, you know, maybe it’s like, the early days of search or something where there was 1000 search engines, and then eventually, we had Google. So it’ll probably be like, there’s all these coins out there. And one of them will win and who knows what it’ll be. But once there is one, I think the principle of blockchain is amazing. For transparency. The core point that you initially made was that we need transparency in these markets.

Marc Cortez 19:27
Yeah, and that’s so and it literally is built for this so I totally that’s which is why I was drawn to it. I I was not at all an expert on it. I’m not at all now. But I learned enough to realize that the software protocol that’s built in the process that gets used to extract the information from that chain as it moves around the chain is made for this. This is exactly what it’s for. So it’s built for it. Unfortunately, it’s also you know, laden with all the hype and the misdirection and you know, kind of who’s in charge kind of thing. So, so I just said, No, I’d rather focus on my core business.

Peter Perri 20:04
Early days. Yeah. So let’s transition into another topic I heard you wrote a book a little bird told me is that

Marc Cortez 20:16
it’s true and part of it. And it’s the same thread, right? It’s it’s a quest for transparency. It’s broader this time in the climate game, because my book is called Climate charity, a journey into the money climate middle, because that’s what it is. And so, boy, if you’re anyone who spent their time on the energy front, I sold my first product solar product in Northern Africa in 1999. So I’ve been around it for a while. And I’ve literally worked in every phase off grid now all the way through to large utility, utility scale power plants. So you know, I kicked a few solar modules in my day, wonderful business, and it has made perfect sense. And, in fact, that was one of the original, one of the early true grant architects in the solar industry. So way back in the day, you know, we had the oil companies were the Goliath, we were David, we told the truth, we made good incremental progress, we took a lot of pride in it. And we told the truth, you know, and, you know, we knew where our demons were, and where our shortcomings were. And we just built the market. And so the industry that exists today was due in large part to many of those types of efforts. You know, and then I don’t know when it was maybe nine years ago or something like that anymore. And it turned into this crazy, you know, just the tooth of the Twin Towers, right? So you’ve got what I call on the left, on one side, the the climate debtors who are swearing we’re going to be dead by Thursday because of the climate. And then there are the climate deniers who just close the curtain like the Wizard of Oz and say, there’s nothing to see here. And, and you know, most of us are somewhere in between. I worked in renewable, but I know I know the answers. I know what it’s good at. And I know what it’s not good at, you know, so I started compiling stuff, and really digging into and just researching it for my own interest, and my own just understanding of what’s going on with the climate. And it was, it was enlightening, I think, and what I decided finally was like, man, both sides are wrong, ever, all the sides are wrong, and no one knows what the truth is. Yeah, and, and the product, the main products, the main consequences of 50 years of aggressive climate policy, you can in whatever form you want to take is, we’ve got policies that are way too expensive, that we can’t get the country behind, and will have really small impacts on the climate if you do the math. And the second part, which is what I took really personally because I was working with my own kids, and college students was, you know, we’ve just scared the heck out of next generation of people. And so, you know, I work with 20 year old 21.2 year old, young adults getting into the workforce, and I’m teaching him at college. And, you know, invariably, they talk about the climate, man, and they’re just hopeless, and they literally think that they’re gonna die from climate change, and that their kids are, you know, why have? And, and as someone who really took a lot of pride in early solar messaging, I kept thinking, Man, how did we fail so miserably as adults? How did we fail? How is that message? You know, this is not activism, this is just fear. And we invented a whole new mental disease to capture called Eco anxiety, right? Yeah, it’s a real thing. So I decided to write this book saying, look, here’s, here’s, here’s the questions I have about whatever the science is, and they’re legitimate questions, you know, let’s talk about future looking predictive models, and why that’s different than empirical stuff that you can actually prove. In a lab, let’s at least have that conversation. And let’s not hide it behind international meeting minutes that no one ever reads. Okay, so let’s have that conversation. Let’s talk about the solutions that are being proposed, like, electric vehicles. And when I do the math, like, oh, man, that’s, you know, that’s an awful lot of Earth that we have to dig up to try to save us from digging up work, right. So right, the solutions are hugely expensive. I love solar, but it’s not gonna save the planet. Sorry, it’s just not and I just know it. And so I started looking at the solutions. And I’m saying, you know, there’s a big gap there. You know, unfortunately, one of the things that most people don’t like to hear and I don’t even like saying is, the best thing that happened to the climate in the past 50 years is unfortunately COVID Because we cut our emissions by 1115 2%. In one year, what we haven’t been able to do in 50 years, so that tells you that we’re off base with a lot of stuff. We don’t need to spend a trillion dollars are trillions of dollars to try to spin the earth backward on its axis with new tech,

Marc Cortez 25:07
go home, turn off your lights you just saved. You know, you just did what we haven’t been able to do with 50 years of all this hysteria and craziness. So I wrote this book to try to say, look, we need most of us are somewhere in the middle, we want to have a rational discussion, we want transparency, I don’t want to be told that x energy source is the cheapest, and then realize that they’re not telling us that entire paragraph of qualifiers behind this. Because I know. So I want us to all have the same things on the table in front of us, I want us to be able to look at it, I want a plan that both sides of the aisle can get behind because most people are concerned about it. Most people realize that this is something that we have to be responsible for, and approach it with some pragmatism and the good old American spirit, once we know what the heck the problem is, and so requested, but I wrote a book called

Peter Perri 26:03
in that dialogue, so no, that’s a great, that’s a great answer. And I’ll tell you, we’ve got to we’ve got to solve the transparency issue, I think, on social media in order to solve this problem, because what what’s happened is that all the things that are the most extreme, get elevated at the top of the social media algorithms because they get so the way to solve it both this problem and I think a lot of our problems is if we could have somebody get in with social media companies, and bring them onto the same page of transparency around not elevating the thing that gets the most clicks to the top automatically, maybe having an algorithm that was a little smarter. I think we could solve both this problem and a lot of our other political problems that have sort of gravitated to the extreme now just because of views and clicks. It’s crazy.

Marc Cortez 26:50
Yeah, in my, in my, in my days, where I’m super frustrated about some of the stuff, I will say, hey, you know, here’s here’s a radical idea, since since the social media companies now are a big part of the climate problem, because they own so much technology. How about we charge them for every account? Then we’ll just call it a carbon tax, right? Well, yeah, for every account fader, otherwise, we don’t even have to worry about it anymore. So if there’s a bot farms that are that are signing up millions of fake accounts, fine, we’ll just charge them. And watch how quickly some of this stuff gets sold. I don’t look, I’m a firm believer, I you know, oil companies, we may think that they’re bad. But hey, guess what we all use, I don’t know, one person in my life, anyone’s life who has stopped using fossil fuels. And so we need to use less of it. Yes, we need to conserve, of course, but it’s not going anywhere. And the idea that it’s going that I mean, honestly, you can’t make a solar panel without lots of oil gas, you can make a windmill, you can make any energy source or any electric vehicle without without this sort of infrastructure. So so we need them. So I’m not a big fan of demonizing you know, big oil companies, for all the stuff that they’ve done in the past. Because we you know, I just believe we need, we need to all we need some rational minds to try to pull these things together and apply the technology where it needs to be.

Peter Perri 28:13
Yeah, for sure. Gathering this stuff. So hey, let’s go back to the book thing. I know a lot of people would love to write a book. I hear that all the time. Could you walk me through sort of what that process was? Like? did you how did you get a pub, get it published? How did you get it out there?

Marc Cortez 28:31
Is it so it started with me posting things probably once a week, some I would find an article in the in the climate media or just the media that I would post on LinkedIn. So I started with LinkedIn. And then I started that I started getting lots of feedback on that. both positive and negative. But what I got mostly was, you know, hey, we need more information that is sort of down the middle, right? We don’t need you know, I don’t need the bullhorn, screaming at me, you know, yelling at me while I’m doing things wrong, and I don’t need other people just sitting there nananananana so we need to actually some information from all from all different sides. So that kind of started going and so I just started writing regularly. And next thing you know, I know this actually is enough for I’m starting to get enough for for maybe a book and and there’s actually a theme here which is transparency and truth and and it’s confusing. And so, you know, let’s give ourselves permission to raise our hands and actually ask questions without other people screaming at us. So that’s how it started. I was just I was writing and putting it out there and getting lots of feedback saying hey, this is actually a really good approach to this. You know, say more so that’s how it started. And then I just decided to there are a bunch of holes that I needed to go fill in and which was just research the heck out of it. So go into if you ever if you ever having trouble sleeping, I suggest you go Read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, right? The IPCC read their latest report. It’s only I think, 3700 pages, I haven’t read the whole thing. But man, that’s so that’s an intense reading, right? So that’s hard to digest. And so, so I just started reading and understanding that and, and some things got clarified, other things sort of went away, like, this doesn’t even make sense to me. And so, so that’s when I started to compile that into a narrative. That sort of makes sense. And then as far as the publishing, I publish this myself, and so this, this is something I’m going to be, I put on Amazon for most, for no other reason than just the quickest path to get this story out there. I, I hired a consultant, basically a self publishing consultant that just helped me through all the, you know, the normal formatting and things like that, and walk me through this, but he’s, you know, also learning how to talk with folks like yourself, and just get it out there and get the message out there. At the very least, my view is, I sort of now have a blueprint for something that I feel important about, and it’s based in research. And what I hope with the whole process is, you know, I’m fine with being wrong, you know, I hope it starts a dialogue and people say, hey, you know, you missed this whole thing, and then opinions change. And to me, that’s the way that we’re going to solve this problem. So I think by putting it out there on Amazon and getting it out there and making it cheap, you know, 10 bucks, and it’s 120 pages, so it’s not like you have to put on your scientific lab coat to get through it. It’s I joke, I say it’s part science part satire part snark, it’s just a an interesting read, I think in a way to have this exact same conversation that we’re having, which is, I’m fine with being wrong, I hope that a lot of us are wrong, I hope that a lot of us just started having this conversation and realize that we can actually solve this problem, or we can at least tackle it if we if we are able to just bridge these huge gaps that we have.

Peter Perri 31:58
Now you say people can hit that up on Amazon?

Marc Cortez 32:05
Sure. It’s called Climate surety, a journey into the muddy climate middle. I think if you picked money because boy, if you dare step out in the middle, right, you’re gonna get its money there. It’s not. You don’t do it. Because it’s fun and breezy. You do it because you’re in the search for some sort of some sort of truth. And I don’t know that I have the truth by any means. But it’s I also just felt like I wasn’t getting the complete story from different different things that I read. So climate surety is, will get you to that place.

Peter Perri 32:39
Now, very cool. on Amazon, and so to that point of getting to the truth, who is somebody that you’d like to meet that maybe not everybody’s heard of that’s really doing things or making a difference in this area?

Marc Cortez 32:55
Yeah, that’s a good question. I I steer away from the basics that you’ve probably heard and, you know, because it’s such a lightning rod. I can I’ll tell you who I’ve read that have helped me with. There’s a Danish economist called Bjorn Lomborg. He writes a lot in the Wall Street Journal. You’ve probably heard of them. I think he wrote a book called the skeptical environmentalist. And He’s an economist. So I think the criticism against him has always been well, you’re not a scientist. Well, and I’m like, well, most of us aren’t, but we’re still being handed the bill. So we sure as heck. So his his whole take is if you look at it from an economic perspective, the numbers are very different, right? You know, even in the worst case scenarios, the world’s gonna be able to adapt quite well. Thank you very much. And so Bjorn Lomborg has won Michael Shellenberger. I know California, but he’s now going to be a candidate for governor, but a former environmental hardcore environmental activist who’s now pro nuclear, because he’s done some similar looks at this. And that’s also another interesting discussion, you know, with all this energy replacement sort of thing is nuclear bad. And so he’s he’s got his own opinions about that. But he’s now running against Gavin Newsom here. So he’s got some interesting things. Roger Pilkey is a is a writer that has written quite a bit informs who is really looked into the political machinations of the IPCC and I think Mr. Pilkey has taken lots of arrows for daring to wade into those political waters. So that’s a dangerous place. So, you know, I listened to them you know, John Stossel, the old 2020 guy also has some some videos and done some some interesting work in the climate. He, he basically has this exact conversation and he’s he, when he’s called out say, hey, wait a sec. Well, I would love to sit there and have a discussion with Al Gore and some of the real well known climate activists and have an actual debate but he can’t get anyone to debate him. You know, there’s folks out there I don’t agree with You know, like, like most things, we don’t agree with everything that different folks are saying, but I find that they, it’s a refreshing way to look at it, which is why we need a dialogue, we need to be having some discussions about this, because it’s a big problem that we all need collectively to solve. So. So those are some of the voices that I’ve read.

Peter Perri 35:21
That’s really great. And, you know, brings me back to the show that was called crossfire. I don’t know if you remember that. But it was on CNN, and they you’d have a Republican and a Democrat debate each other and they they’d yell and scream, but at the end, they they shook hands and walked away friends, I think we need a little bit more of that, both in the climate debate and throughout our politics today, where, you know, we can, we can have differences, differences of opinion, but we can still be friends and understand that there’s a lot of shades of grey here, and people on the other side aren’t necessarily bad people, you know, they might just be misinformed. Or maybe were misinformed. You know, you just, you just never know.

Marc Cortez 35:57
Well, yeah, and I remember that show. And, boy, I do kind of miss those days. But I don’t know too many people who would disagree. Who would just say, You know what, the climate is not a problem. Who cares? Who cares what we do with it? Right, let’s just pollute, I don’t know anyone like that. I really don’t. And so I would bet that if you’re sitting around having a glass of wine with someone, we can agree that it’s a problem when most people agree that it’s a problem that we need to take responsibility and be good environmental stewards. Who could argue with that? So the problem I would bet that we can agree with the question becomes, as always, who pays for it? And whose fault is it and XY and Z. And so? So that’s, that’s been the big challenge here. But I still think, and I continue, maybe it’s naive hope, but I think I don’t exactly what we’re doing is, the problem is, you know, it’s real. You know, I’m not coming from, from, you know, Eyes Wide Shut shut perspective, that most people aren’t most people agree on it. Most people think that it’s that we need to do something. But most people say to me, you know, when, when whispered to me, they don’t really know what to do. And right, and so I don’t really know what to do. And that’s, well, that’s a tough one. It’s a big problem. It’s affecting generations of people, but what the heck are we gonna do about it? And that’s the crux of this whole thing.

Peter Perri 37:16
Yeah, for sure. Maybe an entity that comes out with a moonshot and really unites everybody, because I 100% agree that nobody wants to just do wrong by the planet. And even if you go back to your complete laissez faire economics, right, I remember, econ 101. They taught us about negative externalities, and the fact that, you know, if the people that are contributing, the negative externalities aren’t paying for them. There’s a there’s a problem. It’s called the free rider problem. I don’t think anybody wants that, you know, everybody wants what’s fair, I think we can all agree on fairness. And I think you’re, you’re doing something about it here by bringing transparency to the to a sector of the market, which is, which is water, which is a big part of it. If we get that transparency, then you can allocate the costs, the parties they should be allocated to, I think that’s half the battle.

Marc Cortez 38:08
I think so too. I, you know, most people, transparency, I think we’ll, again, maybe it’s a naive belief here, but I sort of believe if we, if people get if we are told the whole story, and completely, we may not necessarily come to the same conclusion. But I would bet more times than not, we would, you would say, You know what this is, it’s worth five bucks, not 5 trillion bucks, but it’s worth five. And this is let’s attack it. Let’s do this. And that’s part of the hook is certainly with what I’m doing in the water. But also, with the book is just a dialogue. It’s a tool for dialogue. It’s just, you know, what do we saw, we can solve some of this stuff, there’s things that we can do. And they’re not necessarily that complicated. Like I said, I was joking sort of about turning the lights off, but not really, right. I mean, don’t cut down that tree to put the factory that build stuff that saves trees. The stuff that we know is worked, and that can work that we know that we have some control over, and all that all that

Peter Perri 39:08
for sure. We’re at about time here. What would you like to leave the audience with today that we didn’t cover? Is there anything you’d like to do in terms of call to action for the audience?

Marc Cortez 39:23
Well, I again, I’ll just underline this is we got to continue to have the dialogue. Let’s not be afraid of actually having this conversation, for fear of someone else yelling at us. I know there’s lots of pent up beliefs. But this is how we’re going to solve it because we’re not making much product scared children that we put on magazine covers, let’s it’s just uncool. From any perspective, that’s not activism, that’s fear. And we’re causing it you know, we’re the adults in the room. We have to stop causing that and lead us towards solutions. So hopefully something like financial mechanisms that save water that can help it and be transparent and show you know big businesses They can be part of the good too. I have no problem with that. They’re that we need their energy and their creativity and their resources to focus on this. And maybe a book like something I wrote, maybe it’ll inspire a bunch of other people to write their own opinions, which is fantastic. We need all of our brains on this, to help solve that. So research dialogue of openness, transparency, I think that’s what we need the most of in our future climate pursuits.

Peter Perri 40:26
know for sure. Marc, an absolute pleasure having you on today. This has been Marc Cortez with Liquid8, and they’re a marketplace for buying water conservation credits. Marc’s also written a book that you can check out on Amazon. Marc, we really appreciate having you on Energy Superheroes today. Thanks for being here.

Marc Cortez
Thank you so much. This is a big part of the solution, I think so thank you for having me.

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