Climate Unchange

Our mission is to empower the new generation to act against environmental irresponsibility.

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The Climate Unchange Team Hits Nicaragua

When the global consultancy Wardour And Oxford first came up with the idea for Climate Unchange, the goal became clear very quickly; we wanted to inspire the next generation to act against environmental irresponsibility.  We realized that the campaign needed to be crafted in order to speak to the emotions of young people who love travel, adventure, and the outdoors, and encourage them to protect these things for future generations.

All the partners involved decided that wherever we have the great privilege of traveling, we’d set aside time to explore the ecosystem and see how we can help spread awareness to help protect each of these amazing places.  

Not only did we set out to surf Nicaragua, but we decided it was important to get first hand experience learning about the challenges one of the poorest nations in the world face…

Time for a good ole’ fashioned Central American border crossing on foot… 

Our team had the honor of joining Opportunity International’s Microfinance Investor Insight Trips to explore how tiny loans are being given to impoverished people in the third world… 

This farmer grew up completely illiterate, but with help of his microloan he now employs twenty people in his local village and is starting to farm organic crops this season…

Even the smallest children help harvest hibiscus flowers with the women… 

There could not be a more incredible place in the world to reflect upon our mission at Climate Unchange…

We wondered if this counts as green transportation? 

Twin volcanoes on Lake Nicaragua…

Finding some locals in San Juan del Sur to bring us to their best surf spots…

…as you can see emissions standards in Nicaragua, aren’t quite as competitive as California… 

…Breakfast overlooking Magnific Rock…

…Pigs on the beach..!

If we want to continue to go on amazing adventures like this one, it’s important that we realize, if we do not protect our planet, it could all be gone in a blink of an eye…

…and it can’t be done without the enormous support of our friends, family, and social media mavens working hard to help our cause both offline and online…

As the sun sets over Popoyo, we thank you for following us on our journey, as we share our incredible opportunity to explore the world.  We hope that you too will gain the deep appreciation for how beautiful our planet is, and how with just a little bit of combined effort, we can help reverse the damage and preserve our planet for years to come…

A huge thank you goes out to everyone involved in the Climate Unchange project including the teams at Wardour And Oxford, Under30CEO, The Global Renewable Energy Education Network, Opportunity InternationalSouth Iceland AdventureBladesman Productions and everyone else who has helped us along the way.

Stay tuned for Climate Unchange Fall Edition as our team makes it back to Iceland for the next phase of our adventure…

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Day 4: Retire in Costa Rica: Off the Power Grid

Approximately 20,000 American’s have chosen Costa Rica as their place to retire.  Whether it’s the tranquil beaches or the mountainous rainforest region, it’s easy to see why Costa Rica is the perfect place to move off the grid and start a sustainable lifestyle.  After speaking with several people who have made the move to be carbon neutral as individuals, you really begin to understand how fulfilling it would be to live a healthy, green lifestyle, powered by 100% renewable energy.

These retired Americans chose not to connect to the Costa Rican electric grid and power their home with a wind turbine and solar panels.  Best of all, it saved the couple $15,000 upfront, and they’ll never have to pay an energy bill for the rest of their lives.  Installing their turbine and panels turned out to be way half the cost of paying to connect their utilities to the grid.  

The house was immaculate, sitting on 10 acres overlooking Lake Arenal, a guest house, in-ground pool, it truly was the “sanctuary” that they intended to build for their friends and family to enjoy.  All in, their home cost them just over $150,000 USD.

… Touring more sustainable real estate projects and snapped this shot of their indoor/outdoor shower…

…Sailing on Lake Arenal with local real estate developer and tour guide Luis Diego and his family… 

… and of course yet another dramatic Costa Rican sunset.

As our day comes to a close, the entrepreneurs on the trip had the chance to discuss that it’s not only retirees with the opportunity to move to Costa Rica.  With today’s technology, there is no reason to put off your dreams for 40 years, and work your whole life to finally be able enjoy it at the end.

—The Climate Unchange Team

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Day 3: La Reserva Jungle Tour, Visiting an Oxygen Farm

On day 3 we traveled to La Reserva private forest reserve where we got to witness reforestation / forest regeneration along the continental divide.  La Reserva was actually a dairy farm until they realized howler monkeys were starting to use the tree bridges and live on the property.  After committing themselves to let the area grow back to it’s natural habitat, La Reserva now prides itself on being an “oxygen farm”.  

The most amazing part about La Reserva is how quickly the rainforest regrows itself.  This project started in 1998 was a full fledged rain forest to the naked eye.  Our guide says it takes about eight years for a jungle in Costa Rica to truly reforest itself.  

We not only had the chance to see new jungle, but we also had the chance to see Papa Loco, the 300+ year old tree that inspired James Cameron’s Avatar.  

Not to mention a swim under this waterfall…

…and a quick stop to support some local artisans…

Stay tuned,

—The Climate Unchange Team

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Day 2: Exploring Costa Rica’s Renewable Energy Grid

A huge reason the Climate Unchange team decided to head to Iceland was because of the nation’s vast amount of renewable resources.  Just as our team the decided to study effects of global warming on the economy of Iceland, we were incredibly intrigued by how Costa Rica’s government is taking full advantage of their natural resources and striving to become the first country to become carbon neutral by 2021. 

Our partners at the Global Renewable Energy Education Network gave us incredible access inside these geothermal powerplants owned by the Institute of Costa Rican Energy (ICE), the main power company in Costa Rica. We learned that this plant only releases about 2% carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, and to balance out these carbon emissions they plant thousands of trees as part of local reforestation efforts.  These trees naturally sequester carbon and help minimize the amount of greenhouse gasses in the air.

Next, we headed up to the mountainous region around Lake Arenal to a check out another form of Costa Rican renewable energy— wind power.  

These powerplants were held by a privately owned investment group, each wind turbine costing $1 million.  This however was not a project that does not come without long periods of due diligence.  The weather at this exact place was studied for over three years with hopes to guarantee that mother nature would provide a proper return on investment.

In a jam packed day, we came out of the mountains to explore a local village where rainwater collection systems were being installed by students.  Of course we had the chance to chat with some locals and visit with some of the children… 

While this village did have running water, during the dry season it may not always work.  There are simply too many people that use the water at the same time.  These rainwater collection systems allow the locals to have potable water when they would otherwise not be able to flush their toilet or have water to drink.

Although these rainwater collection systems are service learning projects installed by American students at the Global Renewable Energy Education Network, our educators were quick to point out that clean water is not just a problem that plagues the poor.  Even the most wealthy people in these neighborhoods are urged to have the systems installed so these blue water drums are not viewed as a sign of being poor.

…Of course after a long day, we had the chance to hang out at the Volcano Brewing Company and explore some of their beer brewed right on premesis of the eco-resort.

—The Climate Unchange Team

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Day 1: How The Tiny Country of Costa Rica Protects 5% of the World’s Biodiversity

Day 1 of Climate Unchange Costa Rica started off with organic coffee right from the earth.  For years, Costa Rica’s number one cash crop was coffee beans.  Laborers in Costa Rica make $2-3/hour, but often seasonal workers come down from their poorer neighbor Nicaragua who will work for much less.  Aside from labor issues, it is important to know that often coffee farmers will dump their pulp into neighboring rivers.  It is also important to note that for many years Costa Rica was being deforested to plant these beans.  

Our organic coffee was raised on the premises without fertilizers or hefty emissions from transportation.  At a glance, it is quite obvious that emission from automobiles in Latin America are much less regulated than in more developed nations.

Costa Rican coffee is some of the best in the world and it is our hope through Climate Unchange, we make people understand the environmental and economic impact of where something so simple as our daily cup of coffee comes from.  

All of our accommidations have been arranged at eco-friendly resorts.  A major part of the trip will be a preview of the geothermal capabilities of this nation.  This pool had a natural hot-spring and is at the base of the Arenal Volcano.

Right off the bat we did some serious group bonding on our canopy tour.  Our group consists of both academics and entrepreneurs who all quickly got to know each other on the ziplines through the sloths and howler monkeys.  

25% of Costa Rica is protected territory and while the country itself only makes up .05% of the earth’s landmass it is home to 5% of the planet’s biodiversity.  

Goodnight Lake Arenal.

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Climate Unchange Kicks Off Summer in Costa Rica

The Climate Unchange team’s bags are packed and this time we’re headed to Central America.  In conjunction with the Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN), Climate Unchange will be embarking on a whirlwind tour of renewable energy and sustainability efforts across Costa Rica.  The Costa Rican government has been consistently recognized as one of the most forward thinking territories in the world, pledging to become Carbon Neutral by 2021.  
As we have the great privilege of traveling the world, we’ll be doing what we can to protect and preserve what we have all been privileged to enjoy.  
Stay tuned for more updates on how you can get involved and make impact with us.
-The Climate Unchange Team

Filed under climate change

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Day 13: The Blue Lagoon

As a sendoff to #missionclimate we decided to hit the blue lagoon as our goodbye…

The geothermal springs heat one of Iceland’s true wonders. The pools are surrounded by lava rock and are one of the best things you can do for you skin…

This trip to Iceland has been absolutely amazing. As we wrap up the trip we want to extend a huge thank you to all our supporters and let you know that our work on Climate Unchange is far from done….

A huge thank you goes out to the gentleman who coordinated all of this, Wempy Dyocta Koto from the global consultancy Wardour And Oxford; the Climate Unchange project was his brainchild and has coordinated everything from our flights with IcelandAir, to the press releases naming Matt Wilson and Matthew Dieumegard-Thorton ambassadors to Climate Unchange.

Another huge thank you goes out to Sigurdur Bjarni Sveinsson, the 25 year old entrepreneur and CEO of South Iceland Adventure. He and his guides provided first class accommodations for us and showed us things about of Iceland we could have never seen if we were just there on a normal holiday.

Be sure to be on the lookout for the final cut from the film crew at Bladesman Productions and a series of articles sponsored by Climate Unchange at Under30CEO.com, challenging young entrepreneurs to go out and build businesses that are both rich in profit and in social good. We promise #MissionClimate will be an actionable initiative for years to come and this trip is just the start of our endeavors…

…Experiencing the untouched world is something few people get to do. Unless we protect our planet, this could all be gone in the blink of an eye…

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Day 12: Canyoning, Superjeeping, and Hiking in Thorsmork

On our twelfth day of travel for #missionclimate we went to check out the valley of Thor. This river valley was formed by massive volcanic eruptions, where melting water from the glaciers poured through and created the canyons.

This was one of the most scenic parts of our trip hands down. The rock formations were pretty incredible…

The moss growing over the lava on the chiseled peaks was quite impressive…

Most of the snow in the region has melted due to record highs, so we were able to scale the peaks without crampons…

This is the base of the glacier at  Eyjafjallajokull. Previously there was a blue lagoon here, but during the volcanic eruption of 2010 the volcanic matter wiped it all out and left sinkholes and huge piles of ash. This is the frozen glacier that is now retreating.  We had to be careful not to stand underneath because of the falling rocks and ice. People die all the time trying to explore the caves beneath glaciers…

We took the superjeeps into the canyons and crossed a handful of rivers along the way…our guide told us that the river claims at least ten 4x4’s per year who try to ford the river….

We hiked the trail to Labdmannalaugar and summited Valahnukur…

You know it’s a small country, when you run into someone you know at the top of a mountain in the middle of Iceland… Kristjan the CEO of Innov.it who we met with the Startup Iceland group in Reykjavik was leading the only other group we saw on the entire hike…

Matt Wilson of Under30CEO and Kristjan Kristjanson of Innovit.

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Day 11: Back to South Iceland… in a Whiteout

When you are sleeping in the mountain hut when you go to sleep it’s super warm because you’ve been stoking the fire to get you through the night, when you wake up you are frozen because the fire is out and you need to throw on all your warm clothes and zip up your sleeping bag.  Even that didn’t stop our crew from getting a 12 hour sleep.  It’d been an exhausting 10 days of filming and expeditioning…  

We started our descent out of the mountains with a pretty clear view… 

Kilometers and kilometers of untouched tundra… when you are snowmobiling out here it’s easy to get lost as we mentioned earlier.  When everything around you is white, it is easy to get disoriented.  On the way out, we came over a ridge into a complete whiteout.  Luckily, we stayed together, but losing your sight on a snowmobile into soup-fog can be pretty scary…

Needless to say, we were all happy once we reached our next hut and had a warm meal… 

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Day 10: Seeing Darkness Rise, Hearing Complete Silence

There aren’t many places in the world where you can experience complete silence, but on a still day, the center of Iceland is one of them.  There are very few animals, no rustling of leaves, and certainly no human disturbances.  Someone said that the nearest petrol station was 234km away.

When the sun goes down across the tundra, the darkness can be seen rising along the horizon.  It looks as if visibility is decreasing into a fog, or that your eyes are getting really blurry, but it’s really just darkness coming up.

It’s also incredibly difficult to know what time it is in Iceland.  At the summer solstice, the sun never goes down, and in the winter, it can be dark all day. The sun sets 7 minutes later every single day, so you can get really thrown off.  We found ourselves up until 4 or 5 am when we guessed it was only 11 pm or so.

The massive amounts of snowy terrain also make it difficult to tell where you are, so when you are out riding a snowmobile it’s important to have a safety plan and know what to do if you get lost…

The center of Iceland is a massive playground for the Vikings… we did some snowmobiling and pulled each other across the lakes on our skis until we found some good runs to shuttle each other back and forth down…

Siggi our Viking mountain guide from South Iceland Adventure

The mountain hut doesn’t have running water in the winter, but does have a pretty cool solar panel so we didn’t have to use candles all the time…

Filed under Iceland South Iceland Adventure snowmobiling tundra