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Boosting biodiversity with insects and innovative farms

At this year’s me Convention, we’re looking at ways to create a better future through the lens of four major domains: science, business, society and the planet. We’re certainly not experts on all of these areas, and we don’t expect you to be, either! That’s why, from time to time, we’d like to invite you to join us on a journey down the internet rabbit hole to explore some of the most meaningful topics our speakers will cover and get a taste of what’s to come.

UN biodiversity report is a wake-up call

First up, it’s time to talk about biodiversity! This planet-focused topic is all over the news right now thanks to a major report published by the UN. Featuring the work of 400 experts from 50 countries, it is the most comprehensive biodiversity report ever completed. It contains many urgent and uncomfortable insights, including the fact that 1 in 4 species are at risk of extinction.

Having fewer plant and animal species isn’t just about the environment – it has a direct affect on everything from our food production and energy supply to urban areas and public health. The report says it will take transformative change – from a technological, economic and social standpoint – to restore and protect nature.

But there’s a bright side to the hard truths included in the report: this knowledge gives us the power to start doing things differently. And the most exciting thing of all? Some of this year’s me Convention speakers are already leading the way towards promising, practical and sometimes whimsical solutions for a more biodiverse future. Let’s dive in to a few of the topics they will be covering.

Bugs, butterflies and design for biodiversity

Mitchell Joachim

Architect Mitchell Joachim’s designs aren’t only inspired by nature – they also incorporate clever ways to bring wildlife (mostly bugs!) back into our cities. For example, he’s created sci-fi looking structures to house crickets that could end up on your dinner plate. And one of his most recent projects combines office space with a stunning sanctuary for monarch butterflies – right in the middle of New York City!

Bringing farms into the city

Henry Gordon-Smith

When you think of a farm, you might imagine cows, a red barn and some rolling fields – but not if you’re Henry Gordon-Smith. This urban agriculture and agtech consultant is bringing food production into cities, using hydroponic greenhouses and commercial vertical farms. Henry is considered one of the pioneers in this field, and his blog is a can’t-miss resource for all the most inspiring developments in this scene. Offering local, organic produce in urban areas, high-tech city farms are creating new opportunities for underserved communities, high-end chefs and everyone in between. And it’s not just happening in the US – tech-driven urban farming even made its debut at this year’s renowned Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Putting nature back in balance

Felipe Villela

Felipe Villela believes that uniting business and nature can lead to great results. Through his reNature Foundation, he’s working to change the way we grow food by blending trees, crops and livestock into a more natural, productive and biodiverse balance. On his website, Felipe shares a beautiful 15-minute video from journalist Agenda Gotsch that takes a closer look at the principles behind agroforestry. ReNature is working worldwide to plant trees, create model farms and encourage a new approach to how we grow food. Spend five minutes on his Instagram feed, and you’ll wish you were along on his journey.

Got any hot tips or cool articles on the latest ideas and innovations related to biodiversity? We’d love to hear about it. Share your insights on our social channels, and we can’t wait to keep this conversation going in September.

Disclaimer: The views of me Convention speakers do not necessarily reflect the opinions of either Mercedes-Benz and/or SXSW.