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Startup Spotlight: Interview with James White

Climate Action Center is one of our newest Altitude startups that joined World Startup a few months ago. We are glad to introduce James, a co-founder of Climate Action Center, with whom we have had a very inspiring conversation. 


Why Climate Action Centre? What made you kickstart this project?

“When it comes to all of our security, I tend to think in terms of layers. The first layer of protection is the key to the front door of your house. Then you have local police followed by the military. The next layer is transnational defence (e.g. NATO, EDA, etc.). But it doesn’t stop there - indeed, the outermost layer is climate defence.” 

Having started his national defence career in the United States Navy and then worked for 12 years in transnational defense at NATO, James felt that it was a natural move to dedicate the remainder of his career to the outermost layer: global defense combating the climate crisis. “The bottom line is that your house is not going to protect you as long as the climate is endangered. We’ve seen this played out over and over again on television as floods ravage cities across the globe. This is why we are working on launching the Climate Action Center. I also felt that I had gathered the necessary skills from working in defence to apply them to climate, so the evolution came organically.”


What are your core values?

“There are some key values that lie at the heart of both my personal and professional life. For both myself and the Climate Action Center, these are:

We embrace the power of sharing: knowledge related to solving global crises should be freely available (e.g. “open source” because we don’t have time to waste;

The future belongs to the youth: the decisions we make today are based more on what will benefit the youth in the long term rather than what will benefit my generation in the short-term;

We are optimistic: the pressing challenges we face today will largely be solved by those who are optimists; pessimists are welcome to come along for the ride, but stay out of our way!;

We are climate profitable: The C.A.C. aims for energy savings (or CO2 reductions) that are 100 million times (or more) than what we consume in supporting climate projects;

The most powerful force of nature is creativity: Ultimately, all problems can be solved through creativity, and diversity and creativity are “best friends”. We aim to build a diverse team, so that we can solve the most challenging problems;

“Happiness is King”: the most important aspect of our work is that we are happy doing it. And, through our work, we strive to enable others to pursue happiness in their own ways”

What was the biggest challenge that you faced?

“With the C.A.C. it is getting people to simply believe that this can work. It has been highly successful in the aerospace sector, and now also at the Dutch Ministry of Defence, so we believe it will provide benefits for complex climate projects as well. Another challenge is building the capacity that we need to launch and scale. We are currently seeking 2-3 passionate and values-driven co-founders who are willing to dedicate two days per week without pay in exchange for equity in the company. If you are interested, go to the careers page on our website and check out the opportunities.


In my previous work life, the biggest challenge I’ve faced has been people that equate talking with action. Talking about solutions without actually taking action is like drinking a zero-calorie soda” says James. “It may satisfy you in some way, but it does absolutely no good for your body. With the climate crisis, it is long past the time to take action. We must find ways to turn talk into action NOW which is another reason we are giving birth to the Climate ACTION Center.”

The opportunities offered by WorldStartup have helped me a lot: I absolutely loved the Market Readiness Training!”



Finally, how has your journey changed since you joined WorldStartup?


It has certainly helped in networking! The number of inbound, unsolicited contacts is increasing dramatically. I feel that this is how you know you are getting traction. The next most important is mentorship; it’s funny to think that a person in his mid-50s could benefit from mentorship, but it is proof that two (or more) minds is far better than one. And of course, the opportunities offered by WorldStartup have helped a lot: I absolutely loved the Market Readiness Training!”


James’ ambition for the C.A.C. in the upcoming ten years is to facilitate the sharing of knowledge through the exchange of digital models of complex climate projects in at least 50 (or more) countries. If you would like to stay updated with Climate Action Center’s endeavours, make sure to follow them on Twitter @CAC_Community and check out their website: https://www.climateactioncenter.eu/.


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