TheNFAPost Podcast
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Bengaluru, NFAPost: India-born Silicon Valley entrepreneur R J Jain is a successful businessman and his entrepreneurial journey is simply astonishing. Unlike other entrepreneurs who run behind mere valuation, fundraising and acquisition, Jain finds time for working on climate change issues.

As part of his efforts to give back to society, R J Jain Founder/CEO of San Francisco-based Price.com funds the film Kiss The Ground and is one of the Executive Producers of the film.

In an interaction with the NFAPost, Jain said the decision to fund the film is primarily taken as part of growing climate change implication around the globe.

“I know a lot of people across the globe are suffering because of climate change-related issues. Now it is time for each individual to get involved in this great cause for the sustenance of human civilisation,” said Jain.

Work for sustainability

Jain came to limelight in startup parlance of Silicon Valley when his company Appurify got acquired by Google in 2014. Besides Appurify, an app-testing startup co-founded out of California, Jain also founded another startup Globluelink. He worked with Sidecar and Zynga. He later became an angel investor and currently runs San Francisco-based ecommerce platform Price.com.

He said that the inspiration to fund the film came after reading Josh Tickell’s book Kiss The Ground.

“After reading the book, I was inspired and motivated to help bring visibility to this important cause as the way of giving back to society. It is my responsibility to protect the earth for the posterity and we have to take this message across the globe,” said Jain.

Executable solution

He pointed out that climate change is certainly front-page news with all the weather challenges going on throughout the globe.

“Can you help us tell the story of an executable, do-able solution for this problem?  We need all hands on deck right now; our planet is begging for a change. I believe the film Kiss The Ground is a small endeavour to take human minds in this way,” said Jain.

With the accelerating rate of natural disasters happening around the world, Jain said that more than ever before humanity must make a positive impact on the Earth through their choices as consumers and the way humanity farm their food.

“Restoring the Earth’s soil, food supply and reducing carbon will not only require the best problem solvers, but its implementation must be structured for a positive ROI financially. That requires steering ‘seed capital’ into actual, regenerative seeds themselves. I’m hoping to inspire my fellow Silicon Valley friends to address climate change by playing in the dirt with me,” said Jain.

He also highlighted the importance of regenerative agriculture as it increases ecosystem carrying capacity over a period of time while engaging in the production of crops or livestock.

“About 95% of our food comes from the soil. In the face of the extent of climate change and the myriad of catastrophic
situations we face, regenerative agriculture is the only solution that actually match the gravity and addresses the whole and totality of the crises. Ecommerce platform Price.com would like to work with farmers in various states in the US to teach them Regenerative Farming practice. In the second phase, we will also work with farmers in India and other countries,” he said.

Relationship with food

In Kiss the Ground, author Josh Tickell takes on humanity’s greatest challenge: Climate Change. And along the way, he delivers surprising insights into diet, health, nutrition and our relationship with food, each other and the planet. By focusing on the role of soil as the largest and most overlooked carbon sink on Earth, Kiss the Ground finds a new lens through which to view many of our problems and new tools to solve them. 

“The film shares scientific insights on how healthy soil can draw down carbon from the atmosphere, reversing climate change while creating abundant and healthier food supplies. Furthermore, we can significantly mitigate the risk of natural disasters like flooding, drought and fire when we rebuild our soil, so it absorbs and retains water as it is meant to do,” said Jain.

KISS THE GROUND visually examines the global climate crisis in a way never before seen (the book of the same name, upon which it is based, reached the NY Times best-selling list). The film was selected for the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival. The documentary-like film is narrated by Woody Harrelson and also features Ian Somerhalder, Gisele Bündchen, Jason Mraz, and Patricia and David Arquette with a new song by Jason Mraz.

The film artfully illustrates how working by drawing down atmospheric carbon, soil with regenerative methods, helps reduce atmospheric carbon, and maybe is the missing piece of the climate puzzle. The movie is poised to catalyse a movement to accomplish the impossible – to solve humanity’s greatest challenge, to balance the climate and secure our species’ future. The film is also backed by stunning footage from NASA and NOAA.

Sustainable shopping

Jain is passionate about sustainability and his ecommerce company Price.com supports sustainable shopping by highlighting used, refurbished and local options (half of the product sales) alongside their new counterparts. In the past, Price.com has also partnered with many resale companies including Goodwill, Poshmark and Rent the Runway to share more sustainable options.

“Fashion has addressed the sustainability issue and needs to continue to do so. We have seen the challenges with the fast-fashion industry, it just creates too much waste. For example, cotton production uses more pesticides than any other crop in the world, and while regenerative cotton is coming in the future, its poignantly obvious we should all be choosing quality over quantity at this point. Every industry needs to address waste and make environmentally friendly choices and business decisions to benefit society as a whole,” said Jain.

As part of taking the film to every home and individual, climate change film Kiss the Ground is debuting on Netflix this week.

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