ABLC Preview

March 15, 2022 |

In Washington, ABLC 2022 opens today as the world watches the grim news from Ukraine, waits hopefully for an end to pandemic, and works towards achieving an array of Net Zero targets set by governments and corporations. 

It is a time of heartbreak in the headlines, and pain at the pump. It many ways, it is the Bioeconomy hour. Only the decisive and sustainable use of land will produce enough food, material and fuel to rid the world of an addiction to the exports of nefarious regimes, those of today and of tomorrow. Only the bioeconomy could, in pandemic in tapping mRNA technology to deliver effective COVID vaccines in record time.  Only the bioeconomy has the potential to deploy carbon negative technologies needed to achieve Net Zero targets given the small, but unmistakable, carbon footprint of solar, wind and electric vehicles.

To open ABLC, the bioeconomy turns to its most storied champion, US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who will give the ABLC Keynote at 3pm Eastern time, today. Fittingly, ABLC then turns to the rural supply-chain to understand the volume, nature and business needs of the raw material suppliers of biomass upon whom the industry bases its technology, projects and its raison d’être. Numerous USDA officials and rural economy experts and technologists will be on stage to highlight new crops, cover crops, agricultural technology and programs. 

Following the afternoon program the industry will hear the 2022 State of the Industry presentation, and then undertake perhaps ABLC’s most unique task, that of introducing every single delegate, who they are, where they are from, and their goals for the week. For in the end, ABLC is not a conference of great speeches, though it has been home to many of them. It is a conference of real dialogue by real leaders on real opportunities. There are no “fly-over” states in the bioeconomy and there are no “fly-over” people, either. At ABLC, everyone takes part, because the transition to a sustainable economy is the greatest industrial transformation ever attempted, it takes a village to build the projects right, and everyone, ands that means everyone, brings vital skills to the task and has to put a shoulder to the wheel.

Later in the week there are awards to be given we have the 50 Hottest Projects in the Bioeconomy to recognize, there are companies to be financed on the floor, projects that will find partners, speakers who will make an impact.

I am sometimes asked by delegates at ABLC, especially young people, “what I can I do to advance the bioeconomy and advance myself within it?”  

First, amplify the messages you hear on the ABLC stage. When Keynoters like Secretary Vilsack take the stage, make a note of their key points, and share them with everyone you know. That is how today’s talking points become tomorrow’s widely-known truths, and that is something that the greatest speakers cannot do for themselves. The Gettysburg Address is known because of the people who shared it, people like you made it something known the world over.

Second, network like crazy, at ABLC or wherever you are. No one can do this alone, we all need to know each other. The future begins with “hello” in whatever language you speak, for it is not only a rural economy or a bioeconomy, it is an economy of people. Because the bioeconomy is everywhere, because technologists are everywhere, because it is based in abundant resources like carbon dioxide, rain and sunshine that belong to all, the bioeconomy is like nothing that has ever come before it. It is the newest tech unlocking the oldest resources, it is of the people, by the people, for the people, and through its tenets of sustainability it is the last best hope that opportunity shall never perish from the earth.

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