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Mike Tidwell is a great friend and nature enthusiast who resides in Reliz Canyon in Central California with his family. He is an insurance guy by trade and an Earth history student by heart. He loves to study the "nature of things," Essentially having fun trying to understand how things work. We are here only such a short period of time, and it would be a shame to pass through life without knowing the origin and the who and the what of our surroundings. The universe is a very strange place when you sit down and really think about it.
The plan was simple, keep his day job and explore the nature of things whenever possible. But the more he learned about his surroundings, the more nagging doubts began to creep into his mind that the way he was raised to live was not, in any way, sustainable. Each year seemed to bear ever more spectacular losses to natural systems and the damage to the atmosphere from carbon emissions criminal. He did not reach this conclusion lightly.
The first time, he got the feeling that something was wrong with the environment, happened on a trip he made to the Monte Verde Cloud Forest in Costa Rica in 1988. One of the interesting denizens of this forest was a beautiful amphibian called the Golden Frog. He remembers very clearly the frustration our guide felt as he searched the forest looking for what is normally a very common and easy animal to spot in these forests. Later he learned that he had just missed seeing them. A month earlier the frogs were common, and suddenly they were nowhere to be found. In fact, no one ever saw them again; these frogs had gone extinct. Shocking information for sure. But why? What had caused the forest to lose one of its most iconic animals?
The complete loss of the Golden Frog from the pristine forest was disturbing and it got his attention like a snake in the trail. At once he wondered if this was just an isolated incident or was it part of a much larger problem. The population of humans was at an all-time high, and so it was logical to assume some level of loss. Once he started to look for loss, he found it virtually everywhere, even in areas of perfect wilderness. Now he was really hooked. So what started out as a birding trip, turned into a lifelong quest to understand why the environment was falling apart en masse.
He went on like this for a while, then one Saturday in 2002 it hit him---the real culprit must be carbon. But how could he be sure? He then ran to the bookstore and got nothing. He felt he might be on to something big. Like the end of life as we know it type deal, so he ran back home and began pulling information off the internet. He had to know, he couldn't wait so he decided to research it on his own.
He went down the rabbit hole, researching relentlessly every single day for 4 years straight. Excited to share what he found, he started going to authorities in an effort to try to raise awareness and change our policies on carbon emission. He thought everyone would care about what he had to say because this matter is relevant to all life on earth. It turned out to be a major disappointment because he was met with so much resistance. He then decided to invest his life's savings in the renewable energy technology instead. A decision that would change his life, for if the project failed he realized that he would have to work until the day he died.
Through many ups and downs, the company Apparent Inc turned out to be successful as the first solar power plant in the world to provide grid support. The first one of its kind and his company is revolutionizing the way we manage the grid. Unfortunately, the stress of this process have accumulated in his body and manifested itself as prostate cancer. He will talk about that journey and how he overcame it and what he had learned in the process