On a spring day in 2005, while reading an article in the commuter train from work, I had a sudden insight:
Developing countries are growing in population and in wealth, thereby requiring enormous amounts of affordable energy. At the same time, global warming is real and will set boundary conditions for how much conventional energy we can use on this planet. How can we deal with such an inevitable global clash of needs?
I started to read more on the subject - it quickly became clear to me that this would become the ultimate challenge for my generation, and that it needed to be solved in order for my future children to be able to lead a life in a functioning society. I felt morally obliged to steer my career towards making a contribution to the solution for this problem, a contribution at the highest possible level for the maximum possible impact.
That was easier said than done.
At the time I was a 28-year old engineer, working for a Monaco-based contractor building offshore production platforms for the oil & gas industry. I was doing well in my job, moving quickly up the ladder, but I never felt passionate about my work. In my free time I co-founded Perspectivity where at least I found other ambitious people who shared my concerns and who also wanted to make a difference in the world (read more about Perspectivity here).
First I thought I could make an impact from within my job,
so I internally applied for a position in business development for innovative lower emission fuel (LNG), flaring reduction (GTL) and renewable energy products. Unfortunately my company was programmed to reactively follow the rules set out by the international oil & gas companies, and it lacked the leadership to provide the necessary support for these new initiatives.
For personal reasons
(my fiancee could not find work locally and I too was ready for a change of scenery) I asked (forced?) my company to send me to their Malaysia offices. They accepted on the condition that I would go back to the bread & butter of the company, i.e. project management of design, construction and operation of huge floating oil production platforms. As much as I enjoyed my personal life in Kuala Lumpur and in Asia in general, and as much as I appreciated the chance to learn the skills necessary for complex project management, the feeling of moral obligation to contribute to a better world stayed with me, grew stronger until the point that I knew I had to quit my job and pursue my passion.
The ideal moment presented itself
when my wife was offered a job in Cambodia. In July 2011 I quit my job and its wonderful career perspectives and moved to Phnom Penh. My plans to start my own company there were torpedoed - still in July - by a message from my wife's employer that we were requested to move on to the Philippines. We managed to convince them that we wanted to stay at least until January, which gave me the chance to do 3 months worth of consulting work for Kamworks, a social enterprise providing solar solutions for rural households.
And now here I am,
as of April 2012, in Manila, Philippines, about 7 years after my initial "insight", with no more excuses to do anything else than to follow my passion and work on the issue of global energy demand vs. climate change. This website is a way to collect what I read and learn, and to organize and share my thoughts. Thank you for visiting and do share your feedback!