Marco Mendoza is a geographer who has been developing tourism innovation projects for 20 years. In the last two years, he has given body and soul to his new project, TrueWorld, where he has managed to combine his two great passions: the respect and love he feels for nature and the implementation of technological innovations based on transparency and the independence of data.
What is TrueWorld and how did it come about?
TrueWorld is a Mallorcan project resulting from the union of different multidisciplinary scientists and technicians united by a common goal: to democratise information and the fight against the climate crisis and create an open-source platform that is an independent information observatory on climate change.
TrueWorld was born in the middle of the pandemic, but it was an idea that had been germinating for a long time. In 2009, I published my first scientific paper related to the implementation of blockchain on geospatial analysis platforms. For years, I had seen first-hand the harmful impacts of the tourism sector on the marine and terrestrial environment, and I thought it was time to do something. I wanted to leave my son a healthier world. My wife, Carlota, started the foundations of what is now TrueWorld as a project and helped me to make the decision to change direction and move from suits, ties, and offices to working directly with organisations, professionals, and people who are passionate about conserving our natural environment, using the technological advances available to us and without delegating environmental issues that affect society as a whole to political decisions, going beyond ideals and frontiers.
How does TrueWorld contribute to marine conservation?
For the first time, we have managed to create a digital twin of the planet that receives data from the world's main sources of information, including its marine protected areas, among many other layers of information. Our technology, in addition to unifying the different existing tools and data systems, allows us to create an information management environment that is totally transparent, accessible, and in real time, providing evidence of the management, the results obtained, and the good governance of these. We focus on the creation of added value and the contribution of an autonomous audit for developers and managers of marine and terrestrial conservation projects.
What projects are you carrying out in relation to the Balearic Sea?
In the public sphere, we are in talks with Ports IB, the Balearic Islands Port Authority, and Ports de Balears to create a collaborative platform that brings together all the actors working in research and conservation of the Balearic Sea. The aim is to centralise, unify, monitor, exploit, and publish the information generated to facilitate the transfer of results to society and decision-making.
In the private sector, we are creating the environmental impact layer (carbon footprint, water footprint, resilience, and carrying capacity) of the land-based maritime sector to make it public. In addition, we are working to help companies in the maritime port sector or working in the marine environment to exploit their businesses and resources to reach carbon neutrality or even achieve a positive balance. How? By calculating the carbon footprint, first of all, but as part of a comprehensive plan where they commit to integrating Blockchain technology and to fully offsetting their impact, if possible, in local conservation projects. It is in this mission that we hope to bring together the different active projects to be eligible to receive incentives derived from the impact of Balearic companies and to have a platform for the creation and dissemination of our own content.
In the field of education, we have several agreements with the University of the Balearic Islands, Harvard University, and some schools where the Observatory can be used to describe endangered species or indigenous communities.
We also collaborate with several non-profit foundations, such as Respiralia Foundation (the Reforesta Mallorca Project), Save the Med, Marilles, Cleanwave, and Oceana, among others.
The study and research of seas and oceans are essential for the conservation and preservation of valuable marine ecosystems. The research vessel Stenella, equipped with technological equipment for sensorisation and visualisation, provides information on the health of the Balearic Sea to viewers of the planet's vital signs in order to disseminate them to society as a whole. Photo: TrueWorld.
Once we have access to scientifically rigorous information, which is what you work for, how can TrueWorld or the observatory contribute to mitigating the oceanic and climate crisis?
We understand that to tackle a problem, the first thing is to have accurate information and to be able to streamline the procedures, bureaucracy, and certifications that are often inconsistent with laws that make it impossible to comfortably finance the people who work every day to mitigate climate change. Only with professional staff and the means to form agile scientific teams on the ground will we have a chance as a species.
What can we do as individuals?
As individuals, we have several options. First, we can condemn the companies and governments that continue to use fossil fuels and maintain subsidies for their extraction. We can also consider changing our consumption habits by looking for more sustainable and local products. Finally, we can spread the word and raise awareness in our family and personal environment about the need to change our habits and ways of living and doing business.
Quick quiz for sea lovers
A book: Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth.
An image that evokes the Balearics in you: Complicated; I have too many in my mind. But the blue cave of Cabrera.
A marine species: The whale.
A person or organisation of reference: Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente
A beach: Llucalcari in Mallorca and the little beach of love, Vallarta, Mexico.
A phrase that defines you: When they tell you that it is not possible, that you have no authority or that you are wrong, that is when it becomes clear to me that the path I am following is the right one.
Optimistic, realistic, or pessimistic? Optimistic and a dreamer.