#2 Chris Patton On How We Can Create a More Sustainable World

#2 Chris Patton On How We Can Create a More Sustainable World

We’ve entered into a challenging new world, that’s clear to see. Not only for each of us individually but also as a collective. “Sustainability” is the word on everyone’s lips at the moment. But what if we already had the power to turn things around and enforce more sustainable practices, right now, today?

Welcome to the Darin Olien Show.

On this podcast, you’ll hear me, Darin Olien, “the superfood hunter,” have inspiring and enlightening conversations with extraordinary people from all walks of life. Although our ideas and approaches to life may differ, our ultimate goal is the same- to save the planet one conversation at a time.

If you’re interested in expanding your view of the world by learning new perspectives on health, nutrition and healing the planet, and want to learn more about society’s Fatal Conveniences™- the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, even though they may be doing harm- then this is the podcast for you.

If you don’t think that superheroes exist, you haven’t met Chris Patton.

In this episode, I chat with one of my greatest friends, Chris Patton. Don’t worry about trying to Google search this guy, because the likelihood of you finding anything on him is pretty slim. You’re not going to find a website, you won’t come across any interviews, or even a hint of him talking about what he does – but I promise, his story is heroic and totally epic.

Chris comes from the Pacific Northwest in Washington State, and up until the mid-’90s, he lived a relatively normal life. He closed sales at a car lot for a time, before switching directions to work in banking. His life was comfortable and secure.

It wasn’t until he received an urgent fax from a friend living in West Africa that his world took a skidding turn. It set him on a course towards monumental life shifts involving millions of dollars, death-defying escapes, and ground-breaking scientific discoveries. 

This conversation is off the charts in terms of twists and turns. We dive into Chris’s whirlwind life, from gold and diamonds, getting shot and stabbed by militia and becoming a prisoner of war, to phantom movie stardom and rooting out the answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions on sustainable living. This saga has it all. 

For the last decade, Chris has been one of the senior science advisors for the UN on Green Technology. He’s been advising the African Union for over 15 years, as well as sitting on various international economic advisory councils.

Chris has done more than most people could do in four lifetimes. He has an enviable dedication and vigor towards saving us as a species. That’s probably why he and I mesh so well. 

This is not a conversation to be missed!

Other fun stuff in this episode: 
  • How have you been adapting to this new world?
  • Who is Chris? The unknown origin story
  • From rumors that he was dead to a blockbuster movie
  • How a sock full of smuggled diamonds led him to the International Tesla Society
  • Why we have the technology to be more sustainable and solve the energy crisis, but nothing is being done
  • The frustration of technological stalemate
  • Why “popular” science means nothing in the real world
  • How some of the planet’s greatest creators get taken advantage of
  • Why scientists should turn up the heat
  • The early days of invention
  • This week’s Fatal Convenience™- Hand Sanitizer 

The Darin Olien Show is produced by the team at Must Amplify. If you’re looking to give a voice to your brand and make sure that it’s heard by the right people, head to www.mustamplify.com/darin to see what Amplify can do for you.

Episode Transcript

Darin: You are listening to the Darin Olien Show. I’m Darin. I spent the last 15 years exploring the planet looking for healthy foods, superfoods, environmental solutions, and I’ve had my mind blown along the way by the people, the far off places I have been, and the life-altering events that have changed my life forever. My goal is to help you dive deep into some of the issues of our modern-day life, society’s fatal conveniences. The things that we do that we’re indoctrinated into thinking we have to, even though those things are negatively affecting us, and in some cases, slowly destroying us and even killing us. Every week, I have honest conversations with people that inspire me. My hope is through their knowledge and unique perspectives they’ll inspire you too. Together, we’ll explore how you can make small tweaks in your life that amount to big changes for you, the people around you and the planet, so let’s do this. This is my show, the Darin Olien Show.

Darin: Hey there. Welcome everybody. How’s it going? How are you? How’s the new world looking? There are some pluses, there’s some minuses, that’s for sure. I am eternal optimist. And you know what, at the end of the day, things happen. A lot of you know or maybe some of you who don’t, I lost my entire home and property in the fires of Malibu, so I know what it is to lose everything. Literally, I lost everything, and that’s significant to this episode too. Obviously, with the new pandemic, we lost a lot of freedom. We had to quarantine and self-isolate and all of that stuff which was required. With this new world, every time there’s a challenge to not only individually but as a collective, we all have to put on our big boots and figure out what our next steps are. There’s this term of pivoting, that’s adapting. So how have you been adapting to this new world? How have you been looking towards the silver lining? How have you found the silver lining and what have you done to allow that to come into your life? This is why when I lost my home, and I lost everything, I’ve been lucky and also open to having a friendship like my guest, and his name is Chris Patton. Now there’s very little that you can find online about this guy, but I promise you, he has been doing more than most people will do in three, four lifetimes. He has dedicated himself to saving us as species on the planet and doing things differently to create power, water and sovereignty with new technology, and what he says is this kind of old technology that has been either pushed, suppressed, or for whatever reason, not gone out to the masses. So no, you’re not going to find a website, you’re not going to find this information, nor are you going to find any interviews or very little that he’s talking about anything. Well, I’ve known Chris Patton, and he’s one of my greatest friends. He is a person I have in my life constantly, and we support each other. I think the reason that we’ve connected is because on one way, I have dedicated my life to moving in the world to support people and the planet, period. Anything else that I move away from those principles just doesn’t work, and I’m just not excited about it. So in my superfood hunting days, in my health-hunting days, in my clean energy tech, into seeing the world’s issues firsthand in over 30 countries, I have resonated with this human being, Chris Patten, because he has dedicated his life to supporting life and supporting this planet in a much bigger and better way. And I promise you, you will love this conversation. We have not gotten into even 1% of what this man is doing. And we will have several conversations with my friend here. This is the start for you to get to know some of his backstory, that backstory that you learn, you will be blown away because one of the top actors on the planet has played him in a very famous role that wasn’t even revealed that it was him in the movie, but we’re going to reveal it in this episode, and you’re going to be blown away. So I’m very happy, proud and honored to sit down with one of my best friends, a great human dedicated to greatness in this life, and an expression of that to help all of us. So welcome and enjoy this episode with my good friend, Chris Patton.

Darin: I’ve known you for, I think it’s like 15 years maybe. And I will say that obviously you’re a friend but you’re also one of the most interesting people in the world, and probably the most attractive thing that I’ve found, I think that we always stay in contact and resonate with is that you’re dedicated to something that’s way beyond a normal purpose, I think, and that is to save the planet and have the skills, the wherewithal the technology, the sustainable tech that can actually achieve what people dream of wanting to do, but have no idea how to do it. I also resonate with you because you’re a doer and you’re a go-getter and you are committed to that. To find another human like that is–

Chris: It’s always nice to find somebody else in action. I agree, man. On the flip side of it, having known you for 15 years, there’s one constant about you and that is you want to help people. It’s not just a matter of whether you’re changing diets or working with people on fitness or now you’re doing some environmental stuff, the goal is always the same, you’re really genuinely, it’s not a passing business fancy. It’s not a trend with you for a week. You’ve always been trying to help people and better yourself, and it really comes across. That’s what’s genuine about you. And that’s what I really love about you is that there’s nothing insincere about your motives for trying to help people with nutrition. My goal on my side besides trying to reverse the decline of the planet is to try to save our species from extinction because that’s what I see. The mammals are really on the short end of the rope this time. And we’re doing everything we can to accelerate that extinction process. And to see that happen and not want to do something means you’re either insane or completely callous or ignorant of the problem. And I can’t imagine with all the information available to everybody right now, how you can’t just see that it’s a problem. It’s real. And I don’t need a lobbyist group in Washington DC altering the data for me to see that it’s not happening when I can see that it’s happening.

Darin: Yeah, the decline of the planet is showing up and in so many different ways. But for people that, you mean, I laughed because Chris can’t be google searched. So for entertainment purposes, let’s go to the Genesis story of Africa. And with that being said, who you are, what you are, what you’re about, and what you’ve been doing but start with a story first.

Chris: Okay, so I’m from the Pacific Northwest originally, Washington State. And in the late 80s, early 90s, I got a job working as a banker. I was apprenticing for International Commercial Finance and Development. And the reason I got this job is because prior to that, I sold cars. So this is the evolution of banking. I sold cars and I was a closer and at some point, I was training closers at a car dealership and I was so good that if you came onto my lot, I could take your keys, throw them onto the roof and guarantee that you’d be driving out with a new car. That’s how good I was.

Darin: I never even knew that stuff. Knowing what I know about you, the fact that you’re selling cars.

Chris: So the car sales thing was going well, and that was economically viable until I was like 23 years old. And at some point, I got just tired of the life, and I got tired of being boxed into being a car salesman. An investment banker was on the lot one day and I’d sold him a truck or something like that, and he goes, “Man, could you just come into my bank for an hour and train the guys who have spent the last four years in college not learning how to sell?” He said, “Can you train them to sell?” I said, “I can train anybody to sell.” He goes, “Okay, come train my bankers. I need to show them how to close people. They can’t close people on any deal.” So I thought, “Well, what a banking is this, man. This is weird.” And he goes, “Well, this is International Commercial Finance Development. We make ships at sea.” And I’m like, “Wow, I want to do that.” So I came in. I trained these guys for a week. And their sales went up to 200% less than four days just because they knew three or four closing techniques that I taught them to use on the phone. And the guy said, “You know, you’d be a permanent addition if you came in here. Could you just keep training my guys.” I’m like, “Well, why am I training your guys when I can do this? You’re telling me that I can make the money these guys are making with my car salesman like skills.” He goes, “Yeah, okay?” I’m into banking now. So I went got my certification. And I went and got my little banking training. And within a year, I was running their international commercial finance division and I started training with Credit Suisse to be a loan underwriter for commercial banking.

Darin: Where was this?

Chris: This is up in Portland, Oregon at the time. I got this fax one day from a friend of mine who was over in West Africa, and it said, “Chris, urgent. Investment going sideways. I found golden diamonds. Call me.” I hadn’t heard of this guy in a year and I thought he was dead. So I called him up and he was in this hotel. And what had happened was, they’d gone to this one area over near Liberia in 1994 and they’d struck a huge contract or I’d say an agreement, a handshake agreement with a couple of guys who had a gold operation in a really shady area. And they were pulling out about, I think about 200 pounds per day unrefined. I didn’t know what that meant at the time. So I just said, “That sounds interesting. What do you want me to do?” He goes, “Well, can you come here because these guys just fled for their life, and they left me for dead in my hotel room and I can’t pay my bill and they’ve seized my passport.” I said, “Well, okay. I don’t think I want to come there.” He goes, “Well, if you come here, and you pay my hotel bill, it’ll get me out of hock. I’ll give you a map and I’ll show you where we got all the gold.” I’m thinking, “Man, I got to know. I got to know.” So within five days, I was on a flight to West Africa, Ivory Coast, a little town called Abidjan. He drove me 500 miles east, I’m sorry, west over into Liberia. And with my own eyes, I saw the gold coming out of the creeks being dropped into gourds. They weren’t using screens, there was no advanced processes. They were just picking what they could see out of the dirt, putting it into a gourd, throwing it into a bucket, and then driving it to town. And I thought, “What would this be like if these guys had equipment and screens and sifting stuff?” He goes, “Well, nobody else is out here but us so it’s ours if we want it.” So seven days later, I liquidated my stock. I sold all my interest in the company and I sold my real estate and I moved to West Africa and I started the first American golden diamond exploration company in the Ivory Coast in 1995. Now that seemed like a great idea at the time. And over the course of about a year, we were doing fairly well. I was doing some rubies and we were doing some sapphires because that’s sort of a byproduct of where you are over there in those creeks. And we were doing a lot of gold and I was up a couple of million dollars from a $75,000-investment. And what we didn’t know is that a civil war had started around us because there was no TV, we weren’t getting the news, and it was always crazy out there anyway. Somebody was always dying or shooting somebody, except that this one week I was going out to this area where I’d been sponsoring a mine and there was nobody there and all my capital equipment had been turned over and it was on fire. And I thought, “Well, they never do that.” So there’s got to be a really big struggle for somebody to light my stuff on fire like this. But what had happened was the Civil War had moved over this area, and they’d gone around me and passed me without me knowing it, and I was in the middle of the Liberian Civil War. Within two months, my partners had been shot. I was a POW for about six weeks. I didn’t tell my family about it. I managed to escape and I crawled out of my hands and knees with a sock full of diamonds, and I managed to escape over to Switzerland. This whole thing took place over the course of about a year. And reflecting on it when I was in Switzerland, I was kind of amazed at how inexpensively I’d managed to keep my golden diamond operation going because of sustainability. And sustainability out there was a lesson that you’ll learn because your supply chain for fuel and for supplies is either always getting cut off, limited or vanishes on you. So we weren’t running our engines on diesel, we were running on our engines off of bioethanol that we were making from coconut milk. And that just became standard operating procedure. But I also had this other process that I was using out there, which was a cold plasma process that was taught to me by a 94-year-old guy named Burt who’d been out there since 1955. And it was a process he learned in high school in the 1940s. And it was a way of taking hydrogen, sort of electrifying it so it became atomic hydrogen, and it would separate the gold from the quartz with a very small amount of electricity and no toxicity. So no acids were used. We weren’t using any kind of arsenic. We weren’t killing anybody downstream. We had a very clean ore process for a car battery, some stainless steel and some other exotic electronics. And when I came back to the States after my little West African misadventure, I was broke. All my money had been seized or stolen from me but I still had the bug, and I wanted to get back to the game but I didn’t want to go back to Africa.

Darin: So before you– because you jumped over this part and I know too much. And I want the audience to fully grok what is going on here.

Chris: Okay.

Darin: So you said all of your friends were killed and weren’t you shot?

Chris: I was shot and I was stabbed.

Darin: And you were shot right through your triceps?

Chris: I was clipped on the arm and I was stabbed fully through the leg where the knife went to the front and I could feel the tip coming out the back because it was a fish knife, and it was so sharp. I remember the shock of it going through my leg. I remember looking down thinking, my pants feel wet. That’s weird. Oh, that’s my blood pouring out of the back of my leg. That’s why my pants are all wet. So as a warning to me, during a negotiation that was going sideways, the guy had a knife in his hand, and he just pressed it down into my leg and pulled it back out really quick. And I’m not sure if it’s a tactic they’ve used before, if they just thought it’d be funny to do to me, and that would get the point across, but I remember looking down and it didn’t really hurt at first, but then the shock of it sort of started when I saw the knife in front of me, I went, “I just got stabbed in the leg, man.” So I’ve gotten stabbed first as a warning and then I got shot a day later as a second warning because negotiations were falling sideways. What they were trying to do is they’re trying to get me to bring in money to keep a gold operation going so they could buy arms and send them up North Libya.

Darin: And this is when the unrest was happening.

Chris: Yeah. So what had happened was there was another coup taking place in Liberia. They’d had one of these things in the mid 80s. What they do is they go up North and they take the golden diamonds from the region, and they use that to buy arms, the military did. And they come back in and they coup the country, but they murder and massacre anybody who’s in disagreement. So there’s this mass exodus of hundreds of thousands of people fleeing past us for the borders. And that’s another thing I didn’t quite understand what was going on. At the time, there was a lot of Ebola breakouts. And we would go into a village where everybody would be dead, the chickens would be running around. You’d know not to get out of your car because they’re all dead from Ebola. That was not uncommon in the area that I was in. What was weird is that all these people that were fleeing around us and the capital equipment that was getting destroyed, we knew something new was going on, but there was no news. What was happening is they were killing hundreds of thousands of people by arming these 14 and 15 year old kids with AK-47s and they were slaughtering everybody and just taking all the golden diamonds. They wanted me to keep the operation going to keep feeding money into the area.

Darin: So that was the only reason they kept you alive.

Chris: That and being an American kept me alive. They were killing the French like crazy. The French West Africans. They didn’t know what to do with me. They accidentally caught me when I was working my way back towards the Ivory Coast. They seized my car. When they heard American English coming out of my mouth, I think they started thinking airstrike. They start getting freaked out. They didn’t know how to negotiate my release. They didn’t know who to talk to. And I kept saying, “Hey, there’s an embassy here in town, guys. You can just call these guys. The State Department will pick me up, just call them. They didn’t make the call.” So about six weeks into this, I realized they’re either just too freaked out to sell me or they’re just going to let me die because they don’t know what else to do. So I got to make my escape. So one really harrowing night, I planned my leap out of this little camp and fought my way through about 12 guys, half of them were armed. And I managed to escape down river with a car tire and I stashed my sock full of diamonds six weeks earlier over by the road where they’d seized my car. And I got my sock full of diamonds and I jumped in this river and I managed to get my way back over to the Ivory Coast. I was taken back to Abidjan and flown over to Switzerland to recover. And while I was there, in my wackiness, I thought I got to get back there and recover my investment. I was so deep. I’d made so much money so fast but I got into so much debt with people on borrowing the money to get there that I couldn’t really go home. I was sort of stuck in Switzerland. So I was healing from my leg wound and I was healing from my shot in the arm and from losing all that money. And my only thought was, I know how to do this better than anybody because I was able to run a sustainable camp when nobody else could. I’m going right back over there to recover my investment. So one thing led to another and I went back to New York City and I tried to get some more investors in, and then I realized the Civil War was getting worse. The murder was getting worse. My contacts that I had used over the Ivory Coast in Liberia were all dead. So 15 people out of the 16 of us that were in this little consortium, I was the only survivor and I’d been caught. So I thought, I’m wasting eight of these nine lives going back here, so maybe I should curb my losses.

Darin: From your Africa adventure, is there a movie that may or may not have come out based on your life story?

Chris: There may have been a film, a couple of people caught in the early 2000s. So when I came back into town, I was in Los Angeles and I was promoting my documentaries. And a friend of mine owns Dark Horse Comics, which is the third-largest manufacturer in the world, publisher, sorry. A friend named Mike Richardson, he’s a Portland, Oregon boy. And I was in town and I was actually trying to help a friend make a science fiction film digitally because I had been shooting digital for about five years and not a lot of people had in LA. They were still shooting on film. So he goes, “Hey, I don’t have the money to shoot the sci-fi film, can you help me?” And I said, “Well, before we do that, let’s go find out if we can get distribution for it before we film this thing.” So I went to my friend who own Dark Horse Comics. He had a deal at Universal Studios. And he goes, “Where you been, man?” I haven’t seen him in about six years ago. The rumor has been you’ve been dead, you were shot, and you were burned. I’m like, “What? Half true. I was shot for a little bit, stabbed a couple of times but I’m back doing documentaries and a sci fi film.” And he goes, “Well, can you give me your adventure? Where you’ve been?” So I told him my West African story. He goes, “Oh, man, you’re not going to believe this but the agencies were asking for a remake of Humphrey Bogart’s Sierra Madre, where it’s about a couple guys, and they find our gold deposit and they go out of their minds, and basically, the insanity of the greed kills them. And I’m like, “Wow, man, yeah. I just lived that except I’m the sole survivor.” And he goes, “Well, can you just write that adventure down for me in a couple of pages? I’m going to be going into an agency tomorrow. They might want to pitch it.” And I said, “I’ll just tell you what I did in Africa. That’s it.” He goes, “Yeah.” I said, “Okay.” Well, I wrote up a two-page treatment called Sierra Leone, and it was about my misadventures in West Africa. And it went through the agency and it got optioned by Universal Studios, and it got optioned by two other production companies. One is called Plan B, which is Brad Pitt’s, and another one’s called Section Eight, which was Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney. And they optioned my life story rights. They ended up optioning it twice, and they optioned the treatment that I wrote. And they had me write a script a year later of my adventures, just so they had an accounting of what the timeline was. And that eventually became Blood Diamond. And that was based on the original title was The Adventures of Chris Patton, Blood Diamond.

Darin: So Leonardo came in and said, “No, we’re going to name it Blood Diamond.”

Chris: Well, they also kind of merged me with my South African partner Eric.

Darin: So they took some liberties. Obviously, there was a lot of things also that– because you’ve said before that there’s a real Sarah Leone story that you’d like to tell someday.

Chris: Yeah, it’s worse than that film could ever laid on and that was the problem.

Darin: It became about blood diamonds which you never partook in.

Chris: It didn’t exist when I was there. Blood diamonds were the thing, that was a late 90s thing. And that was a story that Vanity Fair broke. That’s actually what got me the option for the film. I just happened to be in town in 1999. And when we were talking about this whole West African adventure, my pitch had gone to the studio prior to the vanity fair article on blood diamonds. The Vanity Fair article validated my adventures in West Africa, which is what got Steven Soderbergh’s company to option the life story rights. And then Brad Pitt’s company wanted to option the treatment that I wrote, so I had what was called a split options deal, which screws you up a little bit because one production company wants your story, the other one wants your life story, which means I couldn’t sell any studio, any of my adventures from 1995 till 2002, they own that block of my life. And so anytime they had a question for me, I had to answer it, filled in for them. So within over the course of two years in this development cycle, you had this script that turned into the movie you saw versus the story that another studio wanted to tell about what actually happened. At some point, after the third or fourth check clears, you have to walk away because it’s not your project anymore, and they’re only taking the bits and pieces of the story that they want to sort of conform with what the news is saying to make it sellable. And I’ve got no regrets man. It started me in the film production business. And because of that, I became an executive producer with Dark Horse Comics and Dark Horse entertainment for nearly a decade. And I wrote four scripts and sold for scripts and got to produce some fun films. And I was a visual effects producer in one of the coolest companies in the world.

Darin: Many of you who follow me know I’ve spent most of my life searching for the healthiest foods on the planet from the Amazon jungle to the Andes of Peru, to the Himalayas and Bhutan, to the deserts of Africa, and everything in between discovering hundreds of plants and herbs and superfoods like this is my passion. Things like sacha inch, an Incan treasure, wild [unintelligible 00:31:41] mushrooms, things like Maya nuts, another Aztec superfood, wild cocoa moringa, many adaptogenic herbs and on and on and on. If you look hard enough, there are a few unknown extraordinary foods around the world that people still don’t know about. And a few years ago, I came across my favorite superfood discovery of all time, barukas nuts. Why is that my favorite? Well, when I first tasted them, my eyes lit up. I was blown away. They’re so delicious with notes of popcorn and cocoa and chocolate with peanut butter, and with this amazing crunch, so the taste alone just absolutely blew me away. But after sending them to the lab, which I do, and getting all the tests, I realized they’re the healthiest nuts on the planet. No other nut even compares. They have an unusually high amount of fiber, which is critical for healthy digestion. We’re all getting way too low of fiber in our diet and it’s good for the healthy bacteria and microbiome. And they’re off the charts in super high antioxidants, and have few calories than any other nut. It’s jam-packed with micronutrients. And what they don’t have is just as important as what they do have because they’re found in the forest in the savanna what’s called the Cerrado biome of Brazil, not grown on a plantation or a farm. They’re untouched by industrial pesticides, larvicides, fertilizers. They’re truly a wild food. But they’re not just good for you, they’re really good for the planet. Most other nuts require millions of gallons of irrigated water, not to mention, using bees and shipping them across the United States and just horrible sustainable practices just to grow certain nuts annually, but Baruka trees require no artificial irrigation. At one time, the Cerrado’s forest were made up of millions of these trees. These trees are incredible. They’re nitrogen fixers. They give back to the other plants in the forest. Their grandfather of sacred trees, but most of them were chopped down to make way for cattle, soy, and corn production. When you’re down in Brazil, it can be absolutely shocking. And actually, I’ve cried several times with miles and miles of deforested land filled with soy farms. This beautiful Savanna filled with soy farms and cattle grazing. Our mission is to reverse that. And the long term goal is to plant 20 million new baruzeiro trees throughout the Cerrado. And if that wasn’t enough, we are also providing highly beneficial and fair jobs for thousands of indigenous people so they can stay on their land and they can thrive with this consistent income every year forging and working with Barukas. Barukas are truly good for you, good for the planet, and good for the world community. It’s a win all the way around. I really think you’ll love them, so I’m giving all of my listeners 15% off by going to barukas.com/darin. That’s B-A-R-U-K-A-S dot com backslash Darin, D-A-R-I-N and using the code “Darin” at the checkout. I know you will enjoy.

Darin: So just to summarize then, and then we can go back to the part where you had some epiphanies of this technology. But you came back and did you write the story? So something else happened, so what else happened then?

Chris: I did not. I was trying to keep this one under my belt. It was kind of really embarrassing.

Darin: So you were embarrassed about this.

Chris: I was embarrassed. I made a lot of money and I’d lost more. So my initial investment had about a 2,000% return over 18 months, I did really well, then I lost it all in less than six weeks due to a civil war and a coup. So that’s a hard story to come back and tell people because either they don’t believe it or you’re looking to get out of repaying your investors and I had a couple of private investors that were involved. So I was just trying to work in other transactions to make up for the Africa ordeal. But one of the things that was really hanging on me was this process that we used in West Africa, this plasma process because I thought I can use this process and start a gold operation in Nevada. So what I need to do is get another plasma or processor. So I went to a shop and I said, “Okay, I’m going to start doing some mining up in Alaska and over in Nevada, and I need a plasma or processor. And they said, “That doesn’t exist. What you’re saying right now doesn’t exist. And if it did exist, it’d be an impossible thing and you’d be a billionaire.” I’m like, “Well, I used this for almost two years in West Africa, so I know it exists.” So after a couple of weeks of trailing around and realizing that nobody really knew what the hell I was talking about, this was not a common process. This was a proprietary process and I wanted to do some diligence on it. So the money that I had leftover from West Africa, went into research and development for finding out what this process was, when was it invented, and what else can it do? If it was doing this where I was able to separate gold from quartz so easily, where it would just liquefy the gold and pour it out and leave the quartz untouched, and it wouldn’t leave any wasteful byproducts, there’s something useful here, maybe we can get this to an engine and use it to run engines or something. It’s a cool process. And that led me to the International Tesla Society around late 1996. And I started talking to a few people who are familiar with the process I was talking about, but they had different names for it. I thought, well, that’s interesting. So we’ve got a process that is not common, but common enough that people have named it 60 times but nobody really knew the origin of it, or why it did what it did. So I thought this is worth investigating. This is kind of cool. And the best way to get somebody to talk is to put a camera in front of them. So what I did is I started a documentary film company called Zero Point Films. And I thought, well, how tough could it be to make documentaries on this stuff? I’ve been watching my whole life, you put a camera in front of somebody, you throw some cash down, and you start getting a documentary. So by the end of 1998, I had 500 hours plus of interviews with amazing scientists and engineers who’d come up with ways to explain this atomic hydrogen process, the origin of it, and what it could be used for outside of plasma or mining and all the different things you could do with welding with it and driving cars with it and all these other fanciful, non-fanciful things depending on who was telling you the story. So it became an ex-file for me trying to figure out where this stuff came from and were there more solutions like this. And working with the International Tesla Society, there’d be a genius who would show up every week, who would take you to his little hut over in Utah someplace and show you that he’s making diamonds for the microwave oven or something weird like that. And I thought, well, there’s a lot of stories here. So I started documenting all of them. And within five years, my company Zero Point Films was the primary consultant for film and entertainment on exotic sciences and unique processes that had to do with cold fusion, hot fusion, nuclear waste remediation, things like that because I’d interviewed all the engineers and scientists who had either developed it or worked on a process like that. So I had this amazing library of interviews and footage. And then within six or seven years, a lot of these people that I was interviewing were passing away because they were in their late ’60s or early ’80s. So this library of information became more valuable. And I realized, okay, we can’t lose this information. There’s some really cool valuable stuff here. And some of it was military-funded, and some of it was privately funded. So there was a lot of money backing a lot of these exotic processes. And most of them had to do with getting away from fossil fuels, coal, and nuclear energy. That seemed to be the theme for a lot of them. So this process that started in West Africa, this greedy process of me trying to find a way to melt gold away from quartz to fill my pockets turned into a sort of long trail of finding a way to get rid of fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy with technologies that currently exist that need minor modifications. That’s where we are with Africa. There’s a long circle.

Darin: So essentially, you ran around to gather these 500 people with your own kind of team to document, learn about, and that incubator that you didn’t even know you were doing was incubating something inside of you and it was starting to really manifest inside of you. Number one thing that popped in my head was sustainable tech hunting in the 90s because people call me superfood hunter but the curiosity and then the deeper meaning that started to emerge, I can only imagine then just became your sustainable fuel for finding this and digging into it.

Chris: Their frustration became my frustration after the interview. When you talk to somebody who’s worked on a really cool project that could eliminate the need for fossil fuels that was maybe Rolls Royce funded, and that they start tearing up in the interview because they know this is something that’s a legacy that they could have passed on to mankind. And after 100 of those interviews, you start getting that frustration as well. You start thinking, what are we doing this? We’re so backward here. This is the ’90s when I had to convince people that there was a problem because this is like 1990s.

Darin: Way ahead. Any green or sustainable something.

Chris: There was no environmental anything. You had to convince people that gasoline was going to run out soon and that there was a possibility of the air getting polluted again. And that nuclear is maybe not such a great idea unless you want to store the waste at your house. So it became a contagion after a while of frustration where I would interview somebody in their 60s or 80s or 90s and they’d tell me a story from the 1950s when they were working for the military, and they’re driving a car on ammonia that they processed out of air and the car was running with zero pollution and the ammonia was captured and recycled. You’re like, “What, what, what, what, what? Why aren’t we doing this now? And that becomes the frustration after a while. If this is all true, how can it be true if I haven’t seen it? That becomes the big thing.

Darin: And that’s where people can’t believe it that the normal person goes, “Well, Chris, if this was really true, don’t you think that it would be out there? Who are you, Chris to tell us that there’s a technology that can save the planet?”

Chris: Okay, so I’ll give you a brief bio of what I’ve been doing the last decade that’ll kind of lead into how I have to do this diligence on this kind of stuff. So I’m one of the senior science advisors for the UN for green technology now. I’ve been advising the African Union now for over 15 years, various state officials and science economic advisory councils and science ministers. So depending on who has a problem, I have to craft the research to the problem, their specific problem. So I have also been working with a Pastor Group in Monaco. I work with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. So I’ve been in this game now as a science advisor for some time. And the thing with being a science advisor, it means you’ve got to have an amazing team of guys who can fill the gaps. And to know how to identify those guys, you need to know how to fix the problem to begin with to identify those guys. So part of my training or self-training since 1996 has been to find out how many times historically have we succeeded and blown it? How many times have we hit the mark and then veered off to the left for whatever reason and why? And then there’s always a myriad of why’s. But from my initial research into sustainable energy, it had to do with a closed-loop freon turbine that the guy who trained me in electrical engineering back in the early ‘90s was a guy named Shelby Henderson. Shelby Henderson used to work at Desilu Studios in the 1950s, making gears for their cameras but he was also the guy who is the co-inventor of the VCR. The flying erase head, that’s his patent. He worked for Ampex, and this is the guy. You look him up, he’s got amazing awards, and he was in his late 80s when I met him in the mid to late 90s. And he had mentioned one afternoon because I was talking about the hydrogen stuff and I believe that a car could run on water. He goes, well, you could run on water, but back in the late 1930s or early ’40s, my father and I used to run a car on a closed-loop ammonia turbine. I went, “So there was no exhaust.” He goes, “No, there was no exhaust.” He goes, “My father was a refrigeration tech, and back then we used ammonia before freon became a thing in the ’50s because ammonia boils at room temperature. So we would have this fluid that would boil at room temperature, we put it into a turbine and we’d raise the salt flats. And in an ammonia car that had no emissions. That’s right. I said, “This is the 1930s.” He goes, “That’s right.” And I used to think, there’s no way this existed. Now, this is the mid-’90s, so the internet was still a little flighty, so I had to go do a deep dive to find out was there anything else like this? Did anybody else invent a comparable technology because there’s got to be a reason why we don’t have this? There must be a fail on this thing. So I started doing a deep dive on this and I found out that a couple of American contractors that were over in Egypt in the early 1908 and 1914s, we’re doing a closed-loop ammonia turbine power plant that was 100 kilowatts. That was on the cover of Popular Science Magazine and Popular Mechanics in the early 1900s doing exactly that over in Egypt for 125 horsepower.

Darin: So they’re using ammonia, which boils at room temperature, which creates expansion to turn a turbine to create power.

Chris: Right. And so you heat it up, you cool it down. So what effectively it is, is a heat pump. You moving heat from here, and you’re taking it here, here to here. You’re not exhausting it. So there’s a magic line that sort of came out in the development cycle in the last 20 years. And I noticed that in the 1950s, this got reinvented again by a Navy Commander where he demonstrated in Popular Science Magazine, a closed-loop ammonia turbine. And this became something later in the ’50s called an organic Rankine cycle, which is where you take a refrigerant that boils at a low temperature, you heat it up, it goes through the turbine, it exhausts, it turns back into a liquid, and you run it again, and you run it again. So it’s like a freezer that you heat up and put a turbine on it. That’s the organic Rankine cycle. What’s interesting is that cycle, if done correctly, with the right refrigerant and the right kind of turbine can run at room temperature or low temp liquids, which means if you’ve got a faucet that puts out hot water and it’s 150 degrees Fahrenheit, there are fluids that exist right now that will boil to steam, turn a turbine, and if you can use enough of that steam and turn it into work where it liquefies itself on the exhaust side, then you can run a refrigerator with a turbine indefinitely as long as there’s no leak. So that’s the idea of an organic Rankine cycle. Then they have these things called a Rankine cycle and that’s a steam engine. So the thread on this that I noticed is that this heat pump idea which seemed to be an exotic way of just bouncing heat back and forth could be used in different types of energy systems. And I found that we keep rediscovering it about every 20 years. We call it something else, we put a different motor on it, and then it vanishes again. Then we rediscovered again. And this has been going on since the 1870s or so. We discover it, we put a cap on it, we call it something, it goes underground again. And I noticed that we pretty much solved everything we needed to resolve our “energy crisis.” By the late 1930s, the science existed, the science was known. You don’t have to go to Tesla on this thing because everybody likes to say, well, they killed the guy who invented the radiant energy antenna that would absorb power from the atmosphere and powered mankind forever. Yes, but what most people don’t know about Tesla was when you read his works, that was not his favorite technology. That was his most publicized technology. He had written a paper that talked about liquefying a gas, liquid oxygen, which was just being done in the 1880s-1890s. And he wrote this paper around 1904, and he said, the engine of the future is to use my Tesla turbine with a liquid that boils at room temperature, which would make it solar. So the sun is heating the earth up enough that you can take this liquid gas, which is just liquid air, turn it into fuel by just heating it up and turning it to steam, recapturing it, re-liquefying it, and completing that cycle indefinitely. So it’s a closed-loop liquid air turbine. That’s what he’d proposed in the early 1900s, and it’s sort of gotten missed. I don’t know why, because when you read his paper on it, he’s very clear that he thinks that’s the technology of the future. That’s what’s going to power everything, and advanced solar technology that uses a liquefied fluid out of the environment that just recycles itself inside of a turbine.

Darin: You know Chris is just one of those special people that’s kicking ass and doing his thing, and I love that about you. I mean your situation is massively different than mine. Not a lot of people survive a civil unrest in Sierra Leone, but what you garnered was this deeper curiosity and passion. And you are one of the people that I would say, not the people that are out on social media trying to be the environmentalists. You are one of the greatest environmentalist I know because you are actually doing it way before there was hashtags.

Chris: That’s true. I will give you that. I was doing it prior to hashtags.

Darin: Right. Yeah. Pre-hashtag.

Chris: I was pre-hashtag Chris, man. Oh, it’s true. And there’s a David Bloom who’s an ecologist. He says it best, “Environmentalisms are religion. Ecology is a science.” I think I fall closer to the ecology side because I work as a mechanical engineer with an electrical engineering background. That’s kind of some college stuff that I did. So when I approach a project, I’m not really looking for this week’s opinion of what’s wrong because it’s generally the same thing. It’s heating, cooling, power, refrigeration and septic. You can change the story every week, it just changes from an order of magnitude from a house to a country, but it’s always the same issues. So over a decade ago, we decided to roll up our sleeves and find out what’s already been invented that fixes that? Is there a better way to do it? Is there a cheaper way to do it, and why isn’t it out? And usually, you’ll find the “why” is either economic or poorly promoted or there was a real bug in the system where they oversold a plan that didn’t work very well. It was just too early.

Darin: We’re a bucked the hell of a system that people that–

Chris: Yes, the idea, I know there’s a lot of conspiracy on it, but there’s a lot of fact on it. There’s a lot of technologies that are very viable. They get classified every year. They fall into the war act. And if the industry likes something enough, they take it. So when you get a patent, you’re asking for permission to be recognized by your government that you invented something. So right there, you’re already opening the door to getting your head stomped on pretty hard if they like it a lot. If they really like it, you’re congratulated with a classification order, and a treason order that says, “Well done, citizen. You’ve done it. As a matter of fact, you’ve done it so well, it’s classified. We’ll decide in five years what we want to pay you for it but if you discuss it with anybody from this point forward or try to obtain financing, it’s treason.” And they take that stuff very seriously. Now, the rumors in the last few years and you see it on the internet, and the internet makes this kind of stuff very challenging to navigate through when you’re talking to people, that inventors are killed. You don’t have to kill an inventor. You really don’t. You just have to cut his financing off. He’ll kill himself after a while. So I’ve known a lot of the inventors that are talked about on the Internet. And the late 80s or early 90s, these guys just sort of stumbled through the International Tesla Society, and I got to meet them personally. There’s a lot of financial discrepancies from people who are not experienced in setting up businesses. Sometimes they accidentally sell a company 300%. Sometimes they have to make a wild and exotic claim to keep you interested. So you’ll always wonder, why didn’t it come to market? Then on the internet, it says, the technology the government doesn’t want you to have because the inventor was slaughtered.” You’re like, “I knew that guy. He didn’t get slaughtered. He kind of did it to himself.” So brother in-law’s drug, alcoholism, what have you. Now, it did happen a lot more in the ’50s and ’60s. There was a lot more of a communist kind of threat thing going on, so it was easier to sort of take somebody out when they were interfering. It’s a lot more challenging especially after 9/11 because they don’t have the resources that they used to have on just looking at everybody and discerning who’s coming out with exotic stuff. You kind of get lost in the murmur now. If you get really loud about it, and it’s really good, what usually happens is you get approached by a special interest to sell your technology or merge. That’s generally what happens. The lie that I hear most when I do my diligence is, “I just got an offer for $800 million and I refused to sell.” “An oil company offered me this bah, bah, bah, bah, bah.” And I say, “Can I see the paperwork?” “No.” “Can I talk to the lawyer?” “No.” “Can I see the document? Do you have a memorandum of understanding?” “No, no, no.” It’s like, okay, then you’re selling a story to pay rent. And I get that, I really do. As an ex-film finance guy, you got to say what you have to say to keep alive, but the problem is, you have to work through the noise pollution to really get to the really good stuff. And the funny thing that I found is that the really good stuff isn’t the stuff you’ve heard about on the internet. You haven’t heard of these people because they’re quiet, they’re lonely, they usually work in a basement with a swinging light bulb and they eat twice a week. These guys are living the life of just trying to get this idea out of their head onto paper to get it away. And those are the things I’m usually looking for, is I’m looking for the quiet individual in a foreign country or in the United States who has been working in his basement for 25 years, and he’s had a lightbulb running off a nine volt battery, and he can’t figure out why but it keeps doing it every single time he wires it this way. So what I did is I started hooking up with MIT, and a few universities about two decades ago now, almost 20 years ago. And we started going out and offering these people financial advice on how to move forward with your unique and exotic idea that you may or may not be able to explain. And that was another problem as these guys were very difficult to package financially. So they tend to attract vultures. And these vultures are the ones that usually take advantage of them either by stealing the technology or moving it overseas to China or Indonesia where they try to replicate it, but they don’t understand how the technology got to where it’s at so you can kind of build the one that they had slightly which is– what you see on the internet usually is a kind of working model of something, but you never see a commercial version of it. That’s generally a fourth or fifth generation theft of idea. Because you can go on the internet now and you show me a magnetic motor and I can show you whether that thing was existing in the late ’80s or early ’90s. It’s been repurposed in India, it’s being repurposed in China, somebody’s making a new claim to it because they want a billion dollars, yada, yada, yada. It doesn’t quite work. And the funny thing is, you don’t need to go super exotic. That’s a lie. You don’t have to go super Tesla ambient energy, earth battery, you don’t need to, man. You got heat. And if you’ve got heat, you’ve got power. We’ve got the mechanical science to put it together. We know how to harness and capture heat. We know how to exchange it with a gas that boils at room temperature. You can power society with this right now. And you don’t need to centralize it like a giant nuclear power plant. You can put it in your basement. The science exists now and it has existed since 1938.

Darin: So I mean, that’s the big– It’s already here.

Chris: We can get into the history of compressed air technology, the real history of hydrogen and hydraulics, and all that fun stuff.

Darin: So we can make a list of tons of stuff that people will be like, oh my god. You used to send me like the cover copies of the Popular Science.

Chris: Oh yeah, I’ve got a good collection of that.

Darin: And all of those things and I was like, oh my god.

Chris: I’ve got a magazine collection that goes back to the 1890s of Popular Science, Mechanical Engineering and Popular Mechanics and a few others. And what’s funny is the cover stories were always meant to sell like comic book covers but you start digging into the stories at the time of how remarkably innovative these people were in the early part of the century because anything goes, the physics weren’t written, so they didn’t know. They didn’t know better. So they would just invent and innovate just bizarre, amazing shit. And then the next week, another guy would carry on from that idea and just make it crazier and better. And for a window between 1890 and 1940, there was an anything-goes attitude with science, and you can see it in the magazines.

Darin: But also from your journey of meeting some of these people, which has then allowed you to go deeper and farther and develop what you’ve developed, and that’s a beautiful thing, learning from the history and learning from the faults. There’s a lot of business and acumen that never was able to be there but it’s a good ending point because there’s so much more to dig into on this and the viewers will just be going, “I’m trying to get over the fact that this dude was the Blood Diamond movie.”

Chris: The little things.

Darin: I’ve seen the scars too, by the way. But anyway, thank you, man. I really appreciate the time.

Chris: Thanks, dude, this is fun.

Darin: Now we’ve reached a part of the show where we address society’s fatal conveniences, and how we can avoid falling into them and being a victim of them. I defined fatal conveniences as the things we may be doing because the world we live in makes us believe we have to, or we’re not even aware that these conveniences are harming us. Even though they may be saving us time, or tricking us into thinking they’re good for us, the truth is, they’re not. In fact, they could be slowly harming us and even killing us.

Darin: So today, we’re going to talk about one that’s very prevalent in our society right now, and that’s hand sanitizers. I want you to really hear me here because our world is different. Because of this COVID-19, we have to protect ourselves because we have this new invader. We can’t see it, so we need some sort of barrier or habit that we do to protect us. Obviously, social distancing has been the thing. And then purell gel and all of this stuff you can’t even buy anymore and face masks and all that stuff. So I want to highlight some important things with hand sanitizing. So, number one, obviously, it’s an issue. So there was a 2017 study by the journal of GERMS, literally, the journal GERMS, assessed 27 cellphones and found a median or the average of 17,000 bacterial gene copies per phone. So, obviously, the things we’re touching, our environment is just filled full of bacteria. Bottom line is, our body’s doing a hell of a job defending itself from all of these bacteria. So that’s one thing I want to keep in mind. We have been synergistic with these bacterias and viruses for a long time, for the most part. Obviously, we’ve had pandemics before, and there are multiple reasons why pandemics have happened. I’m not going to get into all of that stuff but I want you to realize that the body has defense mechanisms to combat bacteria and viruses. So obviously with the COVID, we’ve got all of these gels and sprays and hand sanitizers that people are going crazy with but there are things that we have to be aware of. And I’m only going to highlight a couple of things in the hand sanitizers. Keep in mind, it is a petri dish of a lot of toxic chemicals in that hand sanitizer. And as we know, putting anything on your skin is going in your body. So it’s a waste part of the process or part of the ingredients of hand sanitizing is from waste products of petroleum, so let’s just say that straight away, but I’m going to highlight a couple of things that are the most, what I believe the overarching importance here. And there’s an antibiotic that they use in a lot of hand sanitizers called triclosan or TCS. It is the active ingredient. They put like 0.2 milligrams per liter, but it’s the active ingredient. There’s a 2018 study published in the Journal Environment International, found that it’s just as successful as spurring the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in just 30 days as well as trying to protect you from getting things like COVID. So in 30 days, the bacteria are already evolving to be resistant to the very antibiotic that you’re using to protect yourself. That is how the intelligence of bacteria survival is is. So if you are putting antibiotic hand sanitizer on your hands consistently, then you are creating a bacterial resistance that will bite you in the ass later. Stop using the antibiotics in the hand sanitizers. You don’t need to. So a couple of things is, with the antibiotics, there are a bunch of things that are occurring. Just like I mentioned the resistance of the bacteria, which is horrible and in 30 days, you’ve already created an environment where that bacteria is resistant. Number two, it’s hormone disruption. It certainly showed in a bunch of animal studies the compound effect that it’s having on the hormone disruption, the endocrine system of the animal. So when you’re putting these antibiotics on your skin with all of the synthetic ingredients, and petroleums on your skin, it’s creating a lot of hormone disruption. The next one is toxic chemicals like I’ve mentioned. So there’s a lot of toxic chemicals, synthetic fragrances, called phthalates that are also endocrine disruptors just like in the plastics that I talked about several times, so the endocrine disruptors in plastics as well. So there are also many hormone disruptors, toxic chemicals in the hand sanitizers. Also, the paraben is extremely detrimental over time. They’re just there to extend shelf life. So once you’ve realized the antibiotics are a really bad idea to put on your hands, the next thing to be aware of is the alcohol. So it’s either ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. Now, listen, this day and age, we kind of all need this with us as an emergency, not as a daily multiple-use situation. Use this as an emergency situation, have it with you, have it in your car, whatnot. And if you have to touch something and you don’t have gloves or whatever, whatever our environment moves to in this next craziness, try to get an organic simple ingredients type of plant-based ethyl alcohol, something like that. The problem that you have to be aware of is the constant chronic use will cause a lot of irritation and skin breakdown. And that will lower the defenses that we naturally have in our body, the beneficial microbes, it will start killing off just like the antibiotics. We have beneficial bacteria on our skin as well. So repeated use all the time, we’re creating irritations in the skin, we’re creating the lowering of our own defense mechanisms and causing, not to mention just the flaking and the irritations and the dryness and the cracking. And then if you’re cracking and bleeding, now you’ve definitely opened up a barrier for more and more entry. So the bottom line is, please stay away from the antibiotics. Crazy to use. Number one, it’s not going to help in the COVID situation because it’s a virus, not going to kill it. Secondly, use an organic-based, plant-based alcohol formula that’s simple and use it as an emergency. So that’s the deal. There are a lot more chemicals that are in hand sanitizers, but at least that will give you a hint. Don’t use this crazy and don’t buy purell gel. It’s just a gnarly, nasty formula. And you don’t want to be slathering that over on your hands and on your children’s hands and all of this crap. So be aware and be safe, but don’t run into this fatal convenience.

Darin: That was a fantastic episode. What was the one thing that you got out of today’s conversation? If today’s episode struck a chord with you, and you want to dive a little deeper on a variety of topics, check out my live deep dives on darinolien.com/deepdive. More episodes are available on darinolien.com as well. Keep diving my friends, keep diving.

5 Comments
  • Aaron R
    Posted at 18:27h, 15 July Reply

    Enjoyed this podcast Darin. I’ve long been fascinated with alternative energy. I was accepted into the University of Hawaii school of architecture program. My focus was on building sustainable architecture. Love that stuff. Would be nice to see some links that Chris would suggest we look at and examine to quickly get to real examples of some of the ideas he was talking about. Could you update the blog with some of these?

    Found you through the Netflix show you are doing with Zack. We’ve been enjoying that!

  • Maurizio Frigo
    Posted at 12:03h, 21 July Reply

    Just discovered and listened to your first two Podcasts. Enjoyed listening and looking forward to discover more knowledge with the next. There is a lot of real positivity to connect with.

  • Pingback:How Looking Back In History Could Save The World Today - Darin Olien
    Posted at 07:02h, 11 August Reply

    […] to the brand new episode of The Darin Olien Show to find out more about how you can power society using old-fashioned technology, […]

  • Sally C.
    Posted at 22:05h, 16 September Reply

    It would be nice to pass on your wisdom on Fatal Convenience™- Hand Sanitizer to family and friends but I can’t find any text or a link. I wonder could you work on ways we can share future important Fatal Convenience™? Also a fan of Barukas! Congratulations for finally getting the attention you deserve long over due.

  • Joan Niemi Evers
    Posted at 05:34h, 19 September Reply

    Hello! I just listened to this podcast and echo Sally’s comment. I want to share it with my children’s school. Thanks!

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