By Jasmine Liu
How can organizations improve climate change advocacy to engage more people? Which philanthropic and investment strategies can address forest fires in the American West? And how can governments and businesses establish norms that protect the rights of indigenous communities and those most vulnerable to climate change?
For Earth Day (April 22), we’ve compiled a collection of recent articles and essays that aim to answer these questions, sharing promising ideas and solutions to support environmental protection.
In 2010, Pathfinder International, a reproductive health and family planning nonprofit, joined forces with The Nature Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, to implement population, health, and environment programming in western Tanzania. Ten years later, Matthew A. Brown, The Nature Conservancy’s Africa Director, and Sono Aibe, senior program advisor for Pathfinder, explain how the collaboration has addressed integrated problems, leading to positive health and economic outcomes for communities as well as conservation wins for forests and fisheries.
Climate change remains a polarizing political issue—that’s why emphasizing the urgency to address it can be counterproductive for compromise. Ezra Markowitz, assistant professor of environmental decision-making at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Environmental Conservation, and Julie Sweetland, vice president for strategy and innovation at the FrameWorks Institute, explain how advocates can make progress on climate and other polarizing issues by finding new ways into engaging people in different perspectives that don’t overwhelm with a barrage of facts. Finding “side doors,” like museums, trusted public figures, and local governments, to communicate the cause can be much more effective.
Measuring national economies with GDP has encouraged unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, writes Maxwell Gomera, a director of the biodiversity and ecosystem services branch at the UN Environment Program. Adopting the Inclusive Wealth Index, a new metric for quantifying economic progress that takes into account fresh water, clean air, recreation, and other benefits people derive from nature, can help societies better account for long-term resource sustainability, he writes.
Indigenous peoples are often among the first and worst affected by climate change due to their close relationship with the environment and reliance on natural resources. To add insult to injury, they are rarely consulted before renewable energy companies pursue projects that end up being harmful to their livelihoods. Radhika Shah, an angel and impact investor, and Phil Bloomer, executive director of Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, argue that companies and governments must put in place norms and policies that will prevent these abuses before they occur.
Is there a fatal flaw in the discourse around climate change? That’s the question posed by Robert Russell Sassor and Beth Strachan, members of the executive team at Metropolitan Group. The best way to increase clean energy production and phase out fossil fuels, they argue, may be to shift the narrative from climate change to messages that reflect people’s deeply held values, particularly those related to better health.
A new impact investment vehicle may hold a key to addressing the West’s growing wildfire problem, writes Dan Winterson, manager of the Bay Area Conservation Program at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. The Forest Resilience Bond, which raises private investor capital to fund the upfront costs of forest restoration, with multiple beneficiaries sharing the cost of reimbursing investors over time, is based on the idea that the value of restored, healthy forests exceeds the cost of restoration.
7. Profiles in Environmental Innovation
These organizations and programs seek to address environmental challenges in new ways:
Schools’ Most Untapped Resource: Green Schoolyards America connects ecological innovation with education, equity, and community engagement.
Capturing Emissions for Fish Food: NovoNutrients uses bacteria to convert CO2 and other industrial emissions into fish food.
Restoring the Heartland: Iroquois Valley Farms’ impact investment model ushers in a new era for farmers looking to create a sustainable future.
Forest Restoration for Fuel: Supported by the nonprofit US Endowment for Forestry & Communities, Restoration Fuels will turn wood scraps into a substitute for coal, potentially providing energy, jobs, and even environmental benefits.
Fighting Plastic Pollution With Bags That Dissolve in Water: Solubag’s founders want to emulate the feel of single-use plastic bags while leaving no trace.
Source: SSIR Blog